Drone Laws in NY State

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in New York State

Federal Aviation Administration

FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/

NY State Assembly – Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Regulating Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Updated February 19, 2022


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in NY State

Drone operation in NY State 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 NY State legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to NY State drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below.

Are drones allowed in NY State?

Drones are allowed in NY State 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 New York State legislature

OPR-PCD-018 | New York Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (2015)

This state-wide rule prohibits all drone operations in New York’s state parks and historical sites without prior written approval. Special UAS permits for flying drones specify times, locations, and type of use permitted under the conditions of the authority and discretion of OPRHP. Non-permit holders—or those awaiting approval—must not launch, land, or operate UAS in NY State Parks.

Specific additional UAV laws by local governments within NY State

City Of Syracuse Drone law: The city bans the use of drones by city officials until adequate federal and state laws are passed regarding the government’s use of drones in a manner that protects citizens’ 1st and 4th amendment rights.

Syracuse University restricts flights over the university property. The University will only approve drone flights on or above University property for University-related business. Recreational use of drones is not permitted on or above University-owned or operated property.

Village of Cooperstown Drone Laws: No person, pilot, or operator shall launch, land, retrieve, or otherwise operate an Unmanned Aircraft (“drone”) in the Village of Cooperstown or upon Village-owned property outside the Village boundaries except on or from the following locations:

  1. From or on an operator’s own private property, but not, however, during those times subsection “4” hereinafter applies.
  2. From or on another person or entity’s property, but only after first obtaining the express written permission of the owner of the subject property, and not during those times subsection “4” hereinafter applies.
  1. From or on any Village of Cooperstown owned, leased, or maintained property, including but not limited to streets, roadways, highways, lanes, sidewalks, parking lots, or Parks, whether within the Village of Cooperstown boundaries or outside (i.e. Fairy Spring, Three Mile Point, etc.), but only after first obtaining the express written permission of the Village as hereinafter provided.
  2. From or on any property situate in the Village of Cooperstown during a period extending from two (2) hours before and continuing two (2) hours after the conclusion and within one (1) mile of any Village designated “Special Event”, but only after first obtaining the express written permission of the Village as hereinafter provided.

Town of Hempstead Drone Laws:

  1. The Town Board further limits the private use of UAS in the vicinity of Town of Hempstead facilities.
  2. The Town Board recognizes that the Federal Aviation Administration has authority to regulate the use of UAS by public entities as well as UAS used for commercial purposes and that no person shall operate a UAS for commercial purposes without the express permission of the FAA.
  3. The following rebuttable presumption shall apply: The possession by any person of a UAS while on or in the vicinity of any Town of Hempstead facility creates the presumption that such UAS has been used in violation of this chapter subjecting the possessor of such UAS to all penalties provided for herein.
  4. A town facility is defined as any park, beach, cemetery, building, repair facility, under the ownership or control of the Town of Hempstead, as well as any public area under the use or control of the Town of Hempstead.
  5. Anyone seeking issuance of a special exception permit to operate a UAS, not otherwise permitted by other governmental authority, shall file an application with the Town Clerk on forms provided by the Town Clerk and pay the proscribed fee.
  6. Filing period: An application for a permit shall be filed with the Town Clerk not less than 15 days or more than 30 days prior to the date upon which the applicant proposes to conduct the activity.
  7. As part of the application for a permit to operate a UAS under the terms of this chapter, the applicant must provide proof of liability insurance, naming the Town of Hempstead as an additional insured.
  8. See link above for more details on the regulations.

Town of Oyster Bay Drone Laws:

The Town of Oyster Bay defines an UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM (for the purpose of the law below) as any mechanical device weighing not less than two pounds which is airborne or may be caused to be airborne, including model airplanes and drones as well as any other similar mechanical device that is controlled by radio transmitter:

