Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of Delaware
FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Delaware
Drone operation in the State of Delaware is broadly governed by The Federal USA agency responsible for drone safety, the FAA. Click here for details on FAA USA Drone Laws.
In addition, the Delaware legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to Delaware drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the links above and search for unmanned aircraft
Are drones allowed in Delaware?
Drones are allowed in Delaware for recreational and commercial use, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls put in place by local governments. Read on for details.
Specific additional drone use laws by Delaware State legislature
“Unmanned aircraft system” means a powered, aerial vehicle that:
- Does not carry a human operator;
- Uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift;
- Can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely; and
- Can be expendable or recoverable.
“Critical infrastructure” means petroleum refineries, petroleum storage facilities, chemical storage facilities, chemical manufacturing facilities, fuel storage facilities, electric substations, power plants, electric generation facilities, military facilities, commercial port, and harbor facilities, railyard facilities, drinking water treatment or storage facilities, correctional facilities, government buildings, and public safety buildings or facilities.
“First responder” means federal, state, and local law-enforcement officers, fire, and emergency medical services personnel, hazardous materials response team members, 9-1-1 dispatchers, or any individual who is responsible for the protection and preservation of life and is directed to respond to an incident that could result in death or serious injury.
1334 – Unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft system; unclassified misdemeanor; class B misdemeanor; class A misdemeanor
Prohibited acts. — Except as provided in this section, no person shall knowingly operate, direct, or program an unmanned aircraft system to fly:
- Over any sporting event, concert, automobile race, festival, or other event at which more than 1500 people are in attendance; or
- Over any critical infrastructure; or
- Over any incident where first responders are actively engaged in response or air, water, vehicular, ground or specialized transport.
Exemptions. — The prohibitions set forth in subsection (b) of this section shall not apply to:
- An unmanned aircraft system used for law-enforcement purposes; or
- An unmanned aircraft system flying over property where written permission has been granted by the property owner or occupier; or
- An unmanned aircraft system operated by an institution of higher education for educational purposes in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations; or
- An unmanned aircraft system that is being used for a commercial or other purpose if the operator is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Penalties. — Unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft system is an unclassified misdemeanor for a first offense and a class B misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense, except that in any case where physical injury to a person or damage to property occurs as a result of a violation of this section unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft system is a class A misdemeanor.
9202 – Regulations Governing Natural Areas and Nature Preserves
No person shall voluntarily bring, land, or cause to descend or alight on or upon any lands or waters administered by the Division any aircraft, flying machine, balloon, parachute, drones or other apparatus for aviation except with the prior consent of the Director. “Voluntarily” shall mean for purposes of this paragraph anything other than a forced or emergency landing.
This bill prohibits the use of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) to introduce contraband into detention facilities. This bill makes it a class F felony to deliver or attempt to deliver contraband by use of a drone.
Specific additional UAV laws by local governments within Delaware
It’s illegal to fly any drone or other radio-controlled aircraft on the town’s boardwalks, beaches, and other public areas within the limits of Bethany Beach.
UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves
DNREC Parks Enforcement states that flying drones in Delaware State Parks is restricted and thus unlawful without proper authorization. One exception is for parks that have designated areas for drones. Also, park regulations that approve organized activities may permit recreational drone flying. Allowed events are at the Parks & Recreation director’s discretion.
Specific additional laws in Jurisdictions within Delaware
Many cities or towns within the state of Delaware may have specific restrictions within their jurisdictions. We recommend checking the local jurisdiction for the latest regulations.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Delaware
If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.
Recreational UAS operations (i.e., flying for recreational purposes) in Delaware are approved under FAA law, specifically Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.
Following these rules will keep you and your drone safe and will help keep the airspace available to everyone.
- Fly only for recreational purposes (enjoyment).
- Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO). Note: We have not yet begun officially recognizing CBOs. Recreational flyers should follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA-provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
- Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a co-located visual observer (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
- Give way to and do not interfere with crewed aircraft.
- Fly at or below 400′ in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) with prior authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
- Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace. Note: Drone flights may be prohibited in certain airspace or may require FAA authorization. A drone pilot can find navigable airspace, other Classes of airspace, and flying restrictions on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
- Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
- Have a current registration, mark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you.
- Do not dangerously operate your drone. For example:
- Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
- Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Avoid flying near or over critical infrastructure.
Recreational drone pilots should know that if they intentionally violate any of these safety requirements and/or operate their drone flight carelessly or recklessly, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.
It is recommended that recreational drone operators consult the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations on the proper use of recreational drones and use common sense when operating these devices around crowded public areas, wildlife, or historic resources.
Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Delaware
If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.
Commercial drone operations in Delaware State are approved under the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.
There are three main steps drone owners must follow To fly under Part 107 rules:
Step 1: Learn the Rules
- Make sure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules. Review a summary of the Part 107 rules (PDF). Still unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended UAS operation? Check the FAA user identification tool.
- Some operations are not covered by Part 107 and will require a waiver. Here are some common examples of Part 107 sections that are subject to waiver:
- Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25) *
- Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
- Visual line of sight aircraft operation (§ 107.31) *
- Visual observer (§ 107.33)
- Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems (§ 107.35)
- Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
- Operation over people (§ 107.39)
- Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
- Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (§ 107.51)
- *The FAA will not waive this section to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.
- If your operation will require a waiver, read about the Part 107 Waiver application process.
- Commercial Drone Pilots should avoid flying near airports because it is difficult for manned aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that the UAS operator must avoid crewed aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment. Read more about flying near airports.
Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test
- To be eligible to get your Drone License (Remote Pilot Certificate), you must be:
- At least 16 years old
- Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
- Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS
- Review the entire process to get your Drone License or Remote Pilot Certificate.
- Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
- Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
- Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
- Once you’ve passed your test, complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
- You are now eligible to operate as a commercial drone pilot
Step 3: Register your drone with the FAA
- Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy to register.
- Visit dronezone.faa.gov and select “Fly sUAS under Part 107” to create an account and register your drone.
- Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number if it gets lost or stolen.
Useful published information on flying drones in Delaware
We have partnered with the FAA and other drone enthusiasts in supporting an internet educational campaign called Know Before You Fly. The tips, pointers, and resources apply to Delaware Drone Users also. Please visit the site for additional information: Know Before You Fly
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – Mostly for commercial drone service providers and users.
Academy of Model Aeronautics – Mostly for hobbyists
NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.
Traveling with a Drone?
Click here to read our Comprehensive Guide For Traveling With A Drone
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