Missouri Drone Laws 2024 (Federal, State, and Local Rules To Know)

David Cassiel

Before you head out with your drone to explore what the state of Missouri has in store for you, you have to be aware of the drone laws in Missouri else you risk getting into trouble with the law.

Are drones allowed in Missouri?

It is legal to fly drones in the state of Missouri. It has federal, state, and local laws that govern the flying of drones in the state. However, the local laws prohibit a lot of park usage, while the federal laws require drone pilots to obtain the right licenses and always follow Part 107 drone rules.

In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about Missouri drone laws for you to enjoy a pleasurable flight with your drone and stay clear of any legal proceedings.

Federal Drone Laws In Missouri

The United States drone laws are the federal drone laws that apply to Missouri and every state in the United States of America and were created by the federal government.

If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following the Drone Laws in the USA as defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.

Federal Drone Laws for Recreational Flying in Missouri

You can fly your drone for recreational purposes in Missouri as a hobby without seeking monetary compensation as long as you follow the FAA law (Part 107) and also check the state jurisdiction for additional licensing, permission, and clearance requirements.

St. Louis downtown skyline at twilight from a drone
St. Louis downtown skyline at twilight from top view

Below are the federal rules to follow while flying your drone for recreational purposes in Missouri to keep you, your drone, and everyone safe in the airspace.

  1. Fly your drone only for recreational use or as a hobby.
  2. Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO). Recreational flyers should follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA-provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
  3. Keep your drone within your visual line of sight or use a co-located visual observer (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
  4. Don’t fly close or interfere with a manned aircraft.
  5. Fly below 400 feet in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) after obtaining permission from LAANC or FAA Drone Zone.
  6. Fly below 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace (Class G). Note: You can also be prohibited from flying in a Class G airspace in areas designated as prohibited areas, restricted areas, military operated areas, alert areas, etc. except with prior authorization from the FAA.
  7. Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
  8. Always slap your registration number on the exterior surface of your drones and always carry the proof of registration with you. As a recreational flier, you are exempted from registering and marking your drones by the FAA as long as your drone weighs less than 0.55 lbs (250 grams).
  9. Do not dangerously operate your drone. For example:
    • Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
    • Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    • Avoid flying near or over critical infrastructure.

You should be aware that you could be liable for civil and/or criminal penalties if you intentionally break any of these rules and regulations listed above as a recreational drone pilot.

As a recreational drone pilot, you are obliged to learn the rules and regulations put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the proper use of drones for recreational flying.

You should also apply common sense when operating your drone in crowded public places, historic resources, and public places to keep everyone safe.

Federal Drone Laws For Commercial Drone flying in Missouri

You can fly your drone for commercial purposes in Missouri with the aim of seeking monetary compensation as long as you follow the FAA law (Part 107) and also check the state jurisdiction for additional licensing, permission, and clearance requirements.

The Gateway to the West Arch and the downtown area of St. Louis, Missouri along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River shot from a drone at an altitude of about 700 feet over the river.
The Gateway to the West Arch and the downtown area of St. Louis, Missouri.

Below are the federal rules to follow while flying your drone for recreational purposes in Missouri to keep you, your drone, and everyone safe in the airspace.

Step 1: Learn the Rules

  1. Read and understand the dos and don’ts as a commercial flyer the under Part 107 rules. Review a summary of the Part 107 rules (PDF). Still unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended UAS operation? Check the FAA user identification tool.
  2. You can obtain a waiver to exceed some limit put in place by the FAA that is not covered by Part 107. Below are some laws in Part 107 that are subject to a waiver.
    • Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft. *
    • Always operate your drone during the day. *
    • Keep your drone from out of the Visual line of sight from an aircraft operation *
    • Keep your drone in your Visual line of sight. *
    • Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems. *
    • Yielding the right of way. *
    • Don’t fly your drone over people. *
    • Restriction from certain airspace. *
    • Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft.
    • *The FAA will not waive this section to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.
    • You should read about the Part 107 Waiver application process if your drone operation requires a waiver.
  3. Commercial drone operators should steer clear of flying close to airports as it might be challenging for human aircraft to spot and avoid a drone in flight. Keep in mind that the UAV operator is accountable for any safety threat their drone poses in an airport area and must avoid crewed aircraft. Read more about flying near airports.

Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test

  1. To be eligible to get your Drone License (Remote Pilot Certificate), you must be:
    • At least 16 years old
    • Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
    • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS
  2. Review the entire process to get your Drone License or Remote Pilot Certificate.
  3. Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
  4. Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
  5. Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
  6. Once you’ve passed your test, complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
  7. You are now eligible to operate as a commercial drone pilot.

Step 3: Register your drone with the FAA

  • Pay the registration fee of $5 with your credit card or debit card to get a valid three year license to commercially fly drones.
  • Visit dronezone.faa.gov and select “Fly UAS under Part 107” to create an account and register your drone.
  • After that, mark the exterior surface of your drone (PDF) with your registration number for identification and tracking if it were to get stolen

Always be sure to fly your drone safely and within FAA guidelines and regulations. It is up to you as a drone pilot to know the rules of the sky and where it is safe to fly. You should try the user identification tool if you aren’t sure if Part 107 is right for you and your operation

Federal Drone Laws for Public Drone Flying In Indiana

Federal public laws are drone laws for federal, state, local, or tribal government entities, including schools and universities that use unmanned aircraft systems or drone technology for their operations.

Columbia, Missouri, USA downtown city skyline at twilight.
Columbia, Missouri, USA downtown city skyline at twilight.

Federal Restrictions & Requirements

  • Be a political subdivision of the United States government, a State or U.S. territory government, the District of Columbia, or an Indian Tribal Government listed in the Robert T Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. § 5122)
  • Own and operate the unmanned aircraft, or for non-federal public aircraft operators (PAO’s) have an exclusive lease on it for more than 90 days
  • Fly missions that meet the statutory criteria of a governmental function on a flight-by-flight basis.
  • Not fly for a commercial purpose or receive compensation for flight operations.

Emergency Situations

First responders and other organizations responding to natural disasters or other emergency situations may be eligible for expedited approval through our Special Governmental Interest (SGI) process. Operations that may be considered include:

  • Firefighting
  • Search and Rescue
  • Law Enforcement
  • Utility or Other Critical Infrastructure Restoration
  • Incident Awareness and Analysis
  • Damage Assessments Supporting Disaster Recovery Related Insurance Claims
  • Media Coverage Providing Crucial Information to the Public

To apply for a waiver through the SGI process, you must be an existing Part 107 Remote Pilot with a current certificate OR you must have an existing Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA). To submit a waiver through this process, fill out the Emergency Operation Request Form  and send it to the FAA’s System Operations Support Center (SOSC) at [email protected] .

If approved, the FAA will add an amendment to your existing COA or Remote Pilot Certificate that authorizes you to fly under certain conditions for the specified operation. If denied, operators should not fly outside the provisions of their existing COA or part 107. Operators have the option to amend their requests.

* This process is called the Special Government Interest (SGI) amendment process and is outlined in FAA Order JO 7200.23A

State Drone Laws In Missouri

KCMO with lake in Missouri, USA.
KCMO with lake in Missouri, USA.

These are drone laws that apply to the entire state of Missouri and were created by the Missouri General Assembly.

Missouri has two state-wide laws governing the use of drones in the state, as put together by the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri General Assembly.

House Bill 1963 Section 577.800

This law prohibits drone operations below 400 feet in altitude and within the property of an open-air facility. The facilities include any sports, theater, performing arts, or other entertainment facility with a seating capacity of five thousand people or more and not completely enclosed by a roof or other structure.

House Bill 1963 Section 632.575

This bill prohibits drone operation below 400 feet vertical distance over a mental health hospital’s property line.

