You might have heard good things about Atlanta and maybe contemplated visiting this beautiful city. If you own a drone, the question about operating drones in the state of Georgia might have also crossed your mind. If this is the case, you need to understand whether drone flying is permitted in Atlanta.
Every state in America has overarching federal laws, rules, and regulations that govern drone use. Understanding these laws is critical regardless of the type of drone you have. But first things first. Can you fly a drone in Atlanta?
It is legal to fly a drone in Atlanta, as long as you follow all FAA regulations for drone flight. Other specific regulations for flying a drone in Atlanta include not interfering with emergency scenes, and not flying over government land, or private property without permission.
Legal drone flying is allowed in Atlanta, provided you adhere to both the federal FAA, state, and local rules and regulations. Some of the rules include not using drones for hunting, fishing, or taking photos and videos from people’s residences without permission. This detailed article will discuss the local, state, and federal laws that govern drone use in Atlanta. We’ll also give you some tips on the best places where you can fly your drone in Atlanta.
Federal Drone Laws
It is important first to understand that there are two types of drone pilots according to Federal laws. They are classified as recreational or commercial drone pilots, and here is a description of each of them.
Recreational drone pilots – This category of drone pilots must have completed the Recreational UAS safety test (TRUST) and have their aircraft registered as per the recreational flyer rules of the FAA. The test can be completed online, after reading through some training materials. And the best part of it is that it’s not limited to USA citizens.
Commercial drone Pilots –These are pilots who have been certified by the FAA after successfully going through a multiple-choice test in a physical testing center. The pilots in this category can use their drones to offer professional services, and they hold a Remote Pilot Certificate which the FAA issues, permitting them to fly their drones commercially. However, the license only lasts for 36 months and must be updated within the lapse of 24 months.
The other relevant federal drone law here states that for any person employed by the government to fly a drone, they must acquire a federal Certificate of Authorization (link) or do it under the Part 107 rule.
Atlanta Local Drone Laws
Atlanta as a municipality has no specific drone laws. Nevertheless, some rules and by-laws have been put in place for restriction and safety purposes. Here is a list of the rules.
- No flying of drones on other people’s property without permission.
- Drones are allowed to be used for cost-saving and safety purposes.
- Drones are restricted from flying over local government land.
- Drones are not allowed to interfere with an emergency scene when conducting official duties.
- Drone pilots (including law enforcement agencies) must have search warrants when they want to gather some evidence from areas with maximum privacy.
- Purging of any photos or videos taken by a government entity on private property for a special case is a must.
- It is unlawful to take a drone from public or private property without authorization.
- Do not use a drone to fish or hunt.
- Do not use your drone to interfere with someone who is trapping, fishing, or hunting.
- No use of drones within a close distance to public roads without authorization.
- No flying drones within highly populated areas without permission from the FAA.
- No flying drones in and around historic sites and state parks unless permitted by the Division Director.
- Drone operators must avoid interfering with crewed aircraft at all costs.
- The drone must be below 400 feet at all times.
- Use a visual observer to see and track your drone.
- No flying drones under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Do not fly drones around critical infrastructure.
- Do not weaponize your drones.
Georgia Drone State Laws
- No flying drones from a vehicle in motion.
- Law enforcement agencies must be authorized to use drones within particular areas.
- Always follow federal drone flying rules.
- Your drone must have a visibly displayed registration number.
- You must have your registration proof every time you are flying the drone.
- No flying drones within 5 miles of airports.
- You must have a waiver to fly your drone above 400 ft.
- No drone flying at night.
These are official documents given by the FAA to permit you to fly your drone without being limited by regulations in Atlanta. The waivers allow drone pilots to undertake some generally unpermitted drone operations, according to part 107. However, a pilot must demonstrate that they will safely fly their drone. You can get a waiver (link) if you want any of the following.
- To fly your drone from a moving vehicle or aircraft, more so in highly populated areas.
- Fly at night without using the night-collision lights
- Fly a drone with only one operator
- You want to fly your drone above 400 feet
- Fly over moving vehicles
- Fly your drone over a small drone that is not within the category of operations
Best Places to Fly Drones in Atlanta
To fly drones in Atlanta, you must ensure that you have familiarized yourself with the law discussed above. This applies to both recreational and commercial pilots. Additionally, you need to pre-plan your flight for convenience purposes. There are drone flight pre-planning apps that can help you, including Air maps, to make sure the place you plan to fly allows drones.
