Ohio lures drone enthusiasts and non-pilots alike with gorgeous sights like the Mohican State Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Indian Lake, and the Holden Arboretum.
If you wish to fly your drone here, what laws do you have to know first?
In Ohio, drone laws are enforced on a federal, statewide, and local level. Many cities and towns throughout the state ban the use of drones, and pilots must always follow Part 107 rules.
Ahead, we’ll take a deep dive into all the drone laws in Ohio. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a much fuller understanding of what’s allowed and what isn’t in this state.
Federal Drone Laws in Ohio
The United States government assigns federal drone laws to each state, Ohio among them. These laws apply to all drone pilots, including government employees as well as commercial and recreational pilots.
Here’s an overview of Ohio’s federal drone laws.
Recreational Drone Pilots
Recreational drone pilots or hobbyists are expected to obey the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 drone rules when engaging in flight.
Under Part 107 rules, recreational pilots must have a TRUST license to fly. TRUST is short for The Recreational UAS Safety Test.
That test is a 25-question exam that includes all multiple-choice questions. It doesn’t cost a fee to take the TRUST exam, and you can do it online as well.
As you answer the questions on the TRUST exam, if you get any wrong, you’re shown those answers while you’re still taking the test.
You have the option to go back and change your answers if you so wish.
Your TRUST certificate never expires, so always keep it handy.
Be sure to weigh your drone before flying as well. If the UAV clocks in at 0.55 pounds or less, such as is the case for a toy drone, you don’t have to register it.
However, for drones over 0.55 pounds, you do have to register the drone with the FAA for a fee of $5. The registration lasts for the next three years.
Commercial Drone Pilots
Most of you reading this are probably commercial drone pilots, so let’s not waste any time looking at how Ohio federal drone laws affect you.
You too must always fly according to the FAA’s Part 107 rules.
The FAA’s rules mandate that commercial drone pilots hold a Remote Pilot Certificate when operating a drone in a commercial fashion.
If you don’t already have a Remote Pilot Certificate in your name, then that will entail you having to take the Part 107 exam.
This exam for commercial drone pilots must be taken at a testing center on the FAA’s list.
You’ll have to pay a fee to take the exam, and that goes for any recurrent instances of taking the exam as well (such as failing the first time around).
The exam consists of 60 questions, all of them multiple-choice. You’re granted over two hours to complete the test. You don’t get to see if you answer any questions wrong while you take the test.
If you want to strengthen your Part 107 knowledge ahead of your exam date, be sure to check out our reviews of the best expert-level online drone schools.
Should you earn at least 70 percent, then you’ll be sent your Remote Pilot Certificate in the mail. The license is good for two years.
When it’s about to expire, you can take a free renewal exam through the FAA. This online, multiple-choice quiz requires you to earn a score of 100 percent to pass.
Before you begin panicking, you will see incorrect answers as you take the test, and you will have the opportunity to change those answers.
You’ll also have to register your drone with the FAA every three years for $5 per drone as a commercial pilot.
Agency Drone Pilots
Agency or government drone pilots include Ohio fire departments and police who use drones in a professional capacity.
You must follow Part 107 rules or obtain a Certificate of Authorization or COA.
State Drone Laws in Ohio
Let’s continue with Ohio’s state drone laws, which include HB 292.
HB 292 // 2014
HB 292 established the creation of the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee, which includes three senate members, three house of representative members, and 15 members “representing the aviation, aerospace, or technology industry, the military, or academia.”
Up to 14 of those members are decided by the house of representatives and senate voters, of which six could vote in all. The other member was decided upon by the Ohio governor.
So what does the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee, which went into effect in 2014, do, you ask? Here is the full list of responsibilities.
“(1) Studying and developing comprehensive strategies to promote the aviation, aerospace, and technology industry throughout the state, including through the commercialization of aviation, aerospace, and technology products and ideas;
(2) Encouraging communication and resource-sharing among individuals and organizations involved in the aviation, aerospace, and technology industry, including business, the military, and academia;
(3) Promoting research and development in the aviation, aerospace, and technology industry, including research and development of unmanned aerial vehicles;
(4) Providing assistance related to military base realignment and closure.”
Local Drone Laws in Ohio
Ohio has a smattering of local drone laws, so let’s go over them now.
Lorain County Metro Parks // 2020
In Lorain County Metro Park’s Rules and Regulations, Section 25.0 Aircraft, Balloons, Parachutes, Etc., the rule is as follows.
