Examining Drone Rules & Laws In California

Examining Drone Laws In California

If you own a drone and live in California, pay attention! You must stay up on the latest rules and regulations that are set by your state and local government. The rules are similar to what you’d find anywhere, but it is important to know how they vary. The drone laws in California will tell you about how high your drone can be flown and other useful information to keep your flights safe, legal and fun.Drone rules in California are not so hard once you take a look at them. Check out our informative article below.

What is Registration Like?

Examining Drone Laws In California
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California drone regulations discussions should start with a mention of registration. The FAA, or Federal Aviation Administration, requires that owners of drones follow very strict rules. You will need to fill out vital info like your name, address, and email with the FAA.

Once that is complete, you will receive a proof of ownership card for your drone. Keep this safe-this is an actual  certificate of registration for aircraft. It has a special ID number for your drone, which you must have on display at all times. It is valid for a total of three years.

The law states to register the drone, you must be at least 13 years of age, and file before you take your drone out for its first flight. Failing to do this could result in a fine of up to $250,000.

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Why Should I Care?

It’s easy to simply take off with your drone and let it fly. But flying over private property is considered trespassing for drones California.  Your fine could be up  to $2500. If you face a second offense, you’re looking at jail time and a large fine combined. Using the drone to harass somebody can result in that person filing a restraining order.

We all know that California is where many celebrities work and live. If you happen to catch a star on a flight in an open, public space, good for you! However, entering the airspace of an individual to get a picture or recording of that person engaging in a private or family activity is strictly prohibited.

Many drone owners are conscientious and would not think of doing such things, but this legislation had to be introduced as a result of the press using drones to capture celebrities and other famous people.

Some other laws for Californians include the city of Yorba Linda, who ban takeoffs and landings outside of a pilot’s line of sight, and within 25 feet of another person, with the exception of the drone pilot or the designee of the drone pilot; and also on private property without the permission of the property owner.

In another city, Calabasas, local authorities can enforce FAA regulations relating to drones by making those violations a misdemeanor. The ordinance regarding drones also puts into place limits on how closely a drone can fly near a school, or other public event.

These are just California’s laws-be sure to check your state’s laws for your own regulations.

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What About Los Angeles?

Los Angeles drone laws are more than just trespassing and the crime of harassment. No Fly Zones are a huge part of knowing how to fly your drone lawfully. For example, in Los Angeles, you cannot fly your drone within a five mile radius of an airport-any airport for that matter.

The drone must not interfere with ANY manned aircrafts, so anything that’s flown by a person must be avoided. It is also important to know that your drone is not permitted to fly at night time. You must never go over 400 feet, and you must always keep your drone in your sight.

The areas of Venice Beach and Torrance Beach are popular and fun places where drone Los Angeles enthusiasts are allowed to work their  magic and fly their crafts. Avoid other people so as to not disturb them. Get there early to avoid crowds. You can even fly your drone in the desert areas that surround Los Angeles. Less people means more freedom for you to fly and experiment with your craft.

Tell Me About San Fran

San Francisco drone laws is full of areas that simply do not permit the flying of drones. Adding to the regulations and the confusion, San Francisco is a place of differing heights. What does that mean? It means being 400 feet off the ground is less if you are standing on top of a rather tall hill.

Another critical thing to remember is that the National Park Service has banned using drones in each and every Golden Gate National Park in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Citing protection of visitors and public safety, drone users could face a citation costing $125 plus fees.

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Don’t let that stop you from exploring and having fun with your drone. Some of the best areas to hang out and fly are Indian Basin, a place where the views are gorgeous and the memories are fond. You can also check out Treasure Island, as this is a safe place to go to see the city’s downtown area. It is a good idea to get there early so as to avoid crowds and launch your drone safely.


Do not worry about whether or not you can fly in a certain area. Rather, look it up and find out for yourself to alleviate any concerns. You can have a look at Know Before You Fly  to help you find safe places near you for flight and fun. Just enter the coordinates you need to know about, and you will be off before you know it.

Don’t let living in Los Angeles or San Francisco slow you down in your drone hobby. Just do your research ahead of time, plan your flight, and enjoy all the great footage and pictures you take. Doing a little research ahead of time, talking to other drone pilots, and using good common sense will make for a great time.