The state of Idaho is famous for its alpine landscapes, guarded wilderness, and widespread recreational spots. Whether you are from Idaho or a tourist, the rose gardens, Rocky Mountain, museums, and zoo are a must-visit.
You can enjoy rafting, go fishing, or fly a drone to capture the abundant beauty of nature in this piece of land. But before you set up your drone for a flight, you must get yourself acquainted with Idaho's federal and local laws regarding drones.
If you are flying a drone in Idaho, it is necessary to be compliant with these laws to avoid being in hot waters. If you are new to Idaho, a temporary tourist, or simply an unaware citizen, this article is for you.
This article encompasses all the laws, be it local or federal, about flying a drone in the state of Idaho. So buckle up your seat belts and dive in:
Are Drones Allowed in Idaho?
First things first! One must question if the state of Idaho permits flying a drone or not?
The answer to this question is Yes, It does! One can fly a drone in Idaho as long as it is registered and is operated in compliance with the laws.
Drone Laws in Idaho
When it comes to laws, all the states of the USA follow three sets of rules:
- Federal Laws
- State Laws
- Local Laws
Federal laws are the supreme authority, and if any state or local law contradicts the federal laws, it will be considered null and void.
Let’s discuss all three of these laws in the light of possessing and flying a drone in the state of Idaho.
Federal Drone Laws in Idaho
Federal laws are devised and compiled in accordance with the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and the Federal Government.
These laws are to be observed all over the USA. Federal Laws are further categorized into three types:
Federal Drone Laws for Flying a Commercial Drone
If you are a commercial pilot, i.e., You are flying the drone for work or business purposes, you will have to comply with the following federal laws:
- To be fully aware and in compliance with part 107 of the Federal Rules.
- Part 107 is devised, by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), specifically to address the issues related to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
- By definition, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are any remotely operated, powered aerial vehicle that is without a human operator.
- Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) do not include rockets or aircraft used for mapping resources.
- For further detail, you can read the FAA rules part 107 for further detail here.
- You can not operate the drone in Idaho without being certified.
- The pilots have to clear a test prepared by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to get the certification.
- This Aeronautical Knowledge Test assesses the pilots' knowledge of drone operation, regulation, emergency operations, radio communications, etc.
- Learn further details about the Aeronautical Knowledge Test here.
- Federal rules require Unnamed Aircraft Systems (UAS) to be registered.
- Every drone that weighs between 250g to 25kg needs to be registered with the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA)
- If your UAS exceeds the weight limit mentioned above, a fee of $5 has to be paid for registration.
- The pilot needs to file their name, email, and complete address.
- The registration includes any additional accessories that come with the drone, e.g., a camera.
- After registration, the drone is allocated a unique number, valid for three years.
- Anyone above 13 years of age can get their UAS registered. The registration card is to be carried every time, all the time while flying the drone.
Federal Drone Laws for Flying a Recreational Drone
If you are a recreational pilot, i.e., You are flying the drone for pleasure or as a hobby, you will have to comply with the following federal laws:
- Recreational pilots don’t come under part 107 of the Federal Aviation Agency’s (FAA) federal laws if the drone weighs between 250g to 25kg.
- Drones heavier than 0.55lb need to be registered and follow the given rules.
- For flying a recreational drone in Idaho, one must comply with the Recreational Model Aircraft rules devised by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA).
- Flying a drone over private airspace or a person is strictly prohibited.
- Drones and other UAS can be flown only within classified airspace such as Class G (uncontrolled) airspace.
- When in Class G airspace, fly the drone at or below 400 feet to keep it in sight.
- For further details, check Recretional Model Aircraft rules here.
- Prior to that, the pilots are supposed to clear a test named The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST).
- For more information about the test, click here.
- Do not come in the way of the crewed aircraft.
- Do not interfere with emergency or law enforcement activities.
- Do not fly the drone under the effect of drugs.
- Do not fly over or near monuments and other important infrastructures.
- Not abiding by these rules can result in criminal offenses and penalties accordingly.
Federal Drone Laws for Government Employees
If you belong to the fire or police department or are a government employee, you can fly a drone in the state of Idaho in compliance with the following rules:
- Government employees can apply for a Federal Certificate of Authorization (COA) at the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA).
- This certification is not mandatory and is up to the individual’s personal choice.
- The pilots have to clear a special test in order to obtain the said certification.
- Otherwise, a government employee can fly their drone in accordance with part 107 of the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA).
- Fly drones within class G airspace only. Special authorization is required if you need to fly the drone in other airspaces.
- Drones are restricted from being flown during nighttime due to safety issues.
- A proper training session has to be passed for a government employee to fly their drone.
- Also, the drone has to be equipped with all the necessary items for a night-time flight operation.
- Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has banned any drones above 400 feet.
State Drone Laws in Idaho
State Drone laws are devised and compiled in accordance with the Idaho Department of Transportation and the Idaho Legislature.
These laws are to be observed all over the state of Idaho. There are three state laws which are mentioned below:
- The state law probits drone over any Fish and Game area under the Wildlife Management Authority (WMA) until or unless that area has a separate public landing strip.
- Prior authorization, which can be granted under special circumstances, is required for flying a drone in such an area.
- For further details on authorization, check IDAPA 13.01.03.
Idaho Code 21-213
- This law prohibits the use of drones for collecting evidence, photography or recording any person or property without authorization.
- The law enforcement agency also has to get a special warrant before using drones for surveillance.
- This law also explains the civil penalties in case of damage to a person or property.
- There is, however, an exception for an emergency response such as rescue missions or investigation of controlled substances.
- For further details, check Idaho Code 21-213.
Idaho Code 36-1101
- This law prohibits the use of drones in hunting animals or birds.
- For further details, check Idaho Code 36-1101.
Local Drone Laws in Idaho
Local Drone laws are devised and compiled under local legislation authorities.
These laws are to be observed among different cities, towns, and counties governed by the said legislation authorities.
These laws come under Federal and State laws. If any local laws go against Federal or State law, it is considered null and void.
Two local laws are currently being followed in the state of Idaho:
Canyon County Parks // 2016
- This law prohibits any drone or other UAS operation in the airspace of all Canyon County parks and other natural and cultural resources.
- Also, no UAS operation of any kind is allowed within 500 feet of altitude above any park.
- An exception lies for drones that are authorized by the Director of Canyon County Department of Parks.
Ada County Ordinance No. 883 // 2018
- This law requires all the drones in Ada County to get registered by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), regardless of their weight and intent of use.
- This ordinance prohibits the use of drones to invade personal privacy through recording or photography of an individual.
- Any damage caused to personal or public property by drones or other UAS will result in civil penalties.
Flying a Drone near Airport
No drones or any other UAS is allowed to be flown within a 5-mile radius of an airport.
This law is devised by the FAA in the Special Rules for Model Aircraft part 101 and is followed throughout the USA.
In a Nutshell
If you want to capture the scenic beauty of Idaho using your drone, just make sure your drone is registered, and you are flying it according to these federal, state, and local laws we just mentioned.
Not complying with the above-stated rules will be seen as criminal negligence and result in civil penalties.