Utah Drone Laws and Regulations: Everything You Need to Know

We consider federal, state, and local laws regulating drone flying in Utah, as well as when and how you should register your drone
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Last updatedLast updated: July 11, 2022
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Technology today has reached a new height, there are several new inventions and upgrades to old ones. Due to the advent of some of these new forms of technology, there has been a need to introduce laws that guide and regulate their use.

One of these technological devices is the drone. A drone is a special type of aircraft that is controlled with a remote, without the presence of a pilot directly in it. Drones, also called unmanned aircraft systems, have laws that regulate their use, an example is the Utah drone laws.

Utah is a state with some of the most beautiful views in the country, and it is not a surprise that several people want to capture these views with the use of a drone. However, before you take your drone for a ride around the state, there are some laws that you need to know, or you might find yourself in trouble with the law.

Federal Drone Laws in Utah

Different laws are regulating the use of drones at the different levels of government, from the federal to the state government, and in some cases even local laws. We want to look at the laws issued by the federal government concerning drones. It is important to note that these laws affect all the states in the U.S., and not only Utah.

These federal laws are classified based on the purpose for which the pilot intends to use the drones.

Flying a drone as a commercial pilot in the state of Utah

Flying a drone as a commercial pilot means you’re using the drone for business purposes, it is not for fun or sightseeing but for serious commercial needs such as providing logistics services, or carrying out research over a particular region as part of a job description.

For this category, the federal government requires you to fulfill all the conditions under the FAA’s Part 107 small UAS Rules Trusted Source eCFR
::
14 CFR Part 107 -- Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
www.ecfr.gov
.

Before you start flying your drone for commercial use, you need to first read and understand the FAA’s rule stated earlier, then you need to pass a compulsory test called the FAA aeronautical knowledge test. This test makes you qualified to be an FAA-certified drone pilot. After getting your license, you need to register your aircraft with the FAA.

Flying a drone as a hobby in the state of Utah

Flying a drone as a hobby means you’re using your drone purely for recreational purposes, and fun. The rules for flying a drone for recreational purposes differ from the laws regulating the use of drones for commercial purposes.

To fly your drone for fun, you will first need to pass a compulsory test called The Recreational Safety Test (TRUST). Other rules govern recreational fliers and they include;

  • You must be flying purely for recreational purposes
  • You must adhere to the safety guidelines of the FAA
  • While flying, your drone must be in your line of sight or the line of sight of somebody physically present with you
  • Your drone must not hinder the movement or flight path of any manned aircraft
  • You need authorization using LAANC or Dronezone before you can fly in controlled airspaces, and you must not go higher than 400 feet

Utah Drone Laws and Regulations: Everything You Need to KnowFlying a Drone as a Government Employee in the State of Utah

Federal drone laws not only govern private users (commercial and recreational users), it also applies to pilots that are in the employment of the government such as the police or fire department.

The FAA’s part 107 rule regulates the use of drones by government employees. The Certificate of Authorization can also be used to regulate the operation of drones by government employees.

Utah Drone Laws and Regulations: Everything You Need to KnowState Drone Laws in Utah

Asides from the general laws provided by the federal government to regulate the use of drones, there are also laws issued by the state government that apply to Utah. These laws are made by the Utah State Legislature.

There are five laws made by the Utah State Legislature that govern the use of drones in all of Utah, HB 217// 2017, SB 111// 2017, HB 296// 2015, SB 167// 2014, SB 196// 2014, 65A-3-2.5, 76-6-2-206(2)(A)// 2017. Let’s take a look at what these laws entail.

HB 217 // 2017

Utah is a state filled with livestock, the use of a drone can cause panic and disruption among this livestock. This law is created to protect livestock.

“This law prohibits a person from intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly chasing, actively disturbing, or harming livestock through the use of UAS.

There are instances when this law doesn’t apply and they include;
  • If the drone pilot owns the livestock
  • If the pilot is under the employment of the owner or flying the drone under the direction of the owner.
  • If the pilot is flying to prevent damage to the livestock and property, under emergencies.

SB 111// 2017

This law is called ‘Unmanned Aircraft- Drones”

  • The law prevents the local government from passing rules regulating UAS, it also prevents registration of UAS as an aircraft in the state.
  • The law governs the use of UAS by law enforcement; it permits the use of UAS for other reasons asides from investigations
  • It mandates that law enforcement keep a detailed record of all drone-related activities, and information gotten from the use of drones
  • It prohibits the use of drones equipped with weapons; it is a class B misdemeanor to fly drones with weapons.
  • The law classifies unpermitted entry of private airspace as a criminal trespass offense.
  • This law also gives an exemption to the privacy violation act; if the drone is being flown for commercial reasons or for the sake of education that follows the FAA regulations.
  • The law classifies the use of drones to take unpermitted pictures and videos of a person as a class B misdemeanor.

HB 296 // 2015

This law regulates the use of UAS by law enforcement. The law permits the use of unmanned aircraft systems by law enforcement for research and information gathering about a test site. The laws also permit the use of UAS for searching for missing persons in areas where privacy can be called into question.

