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Drone laws in Ohio: Everything You Need To Know

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea

Ohio stands out as a state that has been particularly proactive in enacting legislation related to drones. In 2012, Ohio was the first state to pass a law regulating the use of drones by law enforcement agencies. That law requires police departments to obtain a warrant before using a drone for surveillance purposes.

In 2015, Ohio enacted another law regulating the use of drones. That law prohibits the use of drones for hunting or fishing. The law also requires drones to be registered with the state.

Ohio is not the only state to have enacted laws regulating the use of drones. Other states, including California, Florida, and Texas, have also passed laws related to drones. However, Ohio's laws are among the most restrictive in the country. If you are thinking of using a drone in Ohio, it is important to be aware of these laws and to comply with them. Failure to do so could result in fines or even criminal charges.

With the revision of new laws every year, being on the right side of the fence as a drone operator in Ohio is paramount. Drone flying is about being a responsible pilot who puts your safety and others first—at the same time, avoiding being penalized or banned from flying at all costs.

Regardless of drones being great tools for video recording and photography, they can be intrusive and record clips outside of everyday and legal situations. This article will detail all you need to know about drone laws in Ohio. Everything you need before flying or landing your drone.

Can I Fly a Drone in Ohio?

The airspace rules by the FAA apply to both recreational and Part 107 UAS Pilots. With federal requirements being the same for every State in the USA, there are other specific laws for each state that you must comply with if you intend to fly your drone there. Ohio County has its own rules and regulations.

You can fly your drone in Ohio, but you must understand and adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by both the FAA and the state of Ohio.

When flying your drone in Ohio, or anywhere else in the US for that matter, you must:

· Fly your drone below 400 feet

· Keep your drone within visual line-of-sight

· Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports

· Never fly over groups of people

· Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol

With the increasing number of drones in Ohio, federal laws require the registration of all drones weighing more than 55 pounds. If you're a recreational pilot, a single registration covers all the drones under your ownership. However, if you're monetizing your drone videos, you should do it as a part 107 pilot, including charity footage.

How Enforceable Are Drone Laws in Ohio?

Ohio County has strict rules and regulations that drone pilots must follow to fly safely and legally without too much intrusion.

The enforcement of these drone laws in Ohio is taken seriously and can result in criminal charges if violated. Violators of the state's drone laws can be subject to fines, and even imprisonment. In case of a drone being used for illegal activities, the operator will be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.

There are federal laws (FAA) that control unmanned drones for commercial and recreational purposes.

Federal Laws (Recreational Purposes)

  •     You must register your drone with the FAA drone zone website if more than 55 pounds
  •     Follow safety guidelines provided by existing aeromodelling organizations or follow the FAA's safety rules per Advisory Circular 91-57B
  •     You must fly within visual sight
  •     The FAA requires you to pass the Recreational UAS Safety Test First
  •     You must fly below 400 feet or less
  •     Your drone must be under 55 pounds
  •     You should never fly near another aircraft. If you're flying within 5 miles of an airport, you must notify the control tower
  •     You should not fly near emergency response efforts
  •     You should not fly over people. This includes crowds, public events, or stadiums filled with people
  •     You can only fly for recreational purposes

Federal Laws (Commercial Purposes)

  •     You must hold a remote pilot's license issued by the FAA. You are required to follow the FAA Part 107 Small UAS Rule to fly a drone either for business or work
  •     You must register your drone with the FAA drone zone website
  •     Your drone must be under 55 pounds
  •     You must fly in Class G airspace
  •     You must fly below 400 feet
  •     You must fly during the day or at civil twilight, which is 30 minutes after sunset
  •     You must fly under 100 miles per hour
  •     You must give right of way to all crewed aircraft
  •     You can't fly over people
  •     You can't fly from a moving vehicle unless in a lightly populated area

Here's the catch, though, just because the FAA says it's okay to fly, state and city laws can restrict where you operate. Similarly, Ohio has its own rules and regulations:

State Drone Laws in Ohio

The Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Department of Transportation established one law that governs drone use in the State:

HB 292//2014

The aerospace and aviation technology committee created this law to research and develop aviation technology. The part 107 regulations of the FAA apply to the uncrewed aircraft operated commercially in Ohio, including drones. 

