It helps to be familiar with Maryland drone laws before launching and flying a drone in any part of the State. All drone pilots flying for commercial or recreational purposes must adhere to the federal, State, and local drone laws. For instance, you cannot fly drones in some parks in Maryland, and every pilot must follow Part 107 laws.
This article has everything you need to know about drone laws in Maryland. You will know the no-drone zones in the State and the consequences of breaking drone laws in the State. Keep reading to learn what is expected of you as a recreational or commercial drone pilot in Maryland.
Like other American states, Maryland’s drone laws are enacted by the US government. The laws apply to all agency, commercial, and recreational drone pilots in the country.
The general rules for commercial drone pilots in Maryland include:
You can enroll in an online drone school and prepare for the Part 107 exam. If you pass with a score of 70% and above, you get your remote pilot certificate in the mail. The certificate is valid for two years, so you will have to retake the exam every two years.
You have to be 16 years and above, able to read, speak, write, and understand English, and be physically and mentally fit to fly a UAS to be eligible for the remote pilot certificate or drone license for commercial pilots.
Recreational drone pilots must also follow Maryland federal drone laws including:
On top of the Federal drone laws, Maryland has its supplementary laws that govern drone use in the State.
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This law is known as the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Development, Regulation, and Privacy Act of 2015.
It also states that all drone pilots in the State must adhere to Part 107 flying rules.
Maryland has several local drone laws that apply to Maryland state parks and Calvert County Parks.
This law was created and enacted in July 2019 by the Maryland Park Service and the Department of Natural Resources.
Section 1 General B of the law states that commercial drone pilots or film production entities must get a permit or in some cases sign standard right of entry agreement, license or lease document before operating a drone in state parks. They must also pay all the applicable charges.
This law only applies to commercial photography and film production. Recreation drone flying like with DJI Mini 2 is allowed in all public areas. Also, commercial drone pilots and film production entities are only allowed to apply for a permit if their operations will not interfere with the public use of the requested facility or land. The activities should not damage the natural, cultural or historical features of the facility.
To obtain the permit, you’d have to contact the park manager of the park you are interested in flying for photography or filming. The park manager will send your application to the regional manager for approval. The regional manager will also forward your request to the designee or superintendent for approval. If your application gets approved, the regional manager will prepare all the legal documentation required at the Director of Administration’s office.
When the contract is ready, it will be presented to you to sign if you agree with its terms. One of the terms in such a contract is the comprehensive liability insurance coverage of a minimum of $1,000,000. You must provide verification of the insurance prior to commencing work or entering the affected facility or land.
As if that’s enough, you will be required to pay service charges including everyone on your filming team. The administrative service charge is $500, a one-time fee that covers project processing and preparation.
For photography, all you need is a permit. You don’t have to pay the service charge. However, the policy states that managers can consider a service charge on special circumstances like when the photography is for a commercial advertising campaign.
Calvert County has drone laws that regulate drone usage in its parks and recreation areas.
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If you break the law, you will face a civil penalty of at least $50. You also risk not being allowed entry to any Calvert county parks and recreational areas. You may also be rendered ineligible to participate in rentals, activities, or programs offered by the department.
Punishments for violating drone rules in Maryland usually vary and depend on the severity of the offense made and the jurisdiction in which it happened. The punishments range from mere warnings to heavy fines and jail time. Here are some of the common punishments for violating drone rules in Mary land:
This is the most popular penalty for violating drone laws. It is a hefty one for people who love to operate drones like DJI Mavic Air 2 as it means they would never be able to operate one.
Fines are also common. The State of Maryland will slap you with a fine for breaking drone laws. The amount depends on the offense but often ranges from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.
Violators of drone laws can get jail time. The amount of time depends on the severity of the offense and the jurisdiction in which it happened.
This is a punishment you don’t want to get if you own an expensive thousand-dollar drone. Ensure you know all the drone laws of a certain county before launching and flying your drone to be on the law’s safe side. Would you like to know the drone laws in Pennsylvania and Virginia, read our articles on Pennsylvania drone laws and Virginia drone laws.
Criminal charges are imposed by law enforcement in the area where the offense takes place. The charges may be jail time, community service, and probation. Sometimes violators are forced to pay restitution for all the damages they cause.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration Trusted SourceNo Drone Zone | Federal Aviation Administration No Drone Zone www.faa.gov (FAA), a no-drone zone is an area where drone or unmanned aircraft systems’ operations are prohibited for safety, security, and privacy reasons.
No-drone areas are clearly marked and publicized so everyone can know the restrictions. Ignoring the no-drone rule may risk serious penalties like jail time and heavy fines. The authorities may also seize the drone. No-drone zones are more popular because of increased drone use. Common no-drone zones in the world include airports, national parks, and sensitive government buildings. For example, in Ocean City, Maryland drone laws prohibit drone use at the Assateague Island National Seashore which is a protected sand barrier with wild horses and great camping.
The best way to know all the no-drone zones in an area you intend to fly in is by consulting the local laws and regulations. The FAA has a map for restricted airspace that you can refer to. It includes all the Maryland drone no-fly zones.
Alternatively, you can visit the website of the government entity that manages drone use in the area you want to fly in. For instance, if you want to fly above or within a national park, it is best to consult its management first before using your drone on the premises.
This a useful FAA-approved smartphone application with all the information one would need to know before operating a drone in a certain area. The app is available to download for free on the App store for iOS users and Google Play store for Android users. Its desktop version is also available for preflight planning and research.
The B4UFLY app provides situational awareness to drone pilots so they know where it is safe to fly. From the app, you can get temporary flight restrictions (TFRs). These areas are where drone use is restricted for security and safety reasons. Best of all, the app has a feature that allows users to set up alerts so they can get notifications if there is a TFR near their location.
Are you in the market for a budget-friendly drone and need help choosing a high-quality model? Check out our article about the best drones under $600 for top-tier options with excellent value for money.
There is no law that prohibits the flying of drones over private property in Maryland. However, the property’s owner can sue you for trespassing and nuisance if your record or capture them without their permission.
A recreational drone pilot does not need a license to fly in Maryland, However, they must have proof of passing the TRUST exam with them when flying. Commercial drone flyers must have the remote pilot certificate which is acquired after passing the Part 107 exams. All drones that weigh more than 0.55 lbs must be registered by the FAA and bear a visible registration mark.
According to an article about privacy issues and the use of drones/UAS in Maryland by the University of Maryland, Trusted SourcePrivacy Issues and the Use of sUAS/Drones in Maryland (FS-998) | University of Maryland Extension According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the lawful uses of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or more commonly as drones, are currently limited to military, research, and recreational applications. Under the FAA’s view, commercial uses of drones are illegal unless approved by the Federal government. extension.umd.edu you cannot shoot down a drone flying over your private property because the destruction of drones is not allowed. However, you can use the legal theories of trespass and nuisance to protect your privacy.
Maryland has beautiful scenery worth capturing for recreational and commercial purposes. However, as a drone pilot, photographer, or film production company, it helps to abide by all the drone laws in the State. Familiarize yourself with the federal, State, and local laws to be on the safe side. Failure to abide with the laws could land you in jail, or you may have to dig deep into your pockets for a hefty fine. Worst of all, you may lose your drone and flying license.
The best thing to do is download the app and get all the information about the no-drone zones in the areas you want to fly in. As for parks and recreational areas, be sure to get permission from the facilities’ management.