SB 167 // 2014

This law is aimed to control the use of UAS by state government bodies. The laws surmise that any state government body or law enforcement agency will need to obtain a warrant to access or make use of data obtained from the activities of an unmanned aircraft system.

SB 196 // 2014

This law was created to protect the rights of citizens and private landowners in Utah. The law makes it compulsory for any law enforcement agency to obtain a warrant before an unmanned aircraft system can be used in places where privacy is acknowledged.

65A-3-2.5

This law works hand in hand with the Federal Aviation Administration, it applies in the event of a wildfire.

Utah is a state that tends to get dry at a particular season, and there are quite a several trees and forests in the state. It is not uncommon for there to be a breakout of wildfires in Utah Trusted Source List of wildfires - Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org , hence the need to pass a law that governs the use of drones during that period.

This law prevents people from flying drones in airspaces that have been listed for temporary flight restrictions by the Federal Aviation Administration. This restriction is usually issued in places where there is an ongoing wildland fire or a potential site for a wildland fire. The federal, state or local government is responsible for integrating these locations in their system, which alerts the public.

A pilot is only allowed to operate an unmanned aircraft system in these areas strictly with the consent of the incident commander, and all restrictions must be followed.

76-6-2-206(2)(A) // 2017

This law was created for the benefit of those that own private properties.

The law prevents pilots from flying drones over private properties or any part of a private property that is not accessible to the public. The law only permits the activity of an unmanned aircraft system over private property if the pilot has been authorized by the owner of the land.

Local Drone Laws in Utah

Local drone laws refer to laws regulating the use of drones within certain cities or parts of Utah. There have been none so far.

FAA Regulation

Utah Drone Laws and Regulations: Everything You Need to KnowThe Federal Aviation Administration is a body responsible for the regulation of all and any aircraft throughout the country. The FAA is tasked with passing laws that ensure the appropriate use of aircraft, and also the regulation of pilots. Any law passed that contradicts that of the FAA is subject to review and has to be adjusted.

For unmanned aircraft systems, different regulations have been passed, and some of these laws vary with the use of the aircraft. You can access the comprehensive FAA regulations here.

Drone Registration in Utah

To register your drone, you can do it at the FAA DroneZone Trusted Source FAADroneZone faadronezone.faa.gov . You can register your drone under part 107 or the Exception for Recreational Flyers.

Before you register your drone, there are a few things you should know;
  • You don’t need to register your drone if it weighs 0.55 pounds and below, or if it is used following the Exception for Recreational Flyers.
  • If you register your drone under part 107, you can fly it for recreational purposes.
  • If you register your drone under the Exception for Recreational Flyer, you can’t use it for Part 107 operations.

Registering Your Drone

When registering, you will be required to provide some information such as

  • Your physical address and mailing address
  • Your functional email address
  • Phone number
  • Details regarding your drone ( make and model)
  • The ID serial number of your drone
  • Details of your debit or credit card

After providing this information, you will be required to pay a registration fee. This registration fee varies with the type of registration you’re doing.

If you’re registering for Part 107, you will need to pay for each drone under your operation separately. The cost of registration for each drone is $5, and it is valid for 3 years.

If you’re registering for the Exception for Recreational Flyers, you will pay a registration fee of $5 and it will last for the next three years.

Utah Drone Laws and Regulations: Everything You Need to KnowWho Can Register a Drone

The laws regulating the registration and use of drones don’t permit just anybody to use them for safety reasons. Here is an overview of who is allowed to register a drone in Utah;

  • The person must be a citizen of the United States or a legal permanent resident
  • The person must have reached an age limit of at least 13 years. However, it is possible to register a drone owned by an underage owner, it will be registered in the name of a guardian or anybody older than the age limit.
  • For Non-American operators, the certificate given by the FAA will be considered as a title of ownership instead of a certificate for the registration of a U.S. aircraft.

Once you’ve completed this process, you are now a legal and government-recognized drone owner.

Other Things You Should Know about Drones

Drones are amazing inventions that have come in handy in a lot of instances, and they have contributed a big deal to the development of this great nation. I know a lot of us to want to have drones and experience what it feels like to be the pilot holding the remote, and this is entirely possible.

You can get a perfect drone at very affordable prices, with different cool features like night vision and more. An example of a good drone is the Ruko F11 Pro Drone, reviews show that the camera is one of a kind, and it has a GPS that brings it back.

There are different designs of drones some have fixed wings, single-rotor helicopters, multi-rotor drones like the DIJ Mavic Air 2, and fixed-wing hybrid VTOL.

Final Thoughts

Drones are a big development in our aircraft system, and they have contributed a great deal to the development of many agencies and organizations. Drones have also provided us with a lot of fun.

However, don’t forget that you need to register your drones before use and also get your FAA-approved license to prevent any problem with the law. For those that reside in Utah, this article has provided both the general drone laws that apply to all the states in the country and also Utah drone laws for the state. Have a great time piloting.

References

1.
eCFR
::
14 CFR Part 107 -- Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
2.
List of wildfires - Wikipedia
3.
FAADroneZone
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