Pennsylvania Drone Laws 2023: Top Full Guide

Pennsylvania Drone Laws 2023: Top Full Guide
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The Pennsylvania Drone Laws are in place to protect the privacy of citizens. In this blog post, Lucidcam will explain what you need to know about this topic, including how drones can be used for personal and commercial purposes. There are also drone rules on where drones cannot fly over or beyond certain distances from airports, power plants, prisons, hospitals, and other sensitive areas. 

Pennsylvania Drone Laws

Drone laws in Pennsylvania

Federal Drone Laws

These drone laws, which apply to all states in the U.S., including Pennsylvania, were created by the federal government.

You must follow the FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS Rule (Part 107) to fly a drone in Pennsylvania as a commercial pilot (i.e., for work/business). This includes passing the FAA Aeronautical Knowledge Test to receive a Remote Pilot Certificate.

You must follow the FAA’s recreational model aircraft rules to fly a drone in Pennsylvania as a hobbyist (i.e., for pleasure or fun). You will need to pay $5 to register your drone if it weighs in at more than 0.55 lbs (250g). There are also additional rules regarding airspace, altitude, keeping your drone in line of sight while you fly, and other matters.

You can fly a drone in Pennsylvania as a government employee (i.e., for a police or fire department) by operating under the Part 107 Federal Aviation Administration regulations or by obtaining a federal Certificate of Authorization.

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Pennsylvania State Drone Laws

Pennsylvania State Drone Laws

These drone laws applied to Pennsylvania and were created by Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Title 18 Sec. Title 18 Sec.

It is illegal to use a drone to inadvertently or knowingly monitor another person in private places, transmit, deliver or furnish contraband, or provide, transfer, transmit, or otherwise act in an unprofessional manner.

Title 53 Sec. Title 53 Sec.

Preempts Title 18 Sec. The provisions of Title 18 Sec. 3505 shall prevail over any ordinance, resolution, or municipality rule that regulates the ownership operation of unmanned aircraft. A municipality may not restrict the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft unless it is authorized by statute.

State Parks Restrictions

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, drones cannot be flown within “designated flying spots” in the following state parks: Beltzville State Park; Benjamin Rush State Park; Hillman State Park; Lackawanna State Park; Prompton State Park, and Tuscarora State Park. All other state parks prohibit drone use.

Part 107 drone regulations apply to all drone pilots operating commercially in Pennsylvania. This guide provides information about how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifies drone pilots to obtain a commercial license.

Local Drone Laws in Pennsylvania

Local Drone Laws in Pennsylvania

These drone laws are only applicable to specific regions, cities, or counties in the state of Pennsylvania. Different authorities created them within the state.

Title 53 Sec. 305 states that no Pennsylvania county, borough, incorporated municipality, or municipality can regulate the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft. Pennsylvania State Code preempts all municipal rules Title 18 Sec. 3505 and the FAA’s regulations to fly a drone.

SS 3505. Unlawful use of unmanned aircraft

a. Definition of offense.–A person is guilty of the offense of using an unmanned aircraft intentionally or knowingly to:

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1. Surveillance of another person in private places

2. Operate in a manner that places another person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.

3. Contraband may not be delivered, provided, transmitted, or furnished in violation of section 5123 (relating contraband) or the 61 Pa.C.S. SS 5902 (relating contraband prohibited).

b. Grading.–The offense involving the unlawful use of unmanned aircraft shall be graded in the following manner:

1. A summary offense is one that can result in a $300 fine.

2. A violation of subsection (a)(3) constitutes a second-degree felony.

c. Exceptions for law enforcement officers.–Subsection (a) shall not apply if the conduct proscribed under subsection (a) is committed by any of the following:

1. Law enforcement officers engaged in the performance of their official law enforcement duties.

2. Employees of the Department of Corrections, local prison or jail, engaged in the performance of their official duties.

d. Other exceptions.–Subsection (a)(1) and (2) shall not apply if the conduct proscribed under subsection (a)(1) or (2) is committed by any of the following:

1. Firefighters are defined in section 2 (P.L.980. No.129) as the Police Officer Firefighter, Corrections Employee, National Guard Member Child Beneficiary Educational Act or special fire police, as per 35 Pa.C.S. Ch. Ch. 74 Subch. D (relating to special firefighters), who are engaged in performing their official firefighting and fire police duties.

2. 35 Pa.C.S. defines emergency medical responders. SS 8103 (relating definitions): Those who are engaged in the performance of their official duties.

3. While performing the official duties of the employee or agent, an employee, agent, or representative of electric, natural gas, or water utility.

4. While performing official duties for the agency, an employee or agent.

e. Aerial data collection.–Subsection (a)(1) shall not apply if the conduct proscribed is committed by a person engaged in aerial data collection if:

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1. The person who used the unmanned airplane in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

2. The person didn’t knowingly or intentionally conduct surveillance on another person in private places.

f. Definitions. – The following words and phrases will have the same meanings as in this subsection unless the context clearly states otherwise.

Bodily injury.” According to section 2301 (relating definitions).

Law enforcement officer“: An officer of the United States or a subdivision thereof or of the Commonwealth or political subdivision thereof, who is authorized by law, to investigate or make arrests for offenses enumerated herein or equivalent crimes in another jurisdiction.

Private space.”: A place where one can reasonably expect privacy.

Surveillance.” Unmanned aircraft used or caused to be used to observe, record, or invade the privacy of another.