“No person shall voluntarily bring, land or cause to ascend or descend, or alight upon or adjacent to park lands, any airplane, drone/UAS (unmanned aircraft system), flying machine, balloon, glider, kite, parachute or other apparatus for aviation, without a permit and a payment of a fee, as may be required by the Director.”
Should you be granted permission to fly your drone, you must follow FAA regulations at all times.
Toledo Metro Parks // 2021
Toledo Metro Parks has a similar policy. According to its website, “Flying drones and use of other remote-controlled aircraft and watercraft is prohibited in the Metroparks. Drone use permits are issued for Westwinds Metropark.”
Here is the permit form if you want to send that in.
Hamilton County – Great Parks Rule // 2015
The Great Parks Rule of Hamilton County, passed in 2015, includes drone usage guidelines.
The guidelines say that “Per Great Parks of Hamilton County bylaws, drones may not be flown in any of the parks without written permission from the Chief Executive Officer.”
Anderson Township Parks – Park District Rule // 2015
Since 2015, the Park District Rule in Anderson Township Parks, Section 17a – Drones and Other Aircraft, has prohibited drone use.
Here’s the policy in full: “No person shall use or operate any radio controlled aircraft, including drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles, or any other similar device in any park or facility without specific written permission from the Executive Director.”
In Section 19 – Penalties, it’s stated that disobeying the rules laid out in the Park District Rule could lead to a $100 fine for your first offense and a $500 fine for your second and subsequent offense.
Butler County – Metro Parks // 2008
The park rules and regulations for MetroParks in Butler County clearly state that drone flight is disallowed unless a park board designates a specific area for drone flight.
Even still, you’d need an Executive Director-issued special permit.
Cleveland Metro Parks // 2021
In the major city of Cleveland, an ordinance passed in 2021, in Section 745.03 Restrictions, clearly lays out your flight rules. Drones are, unsurprisingly, banned.
Here is the information in Section 745.03 in full.
“(a) No person shall launch, land or operate, or cause to be launched, landed or operated, any UAS weighing 4.4lbs (2.2kg) or greater in any airspace within the Park District.
(b) No person shall launch, land or operate, or cause to be launched, landed or operated, any UAS weighing less than 4.4lbs (2.2kg) in any airspace within the Park District except in designated areas and must possess a current certificate of aircraft registration issued by the FAA for the UAS or is flying the UAS strictly for recreational use.
(c) No person shall launch, operate, or cause to be launched or operated, any unmanned aircraft system in any airspace within or over any area within the Park District that the FAA determines to be a restricted area, either by way of a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), Temporary Flight Restriction, No Drone Zone, or other means.”
Agency drone pilots are allowed to fly a drone in the park district though.
Cincinnati Parks – Park Board Rule // 2017
In Cincinnati Parks, the 2017 Park Board Rule prohibits drone flight unless you have a park board member’s written permission to fly.
Some areas of the park may be designated drone flight areas.
City of Celina – Municipal Law // 2015
Celina’s municipal law bars drones from flying over any property owned by the city, and that does indeed include parks.
City of Cleveland – Municipal Law // 2016
Cleveland has another municipal law, this one passed in 2016, that allows city police to enforce FAA regulations on drone pilots.
Ohio Drone Law FAQs
If you still have a couple of questions about flying a drone in Ohio, this FAQs section should clear everything up.
Can You Fly a Drone in a Public Park in Ohio?
Ohio is a green state with lots of stunning landscapes to explore across a vast number of public parks.
However, if a city or town in Ohio bars the usage of drones per the section prior, then you cannot fly your drone unless you have permission. That usually requires obtaining written permission, as you’ll recall.
Some cities or towns might have designated drone flight areas, but if not, and if you get turned down for a permit, you cannot fly there.
Can You Fly a Drone in a State Park in Ohio?
Ohio is home to some beloved state parks such as Mosquito Lake State Park, East Harbor State Park, Punderson State Park, Geneve State Park, Salt Fork State Park, and many more.
Are you allowed to fly your drone in these and other state parks? Should the parks have designated areas for such an activity or if you’re granted a permit from the appropriate parties, then yes, you can.
Ohio is a state with lots of beautiful attractions to explore. However, plenty of drone rules limit pilots on where they can and cannot go, so it’s a good idea to read up on the rules before you fly!
HB 292 (link)
Lorain County Metro Park’s Rules and Regulations (link)
Toledo Metro Parks Policy (link)
Hamilton County Great Parks Rule (link)
Anderson Township Parks (link)
Butler County MetroParks (link)
Cleveland ordinance (link)