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Drone Laws in Iowa (Everything You Need To Know in 2023)

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
Drone laws in Iowa
height flight limit 1

400ft Max Height

cant fly over crowds of people 1

Under 100 MPH

plane icon white 1 1

Avoid airports

line of sight law 1

Only line of sight

If you live in Iowa 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 Iowa 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 Iowa?

Wondering if you can actually take your drone for a flight? drones are allowed in Iowa for recreational and commercial uses!

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

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

Federal Drone Laws in Iowa

Federal laws are laws created by the federal government, and that apply to every US state, including Iowa.

Since federal laws are the most important here I recommend you check out my previous article where I cover them in detail. I’ll still brush over the federal laws in this section though.

There are two types of drone flying. Recreational and commercial:

Recreational Flying

Recreational flying is flying as a hobby, for fun. All you have to do to fly your drone recreationally is pass the TRUST test.  

It’s a simple online test that you can pass for FREE from an approved test administrator. Beware of anyone who tries to charge you for it as the FAA requires it to be free (my personal recommendation are Uavcoach, they’re an FAA approved test provider).

Commercial Flying

Commercial drone flight is every drone activity that you’re compensated for, according to the FAA. Even if you’re just selling pictures you captured from your drone. To be able to fly commercially you’ll have to study for and pass the 107 test. I have done a complete guide on that test here.

There are also various other conditions that you need to fulfill. You can check them here.

The General Federal Laws in Iowa

Below are the federal drone laws in Iowa 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 100mph
  • Your maximum drone weight must be lower than 55lbs, at takeoff.
  • You cannot fly from a moving vehicle.

You can check my US drone laws article, where I go over airspace classifications and various other things related to drone regulations.

State Drone Laws in Iowa

Iowa drone laws

State laws are laws that were created by Iowa’s legislators and that apply only to Iowa. We’ll go over each one of them in this section.

According to the Iowa Department of Transportation there is only one state-wide law that I could find.

There is a law in Iowa that makes it illegal to use drones by law enforcers to enforce traffic laws. Any evidence obtained through drone use has no effect in court unless it was obtained after getting a warrant.

Local Drone Laws in Iowa

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

There have been no local drone laws in Iowa that I could find. Which means you’ll just have to follow the federal and state laws discussed above.

What Happens if You Break the Drone Laws in Iowa?

Well, the FAA will rarely go for the maximum. Usually you’ll get a small fine, which is like a slap on the wrist.

For accidental first-offenses, the FAA tends to require a temporary suspension of their UAS Airman certificate and remedial training. 

For the more egregious offenses, such as flying in an airport vicinity, expect slightly more serious repercussions. Should an illegally operated drone crash and injure someone, the operator will then face serious trouble and possibly jail time.

In conclusion, just make sure you keep the federal laws in mind as they are the most important. Have fun and fly safely, most of these laws are just common sense.

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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