You might start to think about the amazing places you can fly your drone when you first get it. LA might seem like one of these locations since there are many great attractions and sights in the area that you can take photos and videos of. You must be aware of the legalities involved in flying a drone to avoid getting into trouble with the law.
In this blog, we give you a brief overview of the rules and regulations and Where To Fly Drone In Los Angeles that can help you fly your drone without getting into trouble.
Los Angeles Drone Laws-Recreational vs Commercial.
First, understand that drone flying in Los Angeles or any other city is a recreational activity.
The FAA’s Recreational Flyer Rules apply to recreational drone pilots. These rules are available here. The FAA requires that you register your drone and complete the Recreational UAS Safety Test.
Part 107 regulations apply to commercial drone pilots. They require that you pass a multi-choice test in order to become an FAA-certified drone pilot. You can find more information about drone certification here.
When flying within five miles from an airport, drone operators no longer need to contact air traffic control. Both commercial and recreational flyers can now use the automated LAANC system for an airspace authorization. This allows them to fly in controlled airspace above and around many airports. You will need airspace authorization if you are operating in Class C, D or E controlled airspace. This can be done through FAADroneZone or LAANC in those areas that LAANC is not possible.
Here is a guide on commercial UAV use https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=29229 Remember to refer to it to avoid trouble when flying the drone
Where To Fly Drone In Los Angeles
Here are our top picks to fly drones in Los Angeles. These locations were chosen based on accessibility, airspace restrictions, and other attractions. Most of the places we chose are in Class G, uncontrolled airspace where permission is not required. We also highlighted any designated sUAS/remote airfields.
1. Macarthur Park
- 2230 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057
- Airspace Class: Class G — uncontrolled
- Airspace Map: https://app.airmap.com/geo?34.056656,-118.283738,16.305897z
MacArthur Park is close to downtown Los Angeles. It sits in Class-G airspace. The original name of the park was Westlake Park. It was later renamed in honor of General Douglas MacArthur, who lived there from 1940 to 1945. The park features a natural spring-fed lake and soccer fields. There is also an amphitheater, playground, amphitheater, and many other recreational activities. It is ideal for drone photos/videos because of its lake and view of the Los Angeles Skyline. Fly safely and avoid flying over park residents.
2. Silver Lak Meadows
- 2300 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
- Airspace Class: Class G — uncontrolled
- Airspace Map: https://app.airmap.com/geo?34.096559,-118.264529,14.369608z
Silver Lake Meadows is a sprawling green space located in Los Angeles, California., a vast green space in Los Angeles, California is home to a number of recreational facilities. Silver Lake Meadows is located adjacent to Ivanhoe and Silver Lake Reservoirs. The space is open to pilots of drones, with walking paths and a view of distant mountains.
3 . Lake Hollywood
- 3160 Canyon Lake Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
- Class C — Controlled Airspace Class
- Airspace Map: https://app.airmap.com/geo?34.123311,-118.330168,16.448975z
Lake Hollywood is a manmade reservoir that is located in the Lake Hollywood State Park. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power built the Reservoir in 1924. Mulholland Dam has created it and it has a water volume of 2.5 billion US Gallons. A paved road runs around the reservoir and is suitable for walking, biking, running, and other recreational activities. From the park, you can see the Los Angeles skyline from one side and the Hollywood sign from the other.
4. Hermosa Bay Pier
- 1 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
- Class G — Uncontrolled Airspace Class
- Airspace Map: https://app.airmap.com/geo?33.862032,-118.403950,16.862905z
Hermosa Beach Pier was built in 1904 as a wooden structure. After it was washed away, the pier was rebuilt by its current owners in 1914. The concrete-only pier is 1000 feet long. Because it is in Class G airspace, this location is ideal for a flying drone. Amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, Hermosa, and the coast make for great drone shots. Another thing to remember about this location: Hermosa Beach’s drone ordinance requires that drone operators obtain an operating permit as well as an identification number from the City.
5. Wilders Advision Park
- 607 W Paseo Del Mar San Pedro, CA 90731
- Airspace Class: Class G — uncontrolled
- Airspace Map: https://app.airmap.com/geo?33.742729,-118.373023,17.435917z?33.742729,-118.373023,17.435917z
Wilders Addition Park can be found near the Pont Fermin Lighthouse in San Pedro, California. These striking bluffs rise above the Pacific Ocean creating a stunning scene that is reminiscent of something out of a movie. Both locals and tourists will agree that sunsets here are among the most beautiful. This location offers breathtaking ocean views, historical lighthouses, and beautiful scenery. Every drone pilot will enjoy this place.
