Drone Laws in Utah

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of Utah

Federal Aviation Administration

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

Updated January 3, 2022


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Utah

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

Are drones allowed in Utah?

Drones are allowed in Utah 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 Utah legislature

Utah Statute Definition of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)

Utah statute defines UAS as unmanned aircraft capable of sustaining flight and operated with no possibility of human intervention inside or on the aircraft.

House Bill HB 217 (2017)

This house bill prohibits drone operators from intentionally harassing livestock by reckless flying activities. Harassment, in this context, includes chasing, disturbing, and harming the animals.

Senate Bill B 111 (2017)

This amendment bill modifies existing law and establishes new conditions for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), including drones. A summary of those amendments includes:

  • Reorganizes existing code that relates to UAS
  • Pre-empts local laws related to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV
  • Exempts UAVs from registration within Utah State
  • Enacts provisions related to UAS operations by law enforcement

Criminal uses of unmanned aircraft include:

  • Equip UAVs with weapons
  • Trespass with a UAV
  • Cause a privacy violation with a UAV
  • Voyeurism with a UAV

The bill reinforces criminal penalties for those who violate the above laws.

House Bill HB 296 (2015)

This law permits law enforcement to use unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to collect data at testing sites. Another authorized use is to locate persons considered missing or lost in areas where individuals have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Senate Bill SB 167 (2014)

This law exists to regulate unmanned drone operations by state government bodies. It stipulates that law enforcement agencies must have a warrant or other authorization to gather, store, and use data collected from unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Law enforcement is prohibited from obtaining data from UAS operations without official exemptions as set out by S.B. 167.

65A-3-2.5 Wildland fire and unmanned aircraft.

A person may not operate an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that causes an unmanned aircraft to fly within an area that is under a temporary flight restriction that is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration as a result of the wildland fire, or an area designated as a wildland fire scene on a system managed by a federal, state, or local government entity that disseminates emergency information to the public, unless the person operates the unmanned aircraft system with the permission of, and in accordance with the restrictions established by, the incident commander.

A person, other than a government official or a government employee acting within the person’s capacity as a government official or government employee, that recklessly operates an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that causes an unmanned aircraft to fly within an area described in Subsection (2) is guilty of:

  1. (a) except as provided in Subsection (3)(b), (c), or (d), a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment as provided in Section 76-3-204 and a fine not to exceed $2,500;
  2. (b) except as provided in Subsection (3)(c) or (d), a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment as provided in Section 76-3-204 and a fine not to exceed $5,000, if the operation of the unmanned aircraft system:

(i) causes an aircraft being used to contain or control a wildland fire to drop a payload of water or fire retardant in a location other than the location originally designated for the aircraft to drop the payload;

(ii) causes an aircraft being used to contain or control a wildland fire to land without dropping a payload of water or fire retardant in the location originally designated for the aircraft to drop the payload; or

(iii) prevents an aircraft, intended for use in containing or controlling a wildland fire, from taking flight;

  1. except as provided in Subsection (3)(d), a third degree felony, punishable by    imprisonment as provided in Section 76-3-203 and a fine not to exceed $10,000, if the operation of the unmanned aircraft system causes the unmanned aircraft to come into direct physical contact with a manned aircraft; or
  2. a second degree felony, punishable by imprisonment as provided in Section 76-3-203 and a fine not to exceed $15,000, if the operation of the unmanned aircraft is the proximate cause of a manned aircraft colliding with the ground, a structure, or another manned aircraft.

Specific additional UAV laws by local governments within Utah

Counties or towns within Utah may have specific restrictions within their jurisdictions. We recommend checking the local jurisdiction for the latest regulations.

UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves

R651-602-8. Operation of Unmanned Aircraft (park system)

A person must obtain written permission from the park manager before operating an unmanned aircraft within the park system.

No other specific drone laws regarding parks within Utah were found at the time of our search. We recommend checking the local jurisdiction for the latest regulations.

Specific additional UAV laws laws in Jurisdictions within Utah

Counties or towns within Utah 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 Utah

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 Utah 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.


Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Utah

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 Utah 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 Cultural reserves

We suggest you contact the local parks agencies and check for specific permissions required.


Useful published information on flying drones in Utah

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 Utah 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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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.

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