Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of Wisconsin
FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/
Updated February 19, 2022
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Wisconsin
Drone operation in the State of Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin State legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to Wisconsin drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below.
Are drones allowed in Wisconsin?
Drones are allowed in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin legislature
Wisconsin statute defines Drones as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) not equipped to carry human operators. UAVs receive vehicle lift by aerodynamic forces and can be piloted from the ground remotely or fly autonomously. Drones are expendable or recoverable.
This law prohibits drone operations that interfere with lawful hunting, trapping, and fishing to prevent others from taking wild animals.
AB 670 prohibits drone pilots from using unmanned aircraft over correctional facilities.
Specific additional UAV laws by local governments within Wisconsin
This town ordinance places the following restrictions on drone operators:
- No drone can be launched or landed outside the pilot’s visual line of sight (VLOS)
- Drones must not land within 100ft of persons other than the pilot or assistant
- Drones must not fly within 500ft of public gatherings that exceed 100 people
- Pilots must not fly drones in a way that endangers the safety of people or property
- Drones must not fly within 500ft of emergency response vehicles traveling to incidents
- Drones must not fly within 500ft of jails, or schools that are in session
Persons who violate these laws are subject to penalties as specified in section 25.04.
The purpose of the local ordinance is to tighten regulations on the unlawful use of drones. It prohibits using unmanned aircraft to invade personal space where there should be a reasonable expectation of privacy. That constitutes bans on observing, photographing, or recording people inside or on the grounds of their residence and other private spaces.
This ordinance makes it easier for local law enforcement to act against those in violation of the local law and impose fines of up to $200.
This 2016 municipal Law places drone height limitations (altitude restrictions) that operate near Chetek Municipal-Southworth Airport (FAA LID: Y23).
No drone is allowed aeronautical activities, i.e., to take-off, land, or operate in any way on the airport without the advanced written authorization of the airport’s director:
The city of Green Bay | Municipal Law (2013)
This law prohibits drone operations below an altitude of 400ft within selected boundaries of special city events during scheduled times.
UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves
This law prohibits drone operations from the following places outside of designated areas.
- Wisconsin State parks
- State recreation areas
- State natural areas
- Kettle Moraine
- Point Beach state forests
- Lower Wisconsin state riverway
Richard Bong State Recreation Area
Unmanned aerial vehicles, including drones, are permitted at Richard Bong State Recreation Area. Those who wish to fly at the Special Use Zone should contact the park to request approval at least one week ahead of time.
Specific additional UAV laws laws in Jurisdictions within Wisconsin
Counties or towns within Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin
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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin
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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin
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 Wisconsin 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?
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