Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of West Virginia
FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/
Updated January 3, 2022
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in West Virginia
Drone operation in the State of West Virginia 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 West Virginia State legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to West Virginia drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below.
Are drones allowed in West Virginia?
Drones are allowed in West Virginia 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 West Virginia legislature
This law disallows hunting wildlife (including birds) in West Virginia using drones and other unmanned aerial systems (UAV). That includes taking, killing, directing, trapping, and shooting.
Drone operators who want to fly in any West Virginia State Park must first seek permission from the Park Superintendent and agree to full responsibility. Approved applicants must then register with the State Park superintendent, who then provides the pilot with set rules and regulations. That typically includes maps of any prohibited areas and times permitted to fly.
HB 3005 outlines drone operations prohibited in West Virginia.
Reasonable Expectations of Privacy
This law prohibits drone operators from capturing images, video, and audio recordings knowingly and purposely of unsuspecting persons or property. That means no unauthorized surveillance through structural apertures that invades a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy rights. Nor is it legal to intentionally view, follow, or contact (stalk) persons without their permission.
The law also forbids drone pilots from knowingly and intentionally harassing people using drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), including violating restraining orders. Operating drones in a way that disregards public safety, property, or interferes with emergency responders carries penalties of fines, imprisonment, or both.
61-14-2. Prohibited use of an unmanned aircraft system; criminal penalties.
- Except as authorized by the provisions of this article, a person may not operate an unmanned aircraft system:
- To knowingly and intentionally capture or take photographs, images, video, or audio of another person or the private property of another, without the other person’s permission, in a manner that would invade the individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy, including, but not limited to, capturing, or recording through a window;
- To knowingly and intentionally view, follow, or contact another person or the private property of another without the other person’s permission in a manner that would invade the individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy, including, but not limited to, viewing, following, or contacting through a window;
- To knowingly and intentionally harass another person;
- To violate a restraining order or similar judicial order;
- To act with a willful wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; or
- To knowingly and intentionally operate an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that interferes with the official duties of law enforcement personnel or emergency medical personnel.
- Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 or confined in jail for not more than one year, or both fined and confined.
- Any person who equips an unmanned aircraft system with any deadly weapon or operates any unmanned aircraft system equipped with any deadly weapon, other than for military in an official capacity, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than five years, or both fined and imprisoned.
- Any person who operates an unmanned aircraft system with the intent to cause damage to or disrupt in any way the flight of a manned aircraft is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 imprisoned for not less than one nor more than five years, or both fined and imprisoned.
- A person that is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate unmanned aircraft systems for commercial purposes may operate an unmanned aircraft system in this state for such purposes if the unmanned aircraft system is operated in a manner consistent with federal law.
Specific additional UAV laws by local governments within West Virginia
No specific laws were found during our search. We recommend checking state regulators for the latest regulations.
UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves
No specific laws regarding parks and preserves were found during our search. We recommend checking with local park regulators for the latest regulations.
Specific additional UAV laws laws in Jurisdictions within West Virginia
Counties or towns within West Virginia 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 West Virginia
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 West Virginia 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.
- 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. For recreational flyers, the FAA does not require you to register or mark a drone which weighs less than 0.55 lbs (250 grams).
- 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 West Virginia
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 West Virginia 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.
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 West Virginia
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 West Virginia 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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