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Drone Laws in Tenessee (Everything You Need To Know in 2023)

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
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

Tennessee is a state with wonderful green spaces and natural sights worth capturing with your drone. However, before flying your drone in this state you’ll have to be familiar with the drone laws here first. In this article we’ll look into the different laws regarding drone use.

Can I Fly a Drone in Tennessee?

Wondering if you can actually take your drone for a flight? drones are allowed in Tennessee for recreational and commercial uses!

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

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

Federal Drone Laws in Tennessee

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

I’ve gone in-depth on that in this article. You’re free to check that out before continuing in this article but we’ll brush over the federal laws in this section.

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

Recreational Flying

Recreational flying is flying as a hobby, for fun. All you have to do to fly your drone recreationally is pass the TRUST test.  

It’s a simple online test that you can pass for FREE from an approved test administrator. Beware of anyone who tries to charge you for it as the FAA requires it to be free (my personal recommendation are Uavcoach, they’re an FAA approved test provider).

Commercial Flying

Commercial drone flight is every drone activity that you’re compensated for, according to the FAA. Even if you’re just selling pictures you captured from your drone. To be able to fly commercially 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 Tennessee

Below are the federal drone laws in Tennessee 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 Tennessee


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

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

Critical Infrastructure Facilities

According to this law, it’s a crime to fly within 250 feet of any Critical Infrastructure Facility.

A CIF, according to legislation, is any place or area that is enclosed by a fence or another form of physical barrier that is clearly meant to keep out intruders. 

It may not even have a fence or physical barrier, if an area has a sign that forbids entry, put in a manner that grabs attention, it can be considered a CIF.

Air Displays

According to this law, it’s prohibited to fly near or capture images of open air events or firework displays. The reason is obviously to stop interference with the events.

Law Enforcement Use of Drones

Normally, law enforcement agencies can’t use drones. But according to this law in Tennessee, they can in cases of terrorist threats or risk of life.

However, any evidence obtained on someone through drones that is not in these high-risk situations isn’t admissible in court. 


It’s strictly prohibited to spy on someone using a drone in Tennessee, surveillance and/or capture of images of an individual without their consent is considered a Class C misdemeanor and can get you in trouble.

Read up more on that law here.

Local Drone Laws in Tennessee

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

There aren’t many local drone laws in Tennessee, in fact there is only one.

Davidson County

According to this county’s ordinance, it’s strictly prohibited to use your drone in any state park within the county unless in areas specifically designated for such activities.

What Happens if You Break the Drone Laws in Tennessee?

Well, the FAA will rarely go for the maximum. Usually you’ll get a small fine, which is like a slap on the wrist.

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.

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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