6. Terranea Bluff Top Park
Terranea Bluff Top Park, located in Rancho Palos Verdes (California), is also Class-G airspace. It is an excellent location with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. There’s also a lighthouse, beautiful landscaping, and a lot of other amenities. These are just a few of the many features that make Los Angeles a top choice for pilots of drones.
7. Venice Beach and Torrance Beach
Venice and Torrance beaches are two of the most popular areas where you can fly your drone. You should avoid other people if you decide to fly your drone there. You might want to avoid people later in the afternoon if your drone is really important to you.
Other Places Fly drones in Los Angeles.
- Sepulveda Dam: Your drone can be legally flown along the intersection of 101 and 405 freeways close to the Sepulveda Basin. There will be a lot of entertainment.
- Hollywood Hills: Fly the drone at Hollywood Hill to capture aerial views of the hills and live streaming footage of the area.
- Santa Monica Pier: Your drone can be flown on the beaches. You can fly your drone legally anywhere along the coast highway.
- Lancaster: Lancaster is another place that has approved unmanned aerial surveillance. It is restricted to places that have a few people, however. Only you need to apply for permission or a license from the federal government.
- Simi Valley: Simi Valley can be used as a base for your drone flight, provided you follow the FAA rules. Commercial drone flights are also allowed by the FAA to survey roads, pipelines, and other equipment. The area is not suitable for commercial drones.
- MacArthur Park’s lake: This is a great place to fly your drone and take nice photos of the background, provided you stay clear of populated areas.
- Apollo XI Field Airport:: San Fernando Apollo XI is a small remote-controlled aircraft field. There is a separate area for helipads and an open field on the south side that can be used to fly drones up to 400m. This is where professional drone operators practice flying their drones. You should not fly your drone towards an airfield.
- Rose Bowl Stadium Lot H: You can safely fly your drone in Lot H at the Rose Bowl. The stadium is not permitted to allow drones to be flown within it, but the Rose Bowl area is a great spot to fly them. This is the best place to start learning how to fly a drone.
- You can’t fly your drone while there are events at the Rose Bowl or large crowds.
- Venice Beach: This area is ideal for practicing with your drone and taking nice photos of the surrounding area. It is best to arrive early to avoid people rushing to the beach.
- Torrance Beach: You can also fly your drone here. These public areas are not safe for drone use.
Flying at the Hollywood Sign
Although you might think it would be great to fly your drone around Hollywood Sign and take some photos or videos, this is prohibited. Urban myth says that the sign is on private property, and the owner owns an anti-drone gun that will jam your drone. It’s actually because the sign is governed under Los Angeles Rec & Parks Ordinance No. 176,929. 176,929.
This sign is large enough to be visible from many areas around it. You can fly from Griffith Observatory, provided you are aware of the bird sanctuary. It can also be seen from Hollywood Boulevard and parts of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Laws Governing Drone Flying In Los Angeles
Before you fly your drone in Los Angeles, you need to be familiar with the regulations and laws in place. These laws define two types of drone pilots: commercial and recreational.
Recreational drone pilots
Anyone who is a recreational drone pilot is someone who simply wants to fly their drone for entertainment. You are not being paid to fly your drone. The FAA (Federal Aviation Association) has established rules for recreational pilots of drones. These are:
Once you have your drone, register it. This will allow you to legally fly your drone. This proof of registration should be kept with you at all times when you fly your drone. You must also ensure that your registration is correct. You can’t use your drone for commercial purposes if you have registered it for recreational purposes.
- Fly at least 400 feet.
- Ensure that your drone is within your line of sight while you fly. You could lose your drone or collide with another aircraft if you lose sight.
- Only a drone equipped with lights is allowed to fly at nighttime legally.
- If you are flying in controlled airspace, you must have permission from the relevant authorities.
- You should never fly your drone if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The FAA rules
- Fly at speeds below 100 mph
- Fly to a ceiling of 500 feet at altitude
- Fly drones with payloads below 55 pounds
- Fly when the sun is shining.
California Drone Laws
California State Drone Laws
You must follow federal regulations when flying your drone in Los Angeles. California state laws also apply. You should be aware of several pieces. These laws were passed by the California State Legislature to address the irresponsibility of drone pilots in the past.
Chapter 817 (AB1680) – Emergency service interference
This law was created in 2016 to make sure that drones don’t interfere with first responders work. It states that you cannot fly your drone on the spot of an emergency. You are committing a crime against safety and public health.
