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Drone Laws in Arkansas: 2023 [State, Federal & Local Laws]

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea

Arkansas defines drones as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Drone fliers should pay strict attention to laws and regulations set by the FAA before flying in Arkansas. The scenic views in Arkansas are breathtaking and fall under certain regulation classes, which should be adhered to when flying over any region. 

Are Drones Allowed in Arkansas?

Drones are allowed in Arkansas for commercial and recreational use subject to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and local government regulations. The laws are created by different government bodies starting from the federal to state trickling down to the local laws and regulations.

Federal Drone Laws

Drone laws apply differently to each state in the U.S., Arkansas included and were crafted by the federal government. They are categorized into three sections, as indicated below.

General Federal Drone Laws in Arkansas

  • You must register your UAS with the FAA.
  • Do not fly above 400ft (unless with a special permit from the FAA)
  • Do not lose line of sight for your drone
  • Avoid flying over crowds
  • Avoid controlled airspaces and critical infrastructure.
  • Maintain a speed of 100mph and below.
  • Do not fly from a moving vehicle or over busy routes.

Drone Laws in Arkansas While Flying as a Government Agent

To fly a drone as a government employee (Police or fire department) in the state of Arkansas, you need to follow the FAA’s part 107 rule or obtain a federal certificate of authorization (COA).

Drone Laws in Arkansas While Flying as a Commercial Pilot

To fly a drone for commercial purposes in Arkansas, you’re required to operate under regulations set by the FAA’s Part 107 (small UAS Rule). This includes the aeronautical knowledge test by FAA to attain a remote pilot certificate.

Drone Laws in Arkansas While Flying for Commercial Purposes.

  • Operate under FAA’s part 107. Learn the rules here.
  • Avoid airports at all costs.
  • Obtain a current certificate for drone pilot by passing the knowledge test.
  • Ensure your drone is registered and marked with your registration number.   

Drone Laws in Arkansas While Flying for Fun.

Flying for recreational purposes or as a hobbyist in the state of Arkansas, it’s mandatory to take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) offered by FAA. Similarly, you have to follow the FAA’s recreational model aircraft rules.

General Rules While Flying for Fun in Arkansas.

  • Carry with you the proof of the TRUST test passage.
  • Fly up to 400ft or below with prior consent and within a controlled airspace FAAdronezone.
  • Keep your drone within line of sight while flying or use a co-located visual observer.
  • Don’t interfere with crewed aircraft or emergency response activities.
  • Avoid flying over critical infrastructures such as a petroleum refinery or a communication tower.
  • Register a drone weighing above 250g (0.55lbs) and ensure the registration number is marked and visible.

State Drone Laws in Arkansas

These are drone laws created by the Arkansas general assembly and apply to the entire state of Arkansas. According to the Arkansas Department of transport, there are two state laws regarding the flying of drones.

Video voyeurism (HB1349: 2015)

This law prohibits drones users from violating an individual’s privacy.

Critica Infrastructure surveillance: UAS (HB1770)

This law makes it illegal to photographically or electronically gather information about critical state infrastructure without permission. Additionally, this law restricts operations of drones in Arkansas state parks without official documentation and approval from the office of the Director.

Local Drone Laws in Arkansas

Although the state laws cover entire Arkansas, they vary according to various cities, countries, or regions. Different local authorities apply their laws. It’s advisable to learn the rules for the city you plan to fly your UAS and abide accordingly.

 What Happens if You Violate the FAA’s Drone Laws in Arkansas?

Hefty penalties- the FAA fines enforcement division follows up with penalties, especially if the violation falls under federal regulations, such as flying in an airport vicinity.

Temporary suspension- the FAA suspends your certificates in case of an accident violation. You’ll be required to enroll for training for a new certificate.

Scenic and Drone Friendly Zones in Arkansas

Arkansas has several scenic landscapes from its southern lowlands to northwest highlands. Whether flying commercial or recreational, seasonal drone pilots will objectively enjoy the glassy lakes, rivers, and deciduous forests views. Here are our top picks—however, they fall under certain regulation classes.

Pierce Creek

This is a class G drone zone, thus ideal for many drone fliers. The human-made reservoir is located in Mafloer and has sights to behold, especially during sunsets. The pierce creek public Boat Landing offers the best launching spot, giving you fantastic views of the entire creek.

Lake Maumelle

This artificial water body close to the capital city has breathtaking hills and mountains begging to be filmed. Although popular among locals and tourists, the area is rarely crowded for drone activities. You get to freely explore the area as it falls under class G regulation.

North Shore Riverwalk Park

You will enjoy this green earthy, glorious skyline view of the Arkansas River intersecting with Little rock. You get the USS Razorback and multiple busy bridge views, idyllic for aerial footage. Although it’s a class C controlled airspace, there is abundant free-flying space. However, a permit from FAA and local authorities is required to fly over the area.

Two Rivers Park

This is an ideal view for the adventurous outdoors footage. You’ll capture the two river park bridges, woodlands, hike trails, wildlife, and gleaming swamplands, which look better from the top. The space is less restricted, and you’ll need approval from the local authorities.  

Boyle Park

Recreational drone pilots will enjoy the 244 acres of nature and greenery spots within wooded hills. The dense vegetation and trees give fantastic shots of the changing seasons. In addition, you get historic infrastructure, open fields, nature trails, and fishing areas. This area falls under class G, making a perfect spot to fly your drone for whatever purpose without prior approval.

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)                                                      

  1. Can I fly a drone in a state/local park in Arkansas?

Yes. Local parks have fewer restrictions to drone flying; you just need to abide by the laws and regulations set for recreational drone flying in Arkansas State. However, you’ll need a permit from the Director's office to fly a drone over state parks.

  1. How far away can I legally fly a drone in Arkansas?

First, airports are restricted zones. The closer you can get to flying a drone near an airport is five miles away. The five miles away rule applies to other state-restricted zones.

  1. Can you fly a drone under 0.55 lbs. anywhere in the state of Arkansas?

No. Regardless of the size, all drones have to adhere to the Arkansas FAA’s rules and regulations. The only drone rule exception for this is license registration. You’re also limited to flying over crowds.

  1. Can the FAA monitor my drone?

Technically the FAA lacks mechanisms to track drone operations licensed or otherwise. However, if you happen to fly above-set limits and collide with a crewed aircraft, you could face heft penalties when identified by the FAA as the drone pilot.

  1. Do I have to carry my TRUST certificate at all times while flying my drone in Arkansas?

Yes, you must have your registration certificate from the FAA each time you’re planning to fly a drone. Otherwise, you might land in trouble in case a state or local officer asks for it and proof lacks.

It’s critical to know the laws, regulations, and restrictions regarding drones in your state. While Arkansas has unique drone-friendly spots, it doesn’t mean you shot videos aimlessly. Learn the laws, follow the rules and fly responsibly.

Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.
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