Federal Drone Laws

National Legislation

Many national drone laws are pending in the House and Senate.

House:

  • H.R. 637 — Preserving American Privacy Act of 2013: Overview
  • H.R. 972 — Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2013: Overview
  • H.R. 1083 — No Armed Drones Act of 2013: Overview
  • H.R. 1242 — To prohibit the use of drones to kill citizens of the U.S. within the U.S.: Overview (See S. 505)
  • H.R. 1262 — Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act of 2013: Overview
  • H.R. 5961 — Farmer’s Privacy Act of 2012: Overview

Senate:

  • S. 505 — To prohibit the use of drones to kill citizens of the U.S. within the U.S.: Overview (See H.R. 1242)
  • S. 1016 — Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2013: Overview
  • S. 1057 — Safeguarding Privacy and Fostering Aerospace Innovation Act of 2013: Overview

FAA Regulations

In February 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. The Act instructs the FAA to draw up a “comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system” by 2015.

To date, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued limited drone regulations and policy:

  • Government entities are allowed to fly on a case-by-case basis after applying for and receiving a Certificate of Authorization (COA) directly from the FAA;
  • Commercial drone use is prohibited nationwide; and,
  • Hobbyists can fly below 400 feet and outside of a 2-mile radius from any airport (see Model Aircraft Operating Standards).

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