Before you head out with your drone to explore what the state of South Dakota has in store for you, you have to be aware of the drone laws in South Dakota else you risk getting into trouble with the law.
Are drones allowed in South Dakota?
It is legal to fly drones in the state of South Dakota. It has federal, state, and local laws that govern the flying of drones in the state. However, using your drone to deliver illegal goods or narcotics to a prison will be guilty of a class 6 felony, and punishable by law.
In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about South Dakota drone laws for you to enjoy a pleasurable flight with your drone and stay clear of any legal proceedings.
- Federal Drone Laws In South Dakota
- Federal Drone Laws for Recreational Flying in South Dakota
- Federal Drone Laws For Commercial Drone flying in Indiana
- Federal Drone Laws for Public Drone Flying In South Dakota
- State Drone Laws In South Dakota
- Senate Bill 22 (2017)
- Senate Bill 80 (2017)
- 22-21-1: Trespassing to eavesdrop–Installation or use of unauthorized eavesdropping device–Drones
- 50-11-9.1: Certain unmanned aircraft are exempt from registration
- 50-15-1: Drone Defined
- 50-15-2: Compliance with federal requirements–Exemption from the chapter
- 50-15-3: Authorization required to operate a drone over certain facilities–Violation as misdemeanor
- 50-15-4: Prohibited delivery of contraband or controlled substance–Felony
- 50-15-5: Eavesdropping–Violation of privacy–Misdemeanor
- 50-15-6: Trespassing–Drone–Misdemeanor
- Local Drone Laws In South Dakota
- Frequently Asked Questions on South Dakota Drone Laws
- Final Thoughts on South Dakota Drone Laws
Federal Drone Laws In South Dakota
The United States drone laws are the federal drone laws that apply to South Dakota 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 South Dakota
You can fly your drone for recreational purposes in South Dakota 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.
Below are the federal rules to follow while flying your drone for recreational purposes in South Dakota to keep you, your drone, and everyone safe in the airspace.
- Fly your drone only for recreational use or as a hobby.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t fly close or interfere with a manned aircraft.
- Fly below 400 feet in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) after obtaining permission from LAANC or FAA Drone Zone.
- 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.
- Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
- 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).
- 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 Indiana
You can fly your drone for commercial purposes in South Dakota 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.
Below are the federal rules to follow while flying your drone for recreational purposes in South Dakota to keep you, your drone, and everyone else safe in the airspace.
Step 1: Learn the Rules
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Review the entire process to get your Drone License or Remote Pilot Certificate.
- Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
- Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
- Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
- 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)*
- 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 South Dakota
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.
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.
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:
- 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 South Dakota
These are drone laws that apply to the entire state of South Dakota and were created by the South Dakota Legislature.
According to the South Dakota Department of Transportation and the South Dakota Legislature, South Dakota has two state-wide laws concerning the use of drones in the state.
Senate Bill 22 (2017)
This bill exempts drones that weigh less than 55 lbs. or 250 g from aircraft registration requirements.
Senate Bill 80 (2017)
- Demands that UAS operations adhere to all relevant FAA regulations.
- Makes using drones over the premises of military and penal establishments illegal and a class 1 misdemeanor. The user of a drone who delivers illegal goods or narcotics to a prison is guilty of a class 6 felony.
It adds to the definition of the crime of illegal surveillance the deliberate use of a drone to watch, photograph, or record someone in a private setting where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, as well as the unauthorized landing of a drone on a person’s property. Unlawful surveillance is a class 1 misdemeanor.
22-21-1: Trespassing to eavesdrop–Installation or use of unauthorized eavesdropping device–Drones
Any person who, except as authorized by law,
- Trespasses on property with intent to subject anyone to eavesdropping or other surveillance in a private place;
- Installs in any private place, without the consent of the person or persons entitled to privacy there, any device for observing, photographing, recording, amplifying, or broadcasting sounds or events in such place, or uses any such unauthorized installation;
- Intentionally uses a drone to photograph, record, or otherwise observe another person in a private place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy; or
- Lands a drone on the lands or waters of another resident provided the resident owns the land beneath the water body in its entirety without the owner’s consent, except in the case of forced landing and the owner or lessee of the drone will be liable for any damage resulting from a forced landing;
is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. Subdivisions (2) and (3) do not apply to law enforcement officers, or to those acting under the direction of a law enforcement officer while engaged in the performance of the officer’s lawful duties. These restrictions do not apply to a drone operator operating a drone for commercial or agricultural purposes pursuant to or in compliance with federal aviation administration regulations, authorizations, and exemptions; nor do they apply to an emergency management worker operating a drone within the scope of the worker’s duties.
50-11-9.1: Certain unmanned aircraft are exempt from registration
It exempts UAS that weigh less than 55 pounds from aircraft registration requirements.
50-15-1: Drone Defined
This ordinance defines what a drone is.
50-15-2: Compliance with federal requirements–Exemption from the chapter
Any operation of a drone in the state shall comply with all applicable federal aviation administration requirements. Any drone operating under the authority of the Armed Forces of the United States, including the National Guard, is exempt from this chapter.
50-15-3: Authorization required to operate a drone over certain facilities–Violation as misdemeanor
No person may operate a drone over the grounds of a prison, correctional facility, jail, juvenile detention facility, or any military facility unless expressly authorized by the administrator thereof. A violation of this section is a class 1 misdemeanor.
50-15-4: Prohibited delivery of contraband or controlled substance–Felony
Any person who uses a drone to deliver contraband or controlled substances to a state prison or other correctional facility is guilty of a Class 6 felony in addition to the penalty for the principal offense.
50-15-5: Eavesdropping–Violation of privacy–Misdemeanor
No person may, except as authorized by law, intentionally use a drone to photograph, record, or otherwise observe another person in a private place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.
This section does not apply to:
- Law enforcement officers, or to those acting under the direction of a law enforcement officer, while engaged in the performance of the officer’s lawful duties;
- A drone operator operating a drone for bona fide business or bona fide government purposes who unintentionally or incidentally photographs, records, or otherwise observes another person in a private place; or
- A designated emergency management worker operating a drone within the scope of the worker’s duties.
No person may, except as authorized by law, land a drone on the real property or the waters of a landowner who owns the real property beneath the water body without the landowner’s consent. It is an affirmative defense if the landing was a forced landing, but in the case of a forced landing, the owner or lessee of the drone remains liable for any damage resulting from a forced landing. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.
Local Drone Laws In South Dakota
These are drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of South Dakota and were created by various authorities within the state.
City of Aberdeen
The City of Aberdeen prohibits recreational drone flight over privately held land, including parks, lakes, trails, and buildings, as well as over property that is leased, owned, or administered by the city. Several particular websites are excluded from this restriction.
Frequently Asked Questions on South Dakota Drone Laws
Can you fly a drone over private property in South Dakota?
You can fly a drone above a house or private property in South Dakota 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 you fly a drone in South Dakota without a license?
Recreational drone pilots don’t need a license to fly a drone in South Dakota, 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 South Dakota.
Can you shoot down a drone in South Dakota?
Shooting down a drone in South Dakota 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 South Dakota. You are advised to report it to the authorities if you see a drone hovering above you or your property.
Final Thoughts on South Dakota Drone Laws
South Dakota 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 South Dakota if you want to see beautiful places that are legal to fly in various cities.