Ohio 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 Ohio has in store for you, you have to be aware of the drone laws in Ohio or else you risk getting into trouble with the law.

Are drones allowed in Ohio?

It is legal to fly drones in the state of Ohio. It has federal, state, and local laws that govern the flying of drones in the state. However, many cities and towns throughout the state prohibit drone operations in their vicinity unless they obtain a Special Use Permit from the relevant authorities.

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

Federal Drone Laws In Ohio

The United States drone laws are the federal drone laws that apply to Ohio 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 Ohio

You can fly your drone for recreational purposes in Ohio 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.

Toledo skyline and waterfront with the Maumee River, Ohio
Toledo skyline and waterfront with the Maumee River, Ohio

Below are the federal rules to follow while flying your drone for recreational purposes in Ohio 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 given 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 Ohio

You can fly your drone for commercial purposes in Ohio 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.

Cincinnati Ohio skyline with John Roebling bridge drone view
Cincinnati Ohio skyline with John Roebling bridge aerial view

Below are the federal rules to follow while flying your drone for recreational purposes in Ohio 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 Ohio

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.

Dayton downtown skyline and the Great Miami River, optimized for vivid color.  Dayton downtown lies beside the Great Miami river,, and the Dayton metropolitan area is the fourth largest in Ohio,
Dayton downtown skyline and the Great Miami River, Ohio

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 Ohio

Aerial view of Downtown Columbus Ohio with Scioto river during sunset
Aerial view of Downtown Columbus Ohio with Scioto river during sunset

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

Ohio has one state-wide law governing the use of drones in the state that was put together by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio General Assembly.

House Bill 292

House Bill 292 enacts Sec. 122.98 of the Revised Code to create the OAATC, or Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee. One of the duties is to promote, research, and further develop the aerospace, aviation, and technology industries, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Their bill created the Ohio aerospace and aviation technology committee, consisting of the following members:

  1. Three members of the senate, appointed by the president of the senate, not more than two of whom may be members of the same political party;
  2. Three members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, not more than two of whom may be members of the same political party;
  3. Fifteen members representing the aviation, aerospace, or technology industry, the military, or academia. One such member shall be appointed by the governor, and fourteen such members shall be appointed by majority vote of the six members representing the senate and House of Representatives.

The committee’s responsibilities shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Studying and developing comprehensive strategies to promote the aviation, aerospace, and technology industry throughout the state, including through the commercialization of aviation, aerospace, and technology products and ideas;
  2. Encouraging communication and resource-sharing among individuals and organizations involved in the aviation, aerospace, and technology industry, including business, the military, and academia;
  3. Promoting research and development in the aviation, aerospace, and technology industry, including research and development of unmanned aerial vehicles;
  4. Providing assistance related to military base realignment and closure.

Local Drone Laws In Ohio

Elevated view of the Roebling Suspension Bridge with Downtown Cincinnati skyline in the background and the Ohio River just below.
Roebling Suspension Bridge with Downtown Cincinnati and the Ohio River just below.

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

Anderson Township Parks Drone Law

Anderson Township parks prohibit drone operations in all parks and facilities owned and managed by the township. Exemptions are made under certain circumstances for drone pilots that have obtained written permission from the Executive Director.

Butler County Metro Park Drone Law

Butler County Metro Park prohibits all forms of drone and other remote-controlled aircraft operations in Butler County Metro Parks outside of designated areas. Exemptions are made for drone pilots that obtain a special use permit from the Executive Director under certain conditions.

Celina Drone Law

Celina prohibits drone operations in all city-owned parks and properties.

Cincinnati Park Drone Law

Cincinnati Park prohibits drone operations on or over park property except with the written permission of the park board and within such areas designated by the park board.

Cleveland Drone Law

Cleveland authorizes police officers to enforce FAA regulations on all drone operations in the city.

Cleveland Metro Parks Drone Law

Cleveland Metro Park allows the launching, landing, or operation of drones that weigh less than 4.4 lbs (2.0 kg) only in designated areas within the Park District.

Columbus and Franklin County Drone Law

Columbus and Franklin County allow recreational drone flight in all Metro Parks in Columbus and Franklin County, with the exception of state nature preserves. However, drone pilots are required to check with the park ranger on duty before taking their drone for flight.

Columbus and Franklin County allow commercial drone flights in all Metro Parks in Columbus and Franklin County after obtaining authorization from the Metro Parks.

Hamilton County Drone Law

Hamilton County prohibits both recreational and commercial drone operations in any of the great parks of Hamilton County without official written authorization from the Chief Executive Officer.

Avon Lake Drone Law

Avon Lake prohibits launching or landing a drone or any other remote-controlled aircraft in municipal parks unless granted permission by the Recreation Department.

Toledo Metro Parks // 2021

Toledo Metro Parks prohibits all forms of drones and other remote-controlled aircraft within Toledo Metro Parks. Exemptions are made for West Winds Metro Park as long as you have a permit.

Lorain County Metro Parks //2020

Lorain Metro Parks prohibit all forms of drones and other remote-controlled aircraft within the Lorain County Metro Parks.

Frequently Asked Questions On Ohio Drone Laws

Can you fly a drone over private property in Ohio?

You can fly a drone above a house or private property in Ohio as long as you don’t fly below the minimum height, hover around the property, or use your drone to capture or record the occupants without permission from the occupants or property owner.

Can I fly a drone in Ohio without a license?

Recreational drone pilots don’t need a license to fly a drone in Ohio, 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 Ohio.

Can you shoot down a drone in Ohio?

Shooting down a drone in Ohio 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 Ohio. You are advised to report it to the authorities if you see a drone hovering above you or your property.

Final Thoughts on Ohio Drone Laws

Ohio 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 Ohio if you want to see beautiful places that are legal to fly in various cities.

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