  1. The Town Board further limits the private use of UAS in the vicinity of Town of Oyster Bay facilities.
  2. The Town Board recognizes that the Federal Aviation Administration has authority to regulate the use of UAS by public entities as well as UAS used for commercial purposes and that no person shall operate a UAS for commercial purposes without the express permission of the FAA.
  3. No UAS may be taken off/launched from or landed at any Town facility, as defined herein, by any private, commercial, or business person or entity without approval of such use from the Town of Oyster Bay, as evidenced by a permit issued by the Town Clerk.
  4. A town facility is defined as any park, beach, cemetery, property, building or repair facility, under the ownership or control of the Town of Oyster Bay, or any of the Town departments.
  5. Anyone seeking issuance of a special exception permit to operate a UAS, not otherwise permitted by another governmental authority, shall file an application with the Town Clerk on forms provided by the Town Clerk.
  6. Permit period. For the period beginning on October 1 and concluding on April 31, a seasonal use permit shall be available to applicants satisfying the permitting requirements of this chapter. For the period beginning on May 1 and concluding on September 31, a nonseasonal use permit shall be available to applicants satisfying the permitting requirements of this chapter when the applicant intends to use a UAS at a Town facility between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
  7. Filing period: The Town Clerk, where good cause is shown therefor, shall have the authority to consider any application hereunder which is filed less than 15 days prior to the proposed activity date.
  8. As part of the application for a permit to operate a UAS under the terms of this chapter, the applicant must provide proof of liability insurance, naming the Town of Oyster Bay as a named insured.
  9. See link above for more details on the regulations.

Great Neck Park District Drone Laws:

  1. The Great Neck Park District restricts the use, on and above Park District property and facilities, of unmanned aircraft vehicles (a/k/a “Drones”) by all persons and entities other than governmental agencies for governmental purposes.
  2. The Board may grant permission for the possession and/or operation of a Drone within, upon and above Park District Property, upon written application for such permission
  3. See link above for more details on the regulations.

Suffolk County Parks Drone Laws

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Permit – an unmanned, powered aircraft that does not carry a human operator and can be autonomous or remotely piloted or operated (includes drones and model airplanes). Patrons wishing to fly UAVs in or over Suffolk County Parks must submit an Application for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Permit to the Suffolk County Parks Operations Office in West Sayville.


Suffolk County UAV Flying Locations (UAV permit required):

  1. Blydenburgh County Park – Smithtown
  2. Cathedral Pines County Park – Middle Island
  3. Cedar Point County Park – East Hampton
  4. Coram Air Field – Coram
  5. Cupsogue Beach County Park – Westhampton*
  6. Gardiner County Park – West Bay Shore
  7. Indian Island County Park – Riverhead
  8. Lakeland County Park – Islandia
  9. Lake Ronkonkoma County Park – Lake Ronkonkoma
  10. Meschutt Beach County Park – Hampton Bays*
  11. Montauk County Park – Montauk
  12. Sears Bellows County Park – Hampton Bays
  13. Shinnecock East County Park – Southampton
  14. Smith Point County Park – Shirley*
  15. Southaven County Park – Brookhaven
  16. West Hills County Park – Huntington
  17. Nature Preserves, Passive Parkland and Historic Sites*

*Location considered on a case by case basis.


Rules & Regulations

  • UAV’s cannot be flown over population areas such as campgrounds, playgrounds, hiking, and horseback riding trails, stables, golf courses, dog runs, sporting fields (when in use), or other areas as determined by the Parks Department.
  • Due to high patron density, UAV’s cannot be flown over County beaches between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  • UAV’s cannot disturb the public enjoyment of park activities for other visitors, and cannot disrupt any lifeguard, park ranger, or park employee from performing their job duties.
  • The Department shall have the power to suspend or revoke such permit or to deny any application for such permit or for renewal of such permit based upon finding of a violation after a hearing held in accordance with Local Law No. 29, 2015.
  • If you are filming in Suffolk County Parks and are going to sell the footage or profit from the footage, you will need to obtain a permit from the Suffolk County Film Commission.
  • All dates and locations for use of UAV’s must be approved prior to flying. Individual will responsible for contacting the Park prior to arrival to notify staff of UAV usage.

New York City Drone Regulations

Click here for details on New York City Drone Laws

NYC Administrative code requires a drone operator to take off or land in specific places designated by the department of transportation or the port of New York authority. The code also makes it unlawful for a drone operator navigating drones to take off or land, except in an emergency, at any other place within the city’s limits. The rule serves to limit take-off and landings to regulated heliports and airports. The city later created a general restriction declaring all drone flights in New York City illegal.

Changes Coming in the Future

New York State Legislature has taken up and is considering a number of proposed bills. We highly recommend checking with the local jurisdiction for the latest information.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in NY State

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 NY State are approved under Federal law, specifically the FAA 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.

