Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, and it is one of the attractions with the highest film shooting requests due to its exotic view. With the increased popularity and use of drones, many drone pilots have asked if flying a drone over Niagara Falls is permitted.
You are only allowed to fly a drone over Niagara Falls when you have a permit. One of the reasons why drones are banned from Niagara Falls is the accident that nearly happened between a drone and a helicopter. The airspace on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is restricted to drones.
There are different laws and regulations that you must follow when flying your drone. If you have a permit to fly your drone over Niagara Falls, there are some rules you must follow. There are also consequences for disobeying those rules.
Why Can’t You Fly A Drone Over Niagara Falls?
Niagara Falls is between the borders of Canada and the United States. However, drones have been banned from flying over Niagara Falls. It is illegal to fly a drone over Niagara Falls, both the Canadian and American sides of the park. Transport Canada has placed restrictions on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
To fly a drone on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, you must be granted permission from Transport Canada. The restrictions within the zone are 3500 feet from the ground above sea level and 3000 feet above ground level. The restricted area is from the northern part of Niagara Falls to Whirlpool Road.
The rules for flying a drone on the American side of Niagara Falls are more relaxed than on the Canadian side. To fly a drone here, you must maintain a visual line of sight with the drone. You must not fly your drone above 400 feet (Class G airspace). You must maintain a distance of 5 miles from any airstrip when you fly your drone.
Since Niagara Falls is in between two countries, both countries have different laws that regulate the flight of drones over and near Niagara Falls. There are some areas around Niagara Falls that you can fly your drone and even take a video recording if you want. However, doing this is only possible when you have a permit. Permits can be obtained from the appropriate authorities.
Who Needs A Permit To Fly Over Niagara Falls?
Regardless of the reason you intend to fly a drone, you must have a permit from the park authorities. You can only fly a drone in the park if the park authorities approve your permit request. You require a permit for any of the following:
- When you want to film or take a photograph.
- When you want to advertise a product or service.
- If you hope to fly in an area that is restricted to the public.
- If you fly your drone before and after normal operating hours of the park.
- If your drone operation might disrupt visitor's use or be a potential danger to the Park.
Canadian Laws For Flying A Drone Over Niagara Falls
There are some laws and regulations that you must follow if you are going to fly a drone over the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
- You have a permit that has been approved by Transport Canada and the Canadian Aviation Administration.
- You must have a license and drone certificate that proves you are old and responsible enough to fly a drone.
- While flying, you must respect the privacy of other people in the park.
- You must not fly your drone over people.
- Your drone must not be flown close to the waterfalls in the area.
United States Laws For Flying A Drone Over Niagara Falls
In the United States territory, there are some laws that you must follow if you are going to fly a drone over Niagara Falls.
- When flying your drone, you must keep it within your line of sight.
- Your drone must be below 400 feet above the ground while flying.
- You should fly your drone at least five miles away from any airstrip.
- You must make sure you do not fly your drone close to the Niagara Falls international airport.
- You must be at least 16 years old to fly a drone.
- Before flying your drone over Niagara Falls, you must have obtained a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration.
- Do not fly your drone near other drones or aircraft.
- You must not fly your drone over people.
- If your drone weighs more than 250g, make sure you register it with the Federal Aviation Administration.
- You must never fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The speed at which you are flying your drone should not exceed 100 mph.
Consequences Of Flying Over Niagara Falls Without A Permit
Flying a drone near or over Niagara Falls without a permit has some consequences. It will be worse if you are a citizen violating the laws. The consequences of flying without a permit are:
- You will be fined a maximum amount of five thousand dollars.
- Your drone might be confiscated.
- There is a possibility that you might be banned from the park for a certain period.
- You can face prosecution in a court of law, and your drone will be used as evidence against you.
- You might be jailed with a maximum penalty of six months.
The Rangers who are in charge of the park are authorized to deal with any drone pilot caught violating the laws of the park. It is better to obey the laws and be safe than to take a risk and lose your drone, the footage, and cash.
Rules For Flying A Drone In Canada
To fly a drone in Canada, you need to obtain a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). However, Canada is not accepting SFOC applications from visitors who want to fly their drones recreationally. Visitors who want to fly commercially can submit a request for an SFOC.
These are some of the laws you must abide by when flying a drone in Canada:
- If your drone weighs between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds, it must be registered with Transport Canada.
- As a pilot with a drone weighing between 0.55 pounds to 55 pounds, you must obtain a drone pilot certificate before flying your drone.
- You must mark your drone with its registration number before you fly.
- While flying, you should not exceed 400 feet above the ground.
- Your drone must always be in your line of sight.
- You must not fly your drone close to other aircraft.
- When flying, you must have your drone pilot certificate with you at all times.
- You must be at least 14 years old before you can fly a drone.
- You must fly your drone in the Class G airspace (400 feet from the ground).
- You must maintain a minimum distance of 30 meters from bystanders when flying your drone.
- Avoid parades, outdoor concerts, and forest fires when you fly your drone.
- If you want to conduct a basic drone operation, you must obtain a Pilot Certificate for Basic Operations.
Niagara Falls is one of the most exotic tourist attractions in the world. Sadly, you might not be able to fly your drone over Niagara Falls or in the park. Flying a drone in Niagara Falls is illegal on both the American and Canadian sides of the park. If you are lucky enough to get a permit, ensure you comply with all the rules. So, fly safe and have a great flight.
Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.