It’s the home of Disney World, Universal Studios, and some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. We’re talking about Orlando, Florida, of course. Orlando is a must-see destination for many, and that’s true for you as well. You would love to bring your drone to capture the multitude of sights that Orlando has to offer. Are you allowed to?
Drones are allowed to fly in Orlando, but if a gathering has more than 1,000 people, you must stay at least 50 feet away from said gathering. You also must have a permit from the City of Orlando to fly your drone near large gatherings, or you’ll be fined up to $400.
We have a lot more to talk about when it comes to flying a drone in Orlando. Ahead, we’ll discuss the legalities in much more intricate detail, including the regulations and laws in this popular part of Florida. We’ll even recommend some acclaimed spots for flying your drone!
Is it legal to fly a drone in Orlando?
Sunny Orlando is calling your name, and you’re eager to answer that call. As you pack your carry-on bag, be sure to leave room for your favorite drone, as you are allowed to bring a UAV with you to this part of Florida.
However, it’s not quite as simple as that. Per the City of Orlando’s drone rules (link), which were updated as of 2017, here are the requirements you must fulfill if you hope to fly your drone around this incredible city.
Like in almost every other part of the country, if the drone you’re planning to bring to Orlando weighs over 0.55 pounds, you must register it through the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA.
The City of Orlando stresses this especially for recreational drones, but that’s only because hobby drones like toy drones and mini drones might be on the lighter side. Of course, you must still register professional drones exceeding 0.55 pounds.
The FAA has a website called DroneZone (link) where you can register your drone. If registering it for commercial purposes, then you must have your Part 107 license information handy (more on this momentarily). There’s also an Exception for Recreational Flyers you can select if you’re using your drone for hobby purposes.
To register, you must include information such as your home address (and/or mailing address), your phone number, and your email address. Add the make and model of the UAV you’re registering as well as the Specific Remote ID, which the FAA says is a serial number the manufacturer should provide.
If your drone doesn’t have a Specific Remote ID, then you can skip this part.
Finally, you’ll have to type in your debit or credit card details, because yes, you do have to pay to register your drone. It’s not a huge expense, only $5 per user. The registration is then valid for the next three years.
Part 107 License
For commercial drone pilots, the City of Orlando requires these pilots to have their Remote Pilot Airman Certificate, aka the Part 107 drone license as issued by the FAA.
Earning your Part 107 license requires you to pass a test.
You can cram at your own convenience with online video lessons and practice tests so you’re ready to ace the Part 107 test. We again encourage you tocheck out our post on the best Part 107 test prep courses online »
Your Part 107 license is only valid for two years, then you have to retest.
Outside of your valid Part 107 license, the City of Orlando mandates that your drone pass a TSA check.
What are the local drone flight laws and regulations in Orlando?
You followed the requirements per the last section and got your drone to Orlando. You can’t wait to begin flying it around town to capture views of roller coasters at Universal or beaches at sunrise.
Well, we hate to burst your bubble, but you can’t bring your drone everywhere you wish. The City of Orlando has a municipal law, and in Section 37-12, drone flight rules are outlined.
Here is more information on these laws.
Commercial pilots must stay within Class G airspace
You use your drone for work purposes, and Orlando seems like a land with a lot of opportunities. And so it can be, provided that you stay within designated Class G airspace.
Class G airspace is uncontrolled airspace that fits no other classification such as Class A or Class E. Although it’s called govern-free airspace, you still must follow basic FAA flight rules.
Recreational pilots must stay at least five miles away from airports
If you’re flying recreationally and you have no air traffic control or airport permissions, then the closest you can get to an airport with your drone is five miles.
Drone pilots must follow operating rules
The drone operating rules as established by the City of Orlando vary based on whether you’re a recreational or commercial drone pilot.
Recreational pilots, when near manned aircraft, must yield right of way every time. Their drone has to stay within the pilot’s visual line of sight when flying.
For commercial pilots, you cannot launch or fly your drone from a moving vehicle, nor can you fly your drone directly above a civilian’s head. You too must give manned aircraft the right of way.
Further, you’re capped at drone operating speeds of less than 100 miles per hour. You cannot fly your drone at night, and during daylight flying, your drone must stay within your visual line of sight whenever you operate it. Your drone cannot exceed heights of 400 feet.
Recreational pilots cannot use their drones commercially
Commercial drone pilots must have a Part 107 license whereas recreational pilots don’t need it, but it’s for that reason that a recreational drone pilot is not allowed to engage in any form of making money with their UAV.
Drone pilots cannot fly in crowded areas without a permit
Is there a gathering in the area of at least 1,000 people? Although it would be cool to catch all the action with your drone, you can’t get any closer than 500 feet.
Additionally, to even be legally eligible to fly your drone anywhere near a crowded space, you must have a permit issued by the City of Orlando.
The permit costs you $20 each time you fly your drone. If you’re staying for a while, you can pay $150 for a whole year of permit use.
Failing to meet the above legal requirements means violating the City of Orlando’s ordinance. For first-time offenders, you’ll be penalized with a fine of $200 to $400.
The 5 best places to fly a drone in Orlando
Although it’s likely somewhat disheartening to learn that you can’t fly your drone anywhere and everywhere in Orlando you may desire, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. We found 5 great locations in Orlando that are more picturesque and less crowded than Disney World!
In nearby Conway is Barber Park, a landscaped park full of fun visual sights such as a skate park, a hockey rink, a sports field, picnic facilities, and a dog run. It’s a scenic location, but it’s one that can get crowded at times, so schedule your drone flight accordingly.
Hickory Point Recreation Park
Lake County’s own Hickory Point Recreation Park is Class G uncontrolled airspace for the recreational drone pilots out there. The park is nearly 70 acres, so you should be able to fly your drone away from the crowds. Remember not to fly directly over other people’s heads!
Shadow Bay Park
You can enjoy a variety of sights at Shadow Bay Park, including sand dunes, wildlife, and plenty of greenery. That wildlife, by the way, does include alligators! Since the park is surrounded by trees, be sure to carefully navigate your way around them.
R.D. Keene Park
R.D. Keene Park in Windermere has beautiful lake views and plenty of open areas for exploring. The playground is covered most of the year so an errant swing or slide shouldn’t get in the way of your shots.
Last but certainly not least is Tangerine Field in nearby Apopka. A 50-acre park with nothing but Class G airspace, Tangerine Field is a popular spot for RC aircraft of all kinds, not only drones. You might get to rub elbows with the Orlando RC Helicopter SOC TORCHs or the Remote Control Association of Central Florida while you’re there!
In the City of Orlando, drone pilots of the recreational and commercial varieties are welcome, with some exclusions, of course. You can’t fly in crowded areas, you need to be wary about getting too close to an airport with your drone, and drone pilots can only fly during the day.
Although there aren’t a lot of rules to remember when piloting a drone in Orlando, the ones that are enacted are very important. Take care to follow them whenever you’re operating your drone here!