  1. Fly only for recreational purposes (enjoyment). 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Give way to and do not interfere with crewed aircraft.
  5. Fly at or below 400′ in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) with prior authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
  6. 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.
  7. Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
  8. Have a current registrationmark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you. For recreational flyers, the FAA does not require you to register or mark a drone which weighs less than 0.55 lbs (250 grams).
  9. 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.

Hobbyist rules in Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

The recreational flying of toy or model rockets or aircraft (types of UAS) is subject to 9 NYCRR Section 372.7(j) and in the Palisades Region to 9 NYCRR Section 409.1(j). Under these regulations and this procedure, the launching, landing, or operation of a UAS for recreational purposes from or on lands and waters administered by OPRHP is an activity that requires an operator to apply for a special UAS permit that shall include conditions outlining the time, place and manner of use.

Locations listed by New York City Parks with more details on where drones are allowed or not: NY City Parks Drone Website

Check your county park for similar restrictions.


Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in New York State

If you have a small unmanned aircraft 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 NY 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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
  2. Review the entire process to get your Drone License or Remote Pilot Certificate.
  3. Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
  4. Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
  5. Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
  6. 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)*
  7. 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.

Commercial rules in Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

The use of a UAS for commercial purposes is authorized by PRHPL Section 3.09(2) and 9 NYCRR Sections 372.7(b) and 409.1(c) where, generally, a permit is required for any commercial activity in OPRHP facilities (i.e., the selling or offering for sale, hire or lease of any merchandise, service, or other thing of value).


Useful published information on flying drones in NY State

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 NY State 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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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site (The latest Drone Laws/Drone Regulations) is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

We welcome any feedback, corrections, or updates that can be shared with our community.

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15 thoughts on “Drone Laws in NY State”

  1. Any idea why Bill Number A01670/S01979 (2017-2018) was not voted upon and passed?

    240.80 Unlawful use of a drone.

    Particularly;
    6. with the intent to harass or annoy an individual or individuals; or
    7. below one hundred feet above ground level on private property without
    the owner’s consent.

    I personally am dealing with continued harassment from the neighbors kids. They were told several times by myself and the Police to stay off my property. They have now resorted to using drones at night to peer through the windows of my home, probe my security cameras, and attempt to trigger my motion lights.

    When speaking to the local Police I was told that there are no laws on the books preventing the flight of drones over private property (except near airports) in NYS so no charges can be filed.

    At a minimum everyone should be concerned that these drones are being used for privacy violations.

    Reply
  2. I have a very odd/modern home; I have lots of folks who are interested in what it looks like inside and thus have drone users who are flying close to my home and trying to see inside (I have metal grids over my windows, so these guys get close. Is there anything I can do about it—esp the one who “crashed” on my roof and who now wants to get inside my home to get up on my roof to collect this machine—I am 80 and no interested in letting anyone much less me on my flat roof (which has sky lights on it). WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THIS SORT OF THING?

    Reply
  3. The Town of Oyster Bay regulations only apply to drones weighing 2 pounds and above. It is clearly stated in the regulations and has been confirmed by a code enforcement administrator.

    Reply
  4. The Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay which are located within Nassau County, NY, have passed local ordinances prohibiting UAS operation on town property without a permit. Other jusrisdictions such as the Great Neck Park District have passed similar regulations. Please know the jurisdiction’s regulations where you are operating!

    https://ecode360.com/15509457

    https://ecode360.com/32603263

    https://www.gnparks.org/DocumentCenter/View/2507/Drone-Regulations

    Reply
    • Thank you Genco. We have added those references to the text above and appreciate your bringing them to our attention.

      Reply
    • Thanks Craig. Do you have a link that could point us to that announcement? We would like to add it to the page.

      Reply
        • Thanks, Rob. We are reviewing the law. At first glance, they appear to be controlling take-off and landing locations. If you have private property in Cooperstown or know someone who will give you permission then you are allowed to fly. Alternatively, one can request permission to fly from public land following the procedures laid out in the law.
          It’s not clear they have expressly regulated flights (that would be in conflict with the FAA). For the most accurate interpretation, check with a local lawyer.
          We will post what we find on this page after the team has reviewed it.

          Reply

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