Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes National Park, Turkey Run State Park, and Hoosier National Forest. These are just some of the many sights that Indiana offers to tourists and residents alike.
As a drone pilot gearing up to fly in Indiana, what are the drone laws here?
Indiana permits drone pilots, but they must obey federal, state, and local drone laws. For instance, you cannot use a drone to give you a hunting advantage, and flying your UAV in a state park is also prohibited.
In today’s article, we’ll take you through every drone law in Indiana so you can stay on the right side of the law.
Whether you live here and just got into drones or you’re passing through and want to fly, you won’t want to miss the info ahead!
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Federal Drone Laws in Indiana
All states in the United States have a set of federal drone laws as instituted by the country’s government. That includes Indiana.
The laws are in effect for commercial, recreational/hobbyist, and agency drone pilots. Let’s take a look.
Commercial Drone Pilots
As a commercial drone pilot, federal drone law mandates you to always follow the Part 107 rules as established by the Federal Aviation Administration when in flight.
In the Part 107 rules, commercial pilots are required to hold an FAA-issued license or certification.
You can only obtain the license by taking the Part 107 knowledge test, a 60-question exam that covers FAA rules inside and out.
You’re free to study before the exam, and many aspiring commercial drone pilots will enroll in an online drone school for Part 107 prep.
Check out our blog for full reviews of every online drone school so you can choose the best one.
If you earn a score of 70 percent or higher, then congratulations, you can now apply for a commercial drone license.
You still have to fly within the parameters of the Part 107 rules, but you are free to earn money through your drone.
Well, for the next two years, at least. After that, you’re required to re-enroll for the Part 107 exam and earn another passing score.
You’ll also have to pay $5 to register your drone through the FAA as a commercial drone pilot.
The registration lasts for three years.
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Recreational Drone Pilots
The next group of drone pilots who must follow Indiana’s federal drone laws is hobbyist pilots.
Even as a hobbyist, the FAA still requires you to take a special exam called The Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST for short.
TRUST is a lot less intensive than the Part 107 exam, so don’t worry. Any answers that you get wrong will be displayed to you while you’re taking the test.
You also have the opportunity to correct any wrong answers if you want, and in fact, you have to in order to move on to the next section.
Once you hold the TRUST certificate, you never have to renew it, as long as you don’t lose it.
TRUST is a collaboration between the FAA and industry to provide TRUST and educational safety material to Recreational Flyers.
Do you have to register your drone as a recreational drone pilot? Only if the drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds, which it probably will if you have almost anything but a toy drone.
The registration fee is the same as for commercial drone pilots.
Oh, and of course, you have to always obey Part 107 rules when operating your drone, even as a hobbyist.
Agency Drone Pilots
The final class of drone pilots who must follow Indiana federal drone laws are agency drone pilots aka government employees in the state such as firefighters and police officers.
Once more, Part 107 rules apply to you as well. In instances in which you might need flight waivers, you can apply for a Certificate of Authorization or COA through the FAA.
State Drone Laws in Indiana
Indiana has a smattering of state drone laws that you’ll want to brush up on before you plan your trip here to fly a drone.
Here’s everything you need to know.
IAC 312 8-2-8 (i) // 2018
The first state drone law is IAC 312 8-2-8 (i).
This drone law gives the Indiana Department of Natural Resources or DNR the freedom to bar drones from recreational and natural areas such as state parks.
That said, in some instances, a DNR division might agree to issue a commercial drone pilot a license if they wanted to film (and thus launch and land their drone).
That said, this would differ on a division-by-division basis.
If you were granted permission to use your drone at an Indiana state park, you’d still be expected to follow Part 107 rules at all times.
HB 1009 // 2014
HB 1009 was established in 2014 and is concerned with privacy and surveillance rights.
According to the law, if a law enforcement officer wants to use a UAV, then except in certain instances, they must obtain a search warrant first.
The law adds:
“Exempts electronic or video toll collection activities and facilities from certain restrictions relating to video and electronic surveillance and data collection. Provides that a law enforcement officer may not compel a person to provide a passkey, password, or keycode to any electronic communication service, electronic device, or electronic storage, or any form of stored electronic user data without a valid search warrant issued by a judge.”
