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

Updated in 2022 by Paul Posea
michigan
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

Michigan is lush with greenery and is home to breathtaking sights. If you want to take beautiful drone shots like the one above, you’ll have to be familiar with the drone laws in Michigan first. In this article we’ll look into the different laws regarding drone use there.

Can I Fly a Drone in Michigan?

I got good news for you, drones are allowed in Michigan for recreational and commercial uses!

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

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

Federal Drone Laws in Michigan

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

To get a very in-depth analysis on federal drone laws in the US, you can check this article I previously wrote on the subject. But we’ll brush over them in this section.

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

Recreational Flying

Recreational flying is any flying that you don’t get paid for (hobby). All you have to do to fly your drone recreationally is pass the TRUST test.  

You can pass it for FREE from an official test administrator. Beware of anyone who tries to charge you for it. The FAA requires the test to be free (my personal recommendation are Uavcoach, they’re an FAA approved test provider).

Commercial Flying

The FAA considers any drone flight that you’re compensated for as commercial, even if you’re just selling pictures you captured from your drone. 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 Michigan

Below are the federal drone laws in Michigan 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 Michigan

Michingan

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

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation there are several state-wide drone laws found in Michigan:

Laws Regarding Privacy

There are several laws in Michigan regarding privacy, the key ones being:

  • Sex offenders may not use a drone to follow, photograph or contact a person they’re prohibited from seeing. (which should be obvious)
  • You may not harass individuals on the streets or elsewhere with your drone.
  • You are prohibited from photographing or filming anyone who has expectations of privacy. That means you may film people if they know and are okay with it.
  • You’re prohibited from flying over an occupied beach area, equestrian facility, restroom, open-changing court, or an area subject to an aerial right-of-way.

You can read up more on these laws here.

Laws Regarding Emergency Situations

There are laws regarding the interference with enforcement agencies and first responders, they’re as follows:

  • You may not use your drone to interfere with emergency personnel 
  • You may not operate your drone in a way that knowingly and intentionally interferes with department employees and their designees performing official duties.
  • You can’t interfere with search and rescue operations

Read up more on that here.

Other State Laws

There are two other state laws in michigan that I could find, but they don’t fit in the categories above.

  1. You can’t harass or interfere with an individual that is hunting.
  2. You can't fly within 100 yards of a cultural or historical structure.

NOTE: Any who uses their drone in a manner prohibited by all the laws listed above is guilty of misdemeanor.

Local Drone Laws in Michigan

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

There aren’t many local drone laws in michigan, I could only find one city and two locations that had special laws:

The Town of West Bloomfield

The law here is pretty simple, all park areas are no-fly zones. You can check that law in detail here.

University of Michigan

According to this ordinance, you may not fly your drone anywhere above the university’s campus, unless prior permission has been obtained from the executive vice president.

Mt. Brighton Ski Resort

This resort prohibits the use of drones (commercial and recreational) by the guests and public for any reason.

The only exception where you can fly your drone here is if you have an official permit from the FAA and a written permission from the resort’s authorities. It’s usually granted for workers doing marketing and inspections.

What Happens if You Break the Drone Laws in Michigan?

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

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.

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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