House Bill HB 292 (2014)

This law creates and enacts Sec. Its primary function is to develop aerospace, aviation, and technology industries, including UAVs.

Local Drone Laws in Ohio

Different authorities created these laws to cater to specific Counties in Ohio:

  •     Cleveland City – Municipal Law//2016

This law allows the police to enforce FAA laws about drones. It prohibits drones from flying in or over critical infrastructure and gives authority to the police department to confiscate any drone that is being used for illegal activities.

  •     City of Celina – Municipal Law//2015

This law prohibits drones over city-owned properties. This includes parks, cemeteries, and other recreational areas. The law also requires all drones to be registered with the city clerk.

  •     Cincinnati Parks – Park Board Rule//2017

You're not allowed to fly drones over Cincinnati parks. Written permission by the park boards will be required. While some parks may be open to drone use, it will be on a case-by-case basis. You can fill out a permit application on the city's website.

  •     Butler County – Metro Parks//2008

This law prohibits drone flying over or other remote-controlled aircraft in Metro Parks of Butler County outside of designated areas. However, the Executive Director may issue special use permit. Medical responders and law enforcement working within the lines of duty may get official exceptions for drone flying.

  •     Anderson Township Parks – Park District Rule//2015

This law prohibits drones in any park or property owned by the township without written permission from the Executive Director. It stipulates that anyone caught flying a drone in the township parks may be subject to penalties. The penalties will include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Hamilton County – Great Parks Rule//2015

This law bans drones from Hamilton County's Great Parks unless the Chief Executive Officer gives written permission. Recreational drone pilots can submit a Private Drone Usage Application, while commercial drone pilots may submit a Commercial Drone Usage Application.

If I fly only over my property, do I need to register my drone?

In Ohio, registration for drones above 55 pounds is mandatory regardless of flying it over your property. This goes for all unmanned aircraft. The registration needs to have your name, address, and email.

If you are flying over your property, you do not need a permit as long as you are not endangering people or other aircraft. Just remember to keep your drone within your line of sight.

In cases where you are not flying over your property, you will need to get a permit from the Ohio Department of Transportation. This is required for any commercial operation of drones.

Just because the FAA regulates drone use, doesn't mean that states don't have their own rules. When in doubt, check with your local municipality to see if there are any drone laws specific to your area. And always remember to fly safely!

Can I Fly My Drone Over Private Property in Ohio?

Flying your drone below 400 feet over someone's property without their permission is liable in trespass or nuisance. If a drone operator flies over your property without permission or due reason, then you are within your rights to call the police.

On the other hand, if you have given someone permission to fly their drone over your property, then they are not liable. Remember, it is always best to get verbal or written consent from the property owner before flying your drone.

Do I Need to Register My Drone in Ohio?

Yes, Ohio state drone regulations require you to register with the FAA and attach the registration number to your drone before flying. This is regardless of the weight of your drone.

To register your drone, you will need to go to the FAA's website and create an account. From there, you will be able to register your drone and receive a registration number. Once you have this number, make sure to attach it to your drone before flying.

Do I Need to Register My Drone With the FAA as a Visitor to Fly?

This is a requirement even for tourists who wish to fly their drones in Ohio. You will need to go through the necessary registration process and give out the required information to the authorities.

As a visitor, you are also subject to the same rules and regulations as any other drone operator in Ohio. This means that you must fly your drone within your line of sight, not over 400 feet, and not near airports or people.

Can You Shoot Down a Drone in Ohio?

It is illegal to shoot down unmanned aircraft in Ohio. The federal laws are strict on shooting any UAVs for whatever reason. This will attract legal action and heavy fines by the FAA and represent criminal damage.

The rule of thumb is, complying with the federal and state laws of the County. The emphasis is mainly on the importance of courtesy. Just because you can do something legally doesn't mean being a nuisance is in the sport's best interest.

Right now, pretty much anyone who doesn't fly a drone hates them. Being a drone operator means that you're constantly fighting a perception battle. Regardless of your legal right to fly, it will take effort and awareness on your part to be able to coexist with the locals and the lawmakers, hopefully, without attracting more rules, restrictions, or fines.

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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