HB 1246 // 2016
Passed in 2016, HB 1246:
“prohibits the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to scout gaming during the period beginning 14 days before the beginning of the hunting season and ending upon the expiration of legal hunting hours on the last day of the hunting season.”
This law was likely created to give all hunters a fair advantage, as being able to scope out the landscape with your drone is certainly not that.
HB 1013 // 2016
Under HB 1013, the Indiana General Assembly in 2016 determined that law enforcement officers can use drones to “make a request for geolocation information” without the need for a search warrant.
The geolocation information must be obtained within 72 hours of requesting it.
SB 299 // 2017
The last state drone law in Indiana is SB 299, which expands what kinds of drone activities would constitute a Class A misdemeanor.
The law states that these activities are now all Class A misdemeanors:
“(1) Sex offender unmanned aerial vehicle offense. (2) Public safety remote aerial interference. (3) Remote aerial voyeurism. (4) Remote aerial harassment. Provides that the offense are Level 6 felonies if the accused person has a prior unrelated conviction for the same offense.”
In Indiana, a Class A misdemeanor is punishable by fines of $5,000 and a year of jail time tops.
A Level 6 felony is punishable by a prison sentence of up to two and a half years.
Local Drone Laws in Indiana
Finally, there are Indiana’s local drone laws, of which the state has only one in Fort Wayne. Let’s unpack the law.
Fort Wayne City Ordinance § 96.30 Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems // 2019
The Fort Wayne City Ordinance § 96.30 Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems law requires drone pilots to let the city know if they’ll be flying their UAVs within 500 yards of a public event permitted by the city like a parade, block party, or festival.
Further, you must also indicate to the city if you plan on flying over the Downtown Aerial District, which is 5,500 feet from the 100 block of West Main Street.
When you notify the city of Fort Wayne, you have to include a lot of information, such as:
- Your name, phone number, and address as the drone operator.
- The name, phone number, and address of anyone assisting you on the flight as well as their company name (as applicable).
- The name, phone number, and address of any land owners who give you permission to fly over private property.
- The time and area you want to fly your drone.
- Your policy information, including if you have liability insurance, when it expires, if you have any certificates, and when they expire.
- Documents such as authorization, a Section 333 exemption, a waiver, or an FAA license or certificate, including the dates they were issued.
- Your Remote Pilot Certificate Number as issued by the FAA and the date the number was issued.
- Whether you’re flying your drone commercially or recreationally.
Indiana Drone Law FAQs
Are there still a few parts of Indiana’s drone laws you’re feeling fuzzy on, and you’d like some clarification?
This FAQs section should be quite helpful!
Can You Fly a Drone in a Public Park in Indiana?
Public parks abound in Indiana, including Krannert Park, Skiles Test Nature Park, Riverside Park, Eagle Creek Park, City of Aurora Park, Old City Park, and plenty more.
As a drone pilot of any nature, are you allowed on the grounds of these and other public parks throughout Indiana?
More than likely, no, you aren’t. Remember, the IAC 312 8-2-8 (i) gives the Indiana DNR the power to prohibit drone pilots from using their UAVs in any area deemed a “recreational space.”
A public park would more than likely meet that definition.
We do want to reiterate that the DNR might allow commercial drone pilots permission to use their drones, but that’s not a guarantee.
Can You Fly a Drone in a State Park in Indiana?
Indiana is even more beloved for its state parks, some of which include Spring Mill State Park, Brown County State Park, Potato Creek State Park, Shakamak State Park, and Charlestown State Park.
As a resident or tourist of Indiana, you’re free to visit these and other state parks, just without your drone. You’ll recall that the Indiana DNR bans drones from state parks.
Once again, special permissions are occasionally granted, so contact the DNR for the park you want to visit and ask.
Indiana is state teeming with beautiful sights but flying your drone throughout many of the state’s parks is prohibited.
You want to be extra careful to obey the rules in this state considering that some laws carry very stiff penalties such as Class A misdemeanors!
When you take the test, you’re protected under the Drone Pro Academy’s pass guarantee. If you fail your Part 107 test the first time, the academy will give you $160 to put towards retesting!