Do you want to fly your drone around in the state of Maryland? If the answer is yes, then there are some rules and regulations that you need to be aware of before you unpack your drone.
Luckily, you have come to the right place because, in this article, you will find all of the information that you need to know before taking your UAV to the air.
With that said, let's look and see the rules and regulations of flying drones in Maryland. Are they even allowed to be flown there? And what do you need to do to enjoy your flights uninterruptibly?
Drones are allowed in the state of Maryland, provided that the pilot has passed "The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). The Federal Aviation Administration conducts this test.
There are four different types of drone pilot tests; namely:
This test is for those pilots who want to fly the drone for personal use. It can include drone racing, drone photography, or just recording some stunts in the air.
Commercial pilots use high-end drones equipped with modern cameras for aerial photography of events, remote sensing, environmental study, or filming videos for movies.
This test is for pilots who will use the drone for public safety tasks such as searching and rescue missions, inspecting developmental works, investigating a crime scene from a top view angle, or sometimes for traffic management.
Lastly, the Educational Flyers test is for all kinds of educational purposes, such as flying under controlled lab environments and testing different algorithms with their UAVs to extend their capabilities and develop new solutions.
For instance, Professor E. Humpherys, in the Radio Navigation Lab, uses drones for testing and development of GPS Spoofing and Anti-spoofing mechanisms.
Whichever category you belong to, you will need to pass its respective test before flying your UAV in the state of Maryland. Specifically for the recreational flyers, the UAS safety test (TRUST) is necessary, and other drone pilots will have to qualify it from their respective organizations.
You can check out further about each one of these tests on the FAA's official website.
According to Federal laws, the drone needs to be registered and affixed with the FAA registration number before taking flight if it weighs more than 55 pounds.
Moreover, if the drone's weight is less than 55 pounds, it still needs to be registered, but it doesn’t need the registration number written on it. The registration can be done either online or using the paper-based registration process.
Additionally, the requirement of federal laws also includes that the pilot must show the certificate of registration to law enforcement, either electronically or in print. You can register yourself here if you are eligible for online registration.
Currently, there are no special state laws about drones. However, according to the Maryland Code of Economic Development section 14-301 states in subsection (b): "Only “ the State may enact a law or take any other action to prohibit, restrict, or regulate the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems in the State.”
Subsection (c) "preempts the authority of a county or municipality to prohibit, restrict, or regulate the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems; and supersedes any existing law or ordinance of a county or municipality that prohibits, restricts, or regulates the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems.”
The local governments in Maryland impose no local laws. Therefore, you must carefully follow state laws and specifically FAA laws whenever you are going to fly your drone in the state of Maryland.
Besides that, you always need to carry your license and registration as proof. Thus whenever a law-enforcement office asks for it, you can easily present it at that time.
Whether you are a commercial drone pilot or flying for recreational purposes, you will need to register your drone and print the registration number on it too. Apart from that, you will also need to carry registration documents as proof with you whenever you are taking off outside.
Moreover, according to the FAA, if the drone's weight is 55 pounds, it will have to be registered, and the number must be affixed to the drone. At the same time, drones that are less than 55 pounds need to be registered only.
Registering your drone with the Federal Aviation Administration will help you get rid of so many issues in almost every state of the US. Here’s my article covering drone laws all over the United States.
Although many places in Maryland look very attractive for drone flights, not all of them are accessible due to the laws imposed by the state and the FAA. But besides those areas, you have the whole state of Maryland to fly your drones.
Below are some of the places where you can easily fly your drone for hours without any issue at all.
Ocean City is one of the perfect places to explore with your drone. The Whole city consists of 10 miles of beach covering Timper's Rides theme park to Delaware. Between those two points, you will be able to see hotels, condos, and a 3-mile long wooden boardwalk.
During the sunset, you will be able to capture a breathtaking sight of a bustling town, kayaks, and sailboats, along with the setting sun. Due to its beautiful view and being safe for drone flights. Due to its popularity, the area also hosts its drone show to light up the sky for spectators, giving a splendid look.
Chesapeake Beach is another fantastic spot to explore with your drone. It is well-known for its old railway station and railway tracks, vintage wooden boardwalk, and beautiful fishing creek. It provides a spectacular sight to the viewers from a bird-eye view with the drone.
The only thing that you need to be careful with is the 15-to-30 mile ring of special flight rules. To avoid issues, you will have to limit your flight altitude below 400 feet. You also need to ensure that your drone is always in line of sight (LOS).
If you are fond of old architecture, there is no better place than Annapolis to explore with your UAV. It has a lot of beautiful brick houses that date back to the 18th century.
Moreover, if you are lucky enough to catch the sight of the old trees there in the fall, you are going to fall in love with them.
It provides a fantastic sight worth covering from the top. However, this area also comes within the SFRA 15 to 30-mile radius. Therefore, you will have to be very careful and always follow the SFRA guidelines as some susceptible buildings are out there.
The Loch Raven reservoir is another location where you can quickly fly your drone in Maryland. It is also one of the most popular areas where most recreation drone pilots love to go and record the beautiful sights of the place.
However, there is a golf club in this place where you should avoid flying your drone; otherwise, there is a higher risk of getting hit by a golf ball. Besides that, no local areas can make the flight difficult.
Last but not least, if you want to fly your drone in Maryland, you should visit Baltimore. This place is fantastic and has no restriction on drone flights. If you get above the skyline, you will be able to see a lot of crab shacks, warships from the civil war, and other beautiful sights.
You can fly your drone around the house in Maryland, provided that your house is not in a very crowded place. Moreover, the state's laws prohibit you from flying your drone directly above crowds for safety reasons.
However, we recommend you consider your neighborhood, buildings, and private properties, which can cause an issue. Having that said, if you still want to fly it around your home, you should ask your neighbors before flying your drone.
You can fly a drone in the Maryland State park; however, according to the state park policies, it is best to contact them and get permission to fly the drone inside the park. Doing so will help ensure public safety and compliance with any regulations imposed by law enforcement.
Apart from that, you should be careful and keep all other rules and regulations of the state and federal laws in mind before taking off. In addition, you should also be extremely careful about the privacy of people in the park; otherwise, you may end up getting into trouble.