Unmanned aircraft” is An aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

Drone laws in pennsylvania

Ordinances Issued In Some Pennsylvanian Municipalities:


Operating drones for work/recreational purposes must be familiar with and adhere to the FAA’s guidelines. They must also pass the knowledge test and check whether there are any temporary restrictions.

The “No Drone Zone” event is where recreational operators cannot fly their drones. Commercial drones can be flown if they have an FAA waiver. They must also notify the City via the Philadelphia UAS Notification form.

The state park that has fly zones is Benjamin Rush, State Park. Before operating your UAS, contact the park administration.


Pittsburgh parks are off-limits to recreational drone users. Pennsylvania law [Title 8, Section. According to Pennsylvania state law, drones may only be used in designated parks and fly zones [Title 8, Sec.

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Ordinances Issued In Pennsylvanian Towns:

Township Of Moon, PA

§ 6-404 [Ord. 666, 10/04/2017]

Drones/UAS are not allowed to be operated for recreational purposes within the boundaries of Townships indicated on PIT UAS maps as “safety-critical land.” Drone operators must obtain approval from the Airport Authority for any other matters. Violations are subject to SS6-405 [Ord. 666, 10/04/2017]

Willistown (PA(Chester Country)

Drone laws

Section 2 [Ord. No. 8, June/2016]

Drones/UAS cannot be flown less than 200ft above property that is not the operator. Operators who are not the owners of the property must obtain written permission. The written authorization must include the operator’s name, address, and hours of operation (sunset or sunrise excluded).

Privacy Concerns

Privacy Concerns

Privacy concerns are a significant issue when it comes to drone use in Pennsylvania. The state has laws and regulations in place to protect individuals’ privacy rights and prevent the unauthorized collection of personal data.

Pennsylvania has enacted privacy laws and regulations that govern the use of drones. Under these laws, drones may not be used to collect personal information without the individual’s consent. Personal information includes information such as name, address, social security number, and other identifying information.

The state also limits the use of drones for surveillance purposes. In Pennsylvania, drones may not be used to conduct surveillance on an individual or property without a warrant. Exceptions are made for emergency situations such as natural disasters or missing persons.

Violating Pennsylvania’s privacy laws can result in serious consequences. Individuals who use drones to collect personal information or conduct unauthorized surveillance can be held liable for invasion of privacy. The state may also impose civil penalties, fines, and criminal charges.

It is essential to be aware of these privacy concerns when operating a drone in Pennsylvania. Drone operators should take precautions to protect individuals’ privacy rights and avoid violating the state’s laws and regulations.

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They should also obtain necessary permits and licenses and comply with any applicable FAA regulations. By following these guidelines, drone operators can ensure that they operate their drones safely, legally, and respectfully.

Enforcement and Penalties in Pennsylvania Drone Laws

Enforcement and Penalties in Pennsylvania Drone Laws

Enforcement of Pennsylvania drone laws is carried out by the Pennsylvania State Police and local law enforcement agencies. These agencies can investigate any complaints about drone use and take appropriate action against violators.

Penalties for violating drone laws in Pennsylvania can be severe. If you fly your drone in a reckless manner, you can face both civil and criminal penalties. Some of the most common penalties for violating drone laws in Pennsylvania include:

  • A fine of up to $300 for flying a drone in a way that endangers the safety of others or interferes with manned aircraft.
  • A fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment of up to two years for using a drone to commit a crime.
  • A fine of up to $10,000 for flying a drone over a correctional facility or another critical infrastructure facility.
  • A fine of up to $1,000 for operating a drone that is not registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • A fine of up to $1,000 for operating a drone that does not have a valid FAA registration number displayed on it.

Criminal and civil penalties for endangering public safety through drone use can include fines, imprisonment, and loss of drone privileges. If you violate Pennsylvania’s drone laws, you could also face liability for any damage or injury caused by your drone.

In summary, it is essential to understand and follow Pennsylvania drone laws to avoid any legal penalties and ensure that drone flights do not endanger public safety. It is also important to note that drone laws can change, so it is vital to keep up to date with any new regulations or requirements.

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Are drones legal in PA?

Please note that Pennsylvania UAS Law makes it a crime to operate a drone: to conduct surveillance of another person in a private place; in a fashion that places another person in fear of bodily injury; and. to deliver, provide, transmit, or furnish contraband.

Can you shoot down a drone in Pennsylvania?

No, you cannot shoot a drone out of the sky. Drones are considered aircraft by the National Transportation Safety Board and are protected. … You cannot shoot down an aircraft, period. It is against federal law,” Moss said.

Read more:

Can I fly a drone in a Pennsylvania state park?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, drones can only be flown at “designated flying sites” within the following state parks: Beltzville State Park, Benjamin Rush State Park, Hillman State Park, Lackawanna State Park, Prompton State Park, and Tuscarora State Park.

Can you fly a drone on state game lands in PA?

The game board approves the drone ban. The board in April preliminarily approved a ban on flying drones over state game lands. … The measure was amended after a legal review by the state attorney general’s office since only the federal government has the authority to regulate airspace.

Read more:


Drone laws in Pennsylvania are relatively new, but they’ve already caused some issues. The law is unclear in many cases, and that means it will be up to the courts to decide how these laws should be enforced. If you want more information on what drones can do legally in your state, check out this article with all of the details! We hope you find it helpful!

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