Chapter 834 (SB807) – Limiting liability for emergency responders who decide to take matters into their own hands
Another law was filed in 2016. This law limits the liability of first responders if they damage or disable a drone interfering with their work.
SB 1355 – Prohibiting flights over correctional facilities
This law prohibits you from flying your drone above a California correctional facility. You could face fines up to $500 if you do this.
Chapter 521 (AB 856) – Protecting privacy starting from above
California amended its invasion-of-privacy laws in 2015. They did this to take private property into account. This law states that drones cannot fly to private property without permission, particularly if they are taking photos or videos.
Chapter 404 (AB527) – Limits to pest control enthusiasm
Although you may not have intended to take out a hornet’s nest with your drone this law was created for those who were brave enough. This obscure law states that drones cannot be used for pest control unless the pilot has a valid certificate.
If you wanna research other laws, you can checklist here:
- Philippines Drone Laws 2021: Top Full Guide.
- Oregon Drone Laws 2021: Top Full Guide For You.
- Pennsylvania Drone Laws 2021: Top Full Guide
- Hawaii Drone Laws 2021: Top Full Guide For You
Here is Where to Fly Your Drone in San Francisco: Where Can I Fly My Drone In San Francisco 2021: Top Full Guide.
Local Drone Laws for California
These drone laws only apply to specific areas, cities, and counties in California. They were created by different authorities.
Town Los Alamitos — Municipal Ordinance // 2018
The ordinance forbids drone flights within the city.
City Of Yorba Linda — Municipal Ordinance // 2017
This ordinance prohibits drone landings and takeoffs beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight, within 25 feet of another person, other than the drone pilot or the drone pilot’s designee, without the consenting property owner.
Without a temporary permit issued by the city, it is prohibited to takeoff or land within 500 feet of special events or emergency response areas. It also prohibits violations of FAA temporary flight restrictions and notices to airmen.
Calabasas Town – Municipal Ordinance // 2017
Local authorities have the authority and power to enforce FAA drone regulations under the city ordinance. FAA regulations violations are a misdemeanor. A city ordinance limits the distance that a drone can fly away from schools or public places.
City of Hermosa Beach — Ordinance 16-1363 // 2016
Drone operators must have an operating permit from Hermosa Beach and an identification number. This ordinance strengthens privacy laws, stating that drone operators can’t use a drone for recording, transmitting or transmitting visual images or audio recordings of private property and persons within the City. It is forbidden to fly a drone within 350 feet of airspace used by public schools.
Sacramento County, County Code 9.36.068 // 2018.
Except where permitted, drones are prohibited in Sacramento County parks. This map shows which parks in Sacramento County this code apply.
San Francisco – Park Code Sec. 3.09 // 1981
This code prohibits drones from being used in city parks without permission from the Recreation and Park Department.
Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority Regulations Sec. 11.01.01 // 2018.
Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority prohibits drones from flying over its properties. Pilots of drone who wish to fly a drone require a permit. This policy does NOT apply to law enforcement, search, and rescue, or fire protection operations.
MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District lands – Regulations Sec. 409.4 // 2014.
This policy prohibits drones from being used above MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District properties. Drones are only allowed in designated areas or with a written permit. Commercial drone pilots cannot obtain permits at this moment.
Orange County Parks
This county ordinance prohibits drones from operating in certain Orange County Parks. You can view the entire list of parks to determine if drone operations are permitted in any particular location.
La Mesa – Municipal Ordinance // 2005
This ordinance prohibits the operation of drones in city parks without remote controllers or with them.
Malibu – Filming Permit
To fly a drone commercially, you must obtain a filming permit from the city. Malibu’s airspace is mostly in National Park airspace. This area is a No-Fly Zone. The city does allow commercial drone operations for photography of real estate. Information about the permit and application can be found here.
Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority – Park Ordinance //2018
This park ordinance prohibits the use of drones in parks owned by or operated under the authority without a permit from either the Executive Officer or his designee.
National Parks-Municipal Ordinance // 1984
The city ordinance prohibits the use of drones within city parks unless they are in designated areas.
Drone use within any Golden Gate National Parks in the San Francisco Bay Area is also prohibited by the National Park Service. Learn more.
City Rancho Palos Verde Municipal Ordinance // 1991
This ordinance prohibits the operation of drones on city property unless they are in an area designated for such purposes.
There are many great spots in Los Angeles where you can fly drones. The Hollywood sign is unfortunately not one of these places. There are many places where you can fly your drone that will permit you to see the sign. If you adhere to the restrictions and laws in your area, this is the best way to fly your drone.
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