Local Drone Laws In Missouri

Missouri local drone laws are the drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of Missouri and were created by various authorities within the state.

Columbia Drone Law

The City of Columbia drone law prohibits all drone operations within city parks, except in designated areas and after obtaining a Special Use Permit from the director of parks. 

Jackson County Drone Laws

This ordinance contains the following rules for drone pilots:

  • Drone and other unmanned aerial vehicle operations are prohibited in areas that are not designated for such operations.
  • A drone operator within the designated areas in Jackson County parks must first purchase a proper operating permit issued by the County authorities.
  • A drone operator within the designated areas in Jackson County parks shall display frequency flags and channel numbers on their transmitter.
  • All drone operators must have liability insurance of at least the minimum limits offered by the AMA before they can fly their drone on or above park land.
  • Drone operations with a sound level in excess of 98 decibels from a distance of 50 or more feet is prohibited.

St. Louis Forest Park Drone Law

St. Louis Forest Park drone laws prohibit operations in St. Louis Forest Park unless interested drone operators file an application through the official channels. Interested applicants may submit applications to City Hall for a Public Service Permit that contains a copy of their pilot’s license, a description of their drone features, and insurance with $1 million coverage.

St. Charles County Parks & Recreation // 2017

The downtown city skyline and buidlings of Sprigfield Missouri under partly cloudy skies aerial perspective
The downtown city skyline and buildings of Springfield Missouri

The St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Unmanned Aircraft Systems Policy was created in 2017. The county passed the policy due to an increase in drone operations in their local parks.

Drone operations are allowed in St. Charles County parks as long as pilots obey the following guidelines:

  •  You must follow “state and federal regulations.”
  •  You cannot fly within five miles of an airport.
  •  You cannot fly commercially, only recreationally.
  •     “Use for research, natural resource monitoring, or mapping purposes must be approved in advance by the Parks Department Director or designee.”
  • You “cannot interfere with other park users’ reasonable enjoyment of the park or their expectation of privacy.”
  • You are not permitted to use your drone for surveillance.
  • You cannot disturb any natural resources, “including wildlife nesting and breeding.”
  • Your drone must always be within your visual line of sight.
  • You must safely use your equipment.
  •  You “cannot fly over or disturb park programs, events being held at the park, large gatherings of people, or moving vehicles without written permission from the Parks Department Director or designee.”
  •  You cannot fly your drone within 50 feet of any occupied (or potentially occupied) structure, park building, picnic shelter, restroom, or historic building.
  • “There will be no organized events or groups utilizing UAS without written permission from the Parks Department Director or designee.”
  • “Users cannot hold St. Charles County Government liable for any damage to or by their equipment while at St. Charles County park locations.”

Frequently Asked Questions on Missouri Drone Laws

Is it legal to fly a drone over private property in Missouri?

It is legal to fly drones above a house or private property in Missouri as long as you don’t hover around them or use your drone to capture or record them without permission from the property owner.

Can I fly a drone in Missouri without a license?

Recreational drone pilots don’t need a license to fly a drone in Missouri, but you must pass a free online safety test (TRUST). However, commercial drone flyers must get a certificate (Part 107) from the FAA. Furthermore, all drones weighing more than 249 grams must be registered to operate in Missouri.

Can you shoot down a drone in Missouri?

Shooting down a drone in Missouri is illegal and against federal law because drones are protected by the FAA. You could serve some jail time or pay a large fine if you shoot down a drone in Missouri. You are advised to report it to the authorities if you see a drone hovering above you or your property.

Final Thoughts on Missouri Drone Laws

Missouri has wonderful scenery you can explore with your drone for recreational or commercial purposes. However, you need to abide by the drone laws set by the FAA, your state government, and local authorities in that city to enjoy a hassle-free flight.

You should also check out the best places to fly a drone in Missouri if you want to see beautiful places that are legal to fly in various cities.

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