While the state generally follows the same rules and regulations from the FAA, California has its own standards that you can only do and not do so in the state. Arguably, drone laws in California are less strict compared to other states, making it a great hotspot for flying your drone, as long as you follow standard procedure.
Disclaimer: Please do not refer to this article as legal advice. We are not responsible if you ever break the US laws on drones as these gradually change from time to time.
There really isn’t much of a difference when you are comparing Californian drone laws from the FAA’s rules as a whole. As mandatory, you will need to follow standard procedures like registering your drone if it weighs from 25 g to 250 kg, not flying near airports, not flying above 100 m altitude and not flying near groups of people. However, there are specific codes per city that you should be aware of. I’ll list them down below.
You should follow the prerequisites from the FAA’s Part 107 Small UAV Rule, generally saying that you must be 16 years old and above in order to be eligible for piloting a drone. You will also need to register your drone with the FTN (FAA Tracking Number). Registration will also need an appointment and you must undergo a test.
Flying for fun or pleasure has lesser rules to follow than being a commercial drone pilot. Make sure to abide by the FAA recreational drone rules so you don’t get in trouble. As such, you are obliged to register your drone if it weighs more than 250 g plus $9 as annual license fee. When flying a drone, always be certain that the aircraft is always within your line of sight and not flying more than 100 m in altitude, near groups of people, public events, other people’s properties, police business, firemen business, government buildings and the airport.
This involves the police and fire departments. You may either follow standard procedures of the FAA Part 107 rule or register for a federal Certificate of Authorization.
State drone laws are the general rules for each city in California. There are three major rules to remember: SB 807, AB 1680, and AB 856.
Provides immunity for the responders that have destroyed a drone that was interfering with the responder’s emergency services (Ie: drone is flying over firemen evacuating people from a burning building but one of the firemen destroyed the interfering drone).
Considers an offense towards the drone user if the UAV is interfering with responders’ activities.
Prohibits passing through airspace of an individual in order for the pilot to capture an image or record a video of said individual on private or personal matters. This involves celebrities and high-profile personalities. Every drone pilot is subject to the FAA’s 107 rules. Failure to comply will make you legible for apprehension.
As long as you are following these rules, you won’t ever be in trouble in sunny California. According to the FAA, here are the strict rules:
Recreational flyers should know that if they intentionally violate any of these safety requirements, and/or operate in a careless and reckless manner, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.
Yes they are. California is one of the 24 states that abide by FAA's drone laws.
According to many drone users, yes, USA does have the most strict drone laws compared to other countries due to many restrictions according to the FAA.
When that happens, the FAA will automatically detect your drone on their radar. The FAA will urgently send the authorities to question your actions.
Yes, they must. However, the parent or legal guardian will sign on behalf of the child.
Yes, there are playgrounds across California where you can freely use your drone for fun or photography, especially in LA and San Francisco.