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Drone Laws in Illinois (Everything You Need To Know in 2022)

Updated in 2022 by Paul Posea
Drone Laws in illinois
height flight limit 1

400ft Max Height

cant fly over crowds of people 1

Under 100 MPH

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Avoid airports

line of sight law 1

Only line of sight

If you live in Illinois, U.S. and would like to safely as well as legally fly your drone there, there are several laws and regulations you need to be aware of. 

Drone operation in Illinois is broadly governed by the FAA, in this article we’ll look into the different laws regarding drone use.

Can I Fly a Drone in Illinois?

If you’re wondering whether you can actually fly your drone in Illinois. Drones are allowed in Illinois for recreational and commercial uses!

They’re however regulated by a myriad of laws and regulations. There are three types of drone laws in Illinois which we’ll go over in this article.

Starting with the first and general type of laws; federal drone laws.

Federal Drone Laws in Illinois

Federal laws are laws that apply to every state in the United States, including Illinois, and were created by the federal government.

Even though I covered them in-depth in my previous drone laws article, I’ll briefly go over them here (I recommend you check out my other article though).

According to the FAA, drone flying can be separated into two categories. Recreational flying, which means flying for fun, as a hobby. And commercial flying, which according to the FAA is any flying that you’re compensated for (even shooting and selling stock images).

Recreational Flying

In order to fly recreationally, you’ll need to pass a simple online test called the TRUST. Beware of anyone who tries to charge you for it as the FAA requires the test to be free.

If you want to pass the test, my personal recommendation are Uavcoach, they’re an FAA approved test administrator.

You’ll also need to register your drone, which will only cost you $5. Note that once you receive your registration number you have to write it on your drone.

Commercial Flying

In order to fly commercially, i.e receive money from your drone flights, you’ll have to study for and pass the 107 test. I have done a complete guide on that test here.

There are also other conditions that you must fulfill in order to be eligible to fly your drone commercially in Illinois. You can check them in-depth in my US drone laws article.

The General Federal Laws in Illinois

Below are the federal drone laws in Illinois that you’ll have to keep in mind:

  • Do not fly higher than 400ft
  • Do not fly in uncontrolled airspace without a permit (read up more on that here)
  • Always maintain visual line of sight
  • Never interfere with manned aircrafts
  • Do not fly over crowds of people
  • Your drone must be registered with the FAA on the FAADroneZone website.
  • Your maximum drone speed must not exceed 100 mph
  • Your maximum drone weight must be lower than 55 lbs, at takeoff.
  • You cannot fly from a moving vehicle.

This was a general view on the federal drone laws in Illinois. To fly safely, you’ll need more information and an in-depth view of the current drone laws landscape, check out my previous detailed article about the subject.

State Drone Laws in Illinois

illinois

In addition to federal drone laws, there are state laws that apply only to the state of Illinois, and were created by its legislature.

There are three state-wide laws in Illinois regarding drone use, and that concern you. Here is the gist of them, according to the Illinois General Assembly.

Regarding Hunting and Fishing

This law prohibits the use of drones to interfere with hunters and fishermen.

Regarding Law Enforcement

There are two laws that regulate drone use by law enforcement agencies. Basically, they loosen the regulations when it comes to emergency situations. 

Law enforcers can use drones to gather information if there is a serious threat, but that information needs to be destroyed within 30 days.

To read up more, check these two laws: SB 2937 // 2014 & SB 1587 // 2013.

Local Drone Laws in Illinois

These local drone laws are laws that only apply to certain cities or regions within the state of Illinois. They’re created and enforced by the local authorities.

There are 4 cities that I could find and that have extra drone laws, they’re as follows:

City of Evanston

This city’s ordinance establishes a moratorium until reasonable state and federal regulations are enacted.

Basically, you can’t fly your drone here until the local authorities decide what to do with drones.

Village of Schaumburg

During special events, you can’t operate your drone within 100 feet of any village owned property.

McHenry County Conservation District

This county’s ordinance makes it so that you can’t operate your drone within any district owned property, unless you have permission from the executive director.

Crystal Lake Park District

You can’t operate your drone here within or over any park, unless you have prior permission.

Read up more on this city’s ordinance here.

What Happens if You Break the Drone Laws in Illinois?

Fines are up to the enforcement division, the FAA however will rarely go for the maximum. 

In the case of an accidental first-offense, the FAA will probably just require a temporary suspension of your UAS Airman certificate and remedial training. 

For the more egregious offenses, such as flying in an airport vicinity, expect slightly more serious repercussions.

In conclusion, just make sure you keep the federal laws in mind as they are the most important, and keep in mind to always ask for permission before flying in public parks.

Have fun and fly safely, most of these laws are just common sense.

author-paul-posea-picture
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.
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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