If you are visiting Atlanta, make sure you visit the following places and have fun flying your drone with a clear aerial view of some of these iconic sites.
1. Piedmont Park Atlanta
This is the perfect getaway site for anyone who wants to unwind outside town. It is sandwiched between the midtown and the neighborhoods of Virginia highlands. Tourists and locals have lots of amenities to access in this park. Piedmont Park is known for festivities thanks to its serenity and peace. The main drone flying attractions in the park are Oak Hill, Meadow, and open green spaces. The locations will give you a memorable drone flying experience, and some great pictures to take home.
2. Lake Lanier Gainesville, GA
This reservoir sits on the Northern part of Georgia, whose main feeder is the Chestatee River. The lake covers 39,000 acres, and it is one of the best hangout spots during the summer season. Every minute spent at Lake Lanier is well spent, which explains why millions of tourists enjoy visiting it. Alabama, Georgia, and Florida state share this gem. You have endless views for aerial photography, from the lake to the thick green forests to the lakes’ islands.
3. Murphey Candler Park, GA
Your Atlanta tour can’t be complete if you haven’t enjoyed some incredible drone flying moments at this park. The Murphey Candler Park is part of Brookhaven City and has many amenities, including picnic areas, a swimming pool, playground, trails, lakes, and tennis courts. You can not get enough of the photo shooting opportunities in this park, thanks to all it has to offer.
4. Fayette Flyers Field (AMA), GA
This is another warm, safe, and welcoming landmark in Atlanta, and it is a flying field located in the Northern part of Peachtree City. There is a grass runway and a lake where you can enjoy some great flying moments in the company of other drone and model aircraft enthusiasts. No better place for flying your drone as you make new friends than at the Fayette Flyers Field.
5. Little Tallapoosa Park
Tallapoosa Park has lots of amazing natural views and amenities to offer. Tallapoosa Park is located in North Carrolton and features 2.5 miles of paved trails, a fishing pond, tents and camping sites, and hookup sites. The park offers diversified scenery, making it the best option for trying out more drone flying tricks and working on your drone photography skills. However, you must be careful because the park has many birds, and you wouldn’t want to collide with them.
6. RC field at Intrenchment Creek park
Start your summer day trip in the RC field and wind your way around the area. The field is located on the South-Eastern side of Atlanta. It is the best place to visit if you like walking and is a favorite spot among hikers because the trails are smooth. Besides being home to the Atlanta RC club, the park also boasts a landing airstrip. You have the freedom to fly your drones in the various spots within the RC field as you experience remote-controlled aircraft.
7. Panther Creek Falls
Launch your drone near one of the best water bodies in Atlanta. Panther Creek Falls is a combination of waterfalls that form a clear and beautiful water pool. The sight of the 75-foot waterfall is breathtaking, not to mention the scenic area that will make your family grateful that you included them in your plans as well. In this area, you have a guarantee of shooting the most amazing videos with an ambiance of the cool water pooling under the falls.
8. Providence Canyon State Park
Navigating through the unusual geographical formations in the Canyon park will leave you with lasting memories. The formations are a result of erosion, and they provide the best scenery for capturing photos. The natural painting in this park formed by the park’s soil’s orange, purple, pink, and red hues is something you won’t forget in a hurry.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are drones allowed in Atlanta?
Yes. Drones are permitted for both commercial and recreational purposes in Atlanta. Nevertheless, you must adhere to federal, state, and local laws.
2. Do I need a drone pilot’s license to fly a drone in Atlanta?
You must have a drone pilot’s license to fly a drone for commercial purposes in Atlanta. Having a license is compulsory regardless of the commercial industry you are in. One must comply with the part 107 rules for small UAS. Recreational pilots do not need a pilot license but must have completed their TRUST test.
3. What is the recommended height for flying drones in Atlanta?
At 400 feet or below is the maximum height. If you want to fly your drone above that, you must get a waiver. The best height for photos will depend on the picture you’re trying to get but is usually somewhere around 90 feet max.
We have discussed everything you need to know about legal drone operations in Atlanta. We’ve also shared the best places you can enjoy flying your UAS whenever you are in the city. The most important thing to have in the forefront of your mind is the federal, state, and local laws. This is the only sure way that you will be safe from a run-in with the FAA law enforcers.
Nevertheless, ensure you keep checking the drone flight regulations before launching your drone into the Atlanta skies. Laws can change, and you should therefore be on the lookout for state restrictions and notices for Atlanta airspace.