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Drone Laws in Pennsylvania: Everything You Need To Know

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
Pennsylvania (2)

Flying your drone and exploring the beautiful locations in Pennsylvania state might be the dream of so many drone pilots. However, there are some rules and regulations in every state of the US that you need to follow before taking off your drone. 

Here we will discuss all the rules and regulations imposed by different levels of authorities that commercial drone flyers and recreational drone flyers have to follow. If you plan to visit Pennsylvania with your UAV, we strongly suggest that you read this article to the end. 

So without any further ado, let's get started and take a look at the drone laws in Pennsylvania.

Are Drones Allowed in Pennsylvania?

One of the first questions that most people may have on their minds is whether drones are allowed within the state of Pennsylvania or not. The answer to this question is:

The state of Pennsylvania allows the use of both recreational and commercial drones within the state. However, the drone pilot must follow the state, local, and FAA rules before taking off. 

Federal Drone Laws in Pennsylvania

The following are some of the rules imposed by the Federal govt on drones within the state of Pennsylvania. 

Federal Drone Laws for Commercial Drone Pilots

If you wish to fly your UAS for commercial purposes within the state of Pennsylvania, you must fulfill the requirement of FAA's Part 107 Small UAS Rule. According to the FAA's Part 107, all commercial drone pilots must pass the FAA's Aeronautical Knowledge Test and obtain a remote flying license before taking off. 

Federal Drone Laws for Recreational Drone Pilots

If you are just a recreational drone user who loves to fly drones for fun and explore different areas, then you need to take the FAA's test called TRUST. It states for "The Recreational UAS Safety Test". However, not only this, but you will also need to follow the FAA's small model aircraft rule. 

According to this rule, if the weight of your drone is under 0.55 lbs, you can fly your drone directly. However, if it exceeds the 0.55 lbs limit, you will need to pay a $5 registration fee to register your drone first. 

Moreover, the FAA's rule also includes that you can not fly your drone beyond the line of sight range; otherwise, you will be violating the laws of the federal administration. In addition to this, you should also avoid taking your drone to a very high altitude and make sure you are not flying near airports. 

Federal Drone Laws for Govt Operator

Even if you are a govt operator and want to fly your drone for govt missions such as crime scene investigation or fire situations, you will need to follow the FAA rules. You have to get the FAA certificate of authorization first or follow the FAA's Part 107. 

Pennsylvania State Laws for Drones

Besides those federal rules and regulations, there are some state laws that you must follow within Pennsylvania. 

According to the title 18 sec. 3505 // 2018 act, you are not allowed to use your drone to surveillance another person in a private place. In addition to this, you must never fly your drone in such a way that the other person may feel fear of bodily injuries. 

Apart from that, Title 53 Sec. 305 // 2018 also states that municipalities shall not impose restrictions on unmanned aircraft ownership or flight unless they are, by law, allowed to do so.

Besides that, there are six parks where recreational drones are allowed. These include:

  • Beltzville State Park
  • Benjamin Rush State Park
  • Hillman State Park
  • Lackawanna State Park
  • Prompton State Park
  • Tuscarora State Park

You can not fly your drone in any other park within the state of Pennsylvania. If you are a commercial drone pilot and want to fly your drone for any kind of commercial activity, you must ask the authorized offices of the parks and get permission before the operation. 

Local Laws for Drones in Pennsylvania 

According to the local laws within the state of Pennsylvania, all commercial and recreational drone pilots must follow the laws imposed by the state and the federal governments.

Apart from that, according to the title 53 sec 305, no county, city borough, incorporated township, or municipality within Pennsylvania is allowed to regulate the ownership of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Besides that, all municipal drone rules are preempted by Pennsylvania state code Title 18 Sec. 3505 and FAA regulations.

Those were some of the rules and regulations imposed by different levels of government. Now let's look at some other rules regarding the registration of your drones for different categories.

General Rules for Recreational Drone Pilots

Here are some rules for recreational drone pilots that you must follow:

  • You should never operate your drone dangerously
  • You should have a proof of TRUST test whenever you are taking off
  • Your drone must never exceed 55 lbs weight limit
  • You must never interfere with or try to interfere with the communication of any kind of airline or ATC
  • You must not fly your drone directly over people or moving vehicles
  • You should limit your maximum height up to 400 feet, not more than that
  • You must never interfere with the emergency response activities

General Rules for Commercial Pilots

If you wish to operate your drone for commercial applications, then you must follow the following rules and regulations:

  • You should never interfere with any emergency response activities or ATC of any airport
  • You must always keep your drone within the line of sight range and never fly beyond that
  • Your drone must not be flying directly above people within the city or moving vehicles
  • You must always keep your maximum flying height at 400 ft only
  • You must be at least 16 years or older to become eligible for flying your drone for commercial applications.
  • You must always comply with weather minimums
  • Always avoid flying within the controlled airspace coordinates to prevent any kind of accidents and damages 
  • Never fly at night without night training, as per Part 107.29, and always make sure your drone has a proper anti-collision lighting system.

Do You Need to Register Your Drone in Pennsylvania?

According to the laws within the state of Pennsylvania, you will need to register your drone, whether it is for commercial purposes or recreational flights.

If you are flying your drone for recreational activities only, then your drone must be in the range from 0.55 lbs to 55 lbs. If the drone's weight is above 0.55 lbs, you must pay a $5 fee to register your drone and get a registration number. 

Apart from that, the FAA demands that you affix your registration number to your drone and carry your license and required documents whenever you are flying your drone. 

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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