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Drone Laws in Kentucky: Everything You Need To Know

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
Kentucky (2)

It’s finger-lickin' good! That’s undoubtedly the first thing that comes to mind after hearing Kentucky. But if you are considering taking a trip, Kentucky is a lot more than KFC. 

Hilly tops, dense forests, and recreational spots along the Ohio River are a hub for drone pilots in Kentucky. Also, the bill hasn’t been passed to date, but drone lovers in Kentucky are looking forward to opening a special drone park.

Other than this,s a special application known as Air Map has partnered with the Air Traffic control in Kentucky for drone operations. Drone pilots can check this app to know where and when it is safe to fly their drones in Kentucky.

So, if you have a drone to fly, Kentucky is finger-lickin' good. But before you do so, we say you get accustomed to the rules and regulations that are followed in Kentucky.

These laws are compiled by the (FAA), and you must fly your drone in compliance with the drone laws to stay safe.

If you have no idea what we are talking about, it’s okay! We are here to help. This article covers all the laws that are enforced in the state of Kentucky for flying a drone or other Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

Are Drones Allowed in Kentucky?

You may be wondering if you can fly a drone in Kentucky’s airspace or not? The answer to this is yes!

The state of Kentucky happily allows drones of all intents to fly in its airspace. However, you have to do so while fully complying with the drone laws applicable in the state of Kentucky.

There are three governing authorities that come together in developing and enforcing these laws within the state. The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), The Department of Transportation, and the General Assembly of Kentucky.

Let’s take a look into all of these laws below;

Drone Laws in Kentucky

Drone pilots have to follow three types of rules while flying a drone  in the state of Kentucky:

  • Federal Laws
  • State Laws
  • Local Laws

The federal laws are to be prioritized in case any of the state or local laws oppose the federal laws.

Federal Drone Laws in Kentucky

The Federal Drone Laws are put together by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and are followed in every state of the USA.

Federal Laws have three further divisions:

Federal Drone Laws for Commercial Drones

Commercial drones are used for business, compensation, or hiring. For instance, drones used in wedding coverage and insurance adjusting, etc., all come under the category of commercial drones. 

To fly drones commercially in the state of Kentucky, drone pilots have to follow the given rules:

  • All commercial drones come under the UAS rules, part 107. The FAA compiles these rules.
  • According to this rule, UAS includes all small, temporarily operated aerial vehicles flown without a human pilot, e.g. drones.
  • However, an exemption lies for rockets and those aerial vehicles used to map the state’s natural resources. Check out more about the FAA rules (part 107) here.
  • Before you can fly your commercial drone in Kentucky, it needs to be registered, and you can register your drone with the FAA.
  • The first step for certification is to clear the Aeronautical Knowledge Test, prepared by the FAA.
  • This test evaluates the pilots based on their knowledge of regulating and operating the drone, radio communications while flying, and emergency operations, in case of emergency, etc.
  • You can learn more details about the Aeronautical Knowledge Test here.
  • Another essential requirement is to get your drone registered with the FAA.
  • All drones weighing between 250g to 25kg are to be registered. The weight limit includes any additional accessories such as a camera, etc.
  • If your drone is heavier than 25 kgs, a $5 fee has to be deposited for the process of registration.
  • The registration process requires basic personal information such as the name, email, and complete mailing address of the pilot.
  • After the completion of registration, each drone gets a unique number which is to be affixed with the drone all the time. 
  • This registration number is valid for three years. Children below the age of 13 can’t apply for registration, as per the rules of the FAA.

Federal Drone Laws for Recreational Drones

Recreational drones are drones that are used for personal enjoyment, eg. as a hobby. 

To fly drones recreationally in the state of Kentucky, the drone pilots have to follow the rules given below:

  • First and foremost, all recreational pilots must pass the Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST).
  • To answer any related queries about the test, click here.
  • Recreational drones weighing between 250g to 25kg are not included in part 107 of the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems rules.
  • However, drones heavier than 25 kgs have to follow the rules mentioned in the FAA rules (part 107).
  • Recreational drones in Kentucky are listed in another set of rules, termed the Recreational Model Aircraft rules. The FAA also compiles these rules.
  • Flying a drone in an airspace that is not specified for drones or breaching personal privacy protocols is strictly prohibited.
  • As per the rules of the FAA, Recreational drones are allowed in Class G airspace only. Class G airspace is any uncontrolled airspace.
  • Recreational Model Aircraft rules allow the drones to be operated at the height of 400 feet and below.
  • For further information, read Recreational Model Aircraft rules here.
  • Recreational drones are prohibited from coming in the way of any crewed aircraft or create a hindrance in law enforcement activities or emergency response.
  • No one is allowed to fly a drone under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Any damage to the state’s property, such as historical monuments, by the recreational drone can result in civil penalties for the drone pilot.

Federal Drone Laws for Government Employees

If you are a government employee flying a drone in the state of Kentucky, you may look out for these rules before operating the drone:

  • The government officials from the fire department, police officers, and other employees of the US government can apply for a Federal Certificate of Authorization (COA). 
  • The COA is not mandatory and can be skipped. The FAA gives this certificate.
  • The pilots have to clear a specific test administered by the FAA to obtain this certification.
  • According to the Small Unmanned Aircraft System rules, government employees come under and are also allowed to operate their drones (part 107).
  • Government employees can use class G airspaces to fly drones. Although, a special authorization is required if they need to enter another, supervised airspace.
  • Nighttime drone operations are not allowed to avoid accidents.
  • Under special circumstances, a training session has to be completed before any nighttime operation.
  • Other than the training, pilots are supposed to fulfill all the requirements when it comes to nighttime drone equipment.
  • As per rules, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) does not allow any sort of drone operation above 400 feet.

State Drone Laws in Kentucky

State drone laws are to be practiced within an individual state, and these laws are devised by the Department of Transportation and the Kentucky General Assembly.

Currently, in addition to the Federal laws, there is only 1 law observed for drone pilots in the state of Kentucky. The rule is stated below:

HB 54 // 2017

This law authorizes the airports of Kentucky to prepare UAS facility maps for UAS operators.

As per the state law, all drone and other UAS operators:

  • Can’t take-off, fly over, or land in areas specified otherwise by the facility maps.
  • Can’t fly dangerously or cause personal injuries and harm the state’s infrastructure. This rule can result in a Class A misdemeanor, and the operator will be penalized accordingly.
  • Can’t disturb or change the course of an aircraft. Any disruption compromising the safety of an airplane can result in a Class D felony, and the drone operator will be penalized accordingly.
  • These laws, however, don’t apply to commercial UAS pilots that abide by the FAA rules and regulations.

Local Drone Laws in Kentucky

The local drone laws are effective in the local towns and counties of Kentucky. These laws are put into action by the local legislation that governs these towns and counties puts these laws into action.

As for now, there are no local laws that are separately practiced in Kentucky. All the cities, towns, and counties follow Federal and State laws for possessing and operating drones in Kentucky.

Flying Near an Airport

As per the Special Model Aircraft rules, part 101, flying in close proximity to the airport is not allowed as it can interfere with regular commercial flights.

Due to safety concerns, no drone is allowed to operate within 5 miles of an airport, and this law is observed in all states of the USA.

If a drone has entered or has to operate in close proximity to the airport under special circumstances, the drone pilot is supposed to inform the airport management and air traffic controller.

After answering a few questions, the pilot may be allowed for a temporary operation.

In a Nutshell

Flying drones in the airspace of Kentucky can be fun and if you want to do so, make sure to give the above-mentioned rules a thorough read. This will ensure a safe flight and will keep you out of any charges of felony.

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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