On the Mountain West subregion of the United States’ west coast lies Wyoming. Besides being known for Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, the state is appealing to drone pilots for Old Faithful, the Grand Prismatic Spring, and the Yellowstone River.
Before flying here, what are the rules?
Wyoming has federal and state drone laws but no local laws. Federally, pilots are always expected to follow FAA Part 107 guidelines whereas statewide, the Wyoming Aeronautics Commission was founded in 2017 to create drone restrictions that pilots must obey.
Before launching your drone in Wyoming, you won’t want to miss the information in this article. Make sure you keep reading!
Federal Drone Laws in Wyoming
Let’s start with Wyoming’s federal drone laws. These laws are put in place by the United States government and apply to every type of drone pilot.
Here’s an overview of the rules in full.
Agency Drone Pilots
Government pilots, also known as agency pilots, include Wyoming law enforcement, fire departments, and other governmental roles.
These pilots need either a Certificate of Authorization or COA or must follow the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 rules.
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Commercial Drone Pilots
Comprising probably the biggest group of people reading this, commercial pilots are also expected to fly by FAA Part 107 rules per Wyoming federal drone law.
You’re also required to carry a commercial license known as the Remote Pilot Certificate when you fly your drone.
The FAA issues this license to those that pass the Part 107 commercial exam, the official FAA test for commercial drone pilots.
The Part 107 exam is a 60-question, multiple-choice exam that tests the entirety of one’s Part 107 knowledge. You’ll have to know everything from flight procedures to weather restrictions and more.
You can take the Part 107 exam if you’re at least 16 years old. You must have the physical and mental capacity to fly a drone and be completely proficient in English, including writing, comprehension, and reading abilities.
Each test attempt costs money, so preparing for the Part 107 exam well in advance is highly recommended.
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When you have your Remote Pilot Certificate, it lasts for approximately two years from the date it’s issued to you.
If you’re interested in renewal at that time, you’ll have to sign up to take a different exam, a recertification exam.
This test is also issued by the FAA, but it’s far different from the Part 107 exam.
The recertification test is free, and it doesn’t have nearly as many questions. You don’t have to find a testing center to take it, as you only need a reliable Internet connection.
If you get an answer incorrect while taking the recertification exam, you’ll know right away. Better still, you can go back and correct your work.
A score of 100 percent is required to recertify your commercial license.
Finally, you’ll have to register your drone with the FAA. It costs $5 to do this, and the registration lasts for three years at a time.
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Recreational Drone Pilots
Recreational or hobbyist pilots under Wyoming federal drone law must also fly according to FAA Part 107 rules.
You need a license to differentiate yourself as a recreational pilot. This FAA-issued license is known as the TRUST certificate, with TRUST being short for The Recreational UAS Safety Test.
If you don’t have a certificate, then you’ll have to take the TRUST test.
You can sign up today for the TRUST exam. It’s completely free to take, and the test can be done online as well.
That makes this test a lot lower pressure than the Part 107 exam, that’s for sure!
Since it’s online, you’ll be able to see your incorrect answers at the time you take the TRUST exam. You can go back and correct any that you wish as well.
Once you submit your test, you’ll soon receive your TRUST certificate. There’s no need to recertify this exam, but you will be required to test again if you lose your TRUST license. Try not to do that!
What about registering your drone? As a hobbyist, you must register drones that weigh 0.55 pounds and up but not drones that weigh less than that.
TRUST is a collaboration between the FAA and industry to provide TRUST and educational safety material to Recreational Flyers.
State Drone Laws in Wyoming
Next, let’s move on to Wyoming’s state drone laws.
SF 170 // 2017
SF 170, which was passed in 2017, permits the Wyoming Aeronautics Commission to establish unmanned aircraft flight rules.
According to Section 10-3-201. Powers and duties generally., its responsibilities are as follows:
“(e) The commission shall assist communities in coordinating efforts, facilitating, recruiting and attracting and promoting the development, improvement and retention of commercial air service and accommodating military air service in the state. The assistance may include studying airline, aircraft and unmanned aircraft profitability, route analysis, air fare monitoring and recommendations for legislative changes to enhance air service in the state.
(j) The commission shall promulgate reasonable rules governing where unmanned aircraft may take off and land, giving consideration to public health and safety, aesthetics and the general welfare. Unless otherwise prohibited by or previously provided for in federal law, the commission may also promulgate reasonable rules governing the operation of unmanned aircraft. In promulgating any rules governing unmanned aircraft, the commission shall coordinate with the unmanned aircraft industry in Wyoming and political subdivisions of the state. The commission shall not have the power to regulate unmanned aircraft operation in navigable airspace.”
The Wyoming Aeronautics Commission, in SF 170, establish flight rules for drone pilots that are outlined in Section 10-4-303. Low or dangerous flight; landing on land or water or another.
Here’s the rule in full:
“(a) Flight of aircraft, including unmanned aircraft, over the lands and waters of this state is lawful unless it is:
(b) The landing of an aircraft, including an unmanned aircraft, on the lands or waters of another, without his consent, is unlawful, except in the case of a forced landing. For damages caused by a forced landing, however, the owner, operator or lessee of the aircraft or the airman shall be liable for actual damage caused by the forced landing.
(c) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent an operator or pilot from operating an aircraft, including an unmanned aircraft, over his own property.”
Does Wyoming Have Any Local Drone Laws?
Not every state throughout the country necessarily has local drone laws, which are laws created by a state’s cities, towns, counties, and villages.
Wyoming is one such state lacking any local laws. Per the verbiage in SF 170, it seems likely that the lack of local laws is because between SF 170 and the federal drone laws the available laws suffice.
While a lack of local laws permits pilots more flight access compared to a state with strict local laws, that lack does not diminish the importance of federal and state drone laws one iota.
Pilots are always still expected to obey those laws.
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Wyoming Drone Law FAQs
Are you still curious about a couple of things related to flying a drone in Wyoming, such as the laws around parks? Don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered in this FAQs section!
Can You Fly a Drone in a Public Park in Wyoming?
Wyoming’s public parks are an appealing destination for enjoying peaceful afternoons of drone flight, but what rules exist here?
In our research, we weren’t able to find any laws barring pilots from flying in public parks throughout Wyoming.
However, pilots would still need their appropriate license (Remote Pilot Certificate or TRUST certificate).
More so, pilots must fly according to Part 107 rules.
Can You Fly a Drone in a State Park in Wyoming?
Wyoming has only 12 state parks, but all are worth visiting.
Some include Curt Gowdy State Park, Sinks Canyon State Park, Hot Springs State Park, Keyhole State Park, and Edness K. Wilkins State Park.
You are granted permission to take off and land a drone in a Wyoming state park but must always follow Part 107 guidelines when flying.
Wyoming has encompassing federal and state drone laws that make it quite clear where drones can and cannot go.
You’re granted permission to fly in public and state parks without a permit, which plenty of other states do not allow.
Always be a courteous pilot and a good example by abiding by Part 107 rules.
That brings us to the end of this series on state drone laws. We hope you enjoyed reading and learned a lot!
Peltier has quite the experience, making him qualified to teach about photography and drones in separate courses. He was a part of the U.S. Air Force as an F-15E flight instructor for a decade.
SF 170 (link)