While flying a drone at night can deliver excellent nighttime photography and outstanding experience, the guidelines governing the entire process should be clear. Having an explicit understanding of the law and rules governing the night flight of drones is the best place to start. So, can you fly a drone at night?
The precise answer to this question is yes. Both recreational drone pilots and part 107-licensed pilots can fly at night. However, pilots flying at night need to equip their drones with the necessary anti-collision lights, visible up to a distance of three statute miles. Additionally, the 107 pilots may need to take an extra online course before they can take this privilege.
If you plan to fly your drone at night for whatever reason, you must ensure that you are on the right side of the law to avoid unnecessary inconveniences. Read on for more details on flying a drone at night.
Drones Flying At Night
Drone flying at night is not a new concept, as there are numerous reasons a pilot would want to fly their drones at night. For instance, the motivations may include hobbyist photography and professional cinematography/photography. Moreover, it can be essential in law enforcement operations, livestock monitoring, public safety monitoring, aerial inspections, and land mapping.
Further, some drone operations benefit significantly from night deployment, including drones equipped with LiDAR sensors or infrared cameras.
Both professional and hobbyist drone pilots are at liberty to fly at night as long as they meet the following FAA regulations for operating a drone at night;
- A drone destined to fly at night should have approved anti-collision lights. The lights should be visible from up to three statute miles.
- The anti-collision lights should flash at a rate enough to help avert potential collisions.
- Pilots flying at night must give way to crewed aircraft.
- Drones must stay within the visual line of sight.
- If the drone flies within five miles of an airport, the drone pilot should provide prior notification to airport authorities.
- The drone operator must abide by any community-based drone flying requirements that might apply.
- Drones should be at most 55 pounds in weight unless it is certified by the relevant authorities.
Can You Fly A Drone At Night FAA?
Initially, only professional drone operators licensed under part 107 had permission to operate at night as long as they could meet given specific instructions.
However, that has changed due to the recent revisions to the FAA rules and regulations. Both hobbyist and professional drone pilots can fly their drones at night as long as they adhere to stipulated guidelines by the FAA for flying at night.
Where Can You Fly A Drone At Night
Now that you know it is legal to fly a drone at night, provided that you adhere to rules and regulations stipulated by the FAA, you may want to know where you can fly a drone at night.
While there are numerous locations where you can fly your drone at night, here are some of the top places to try out first.
At Your Backyard
The backyard is one of the common places where many find pleasure in experimenting with their drones. If you have never tried flying in your backyard at night, you should consider trying it. You can try to take a family photo or get a unique view of your property.
However, remember that you are subject to privacy laws within your state.
Over A River
Another fantastic location where you can enjoy flying your drone at night is over a river. You will get captivating photos/ videos regardless of what you are doing along the river. However, you should be aware that some parts of the river may cross into restricted airspace due to proximity to the airport. Flying in Class B restricted airspace requires that you seek low-altitude authorization.
You can also fly over national forests close to your residence and get the rare opportunity to capture the beauty of forests at night. When flying over a national forest, you must be aware of the tall trees and branches that can quickly destroy your drone.
If a historical lighthouse is around you, it can make a great place to fly your drone at night. Such locations will allow you to test your photography and piloting prowess. The Judith Lighthouse and the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse in Oregon are excellent examples.
You can fly your drone over boardwalks if your town allows drone operators to fly around their boardwalks for recreational or professional purposes. Since some towns have restricted the use of drones around their boardwalks, it is essential to do your due diligence to avoid unnecessary inconveniences.
Where Can You Fly A Drone At Night In Baltimore?
If you live or travel to Baltimore, it is vital to make sure that you know the rules governing the flying of drones in Baltimore to avoid any unnecessary altercation with the relevant authority. There are several places in Baltimore where you can enjoy flying your drone at night. We have picked the top sites for you;
- Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse: The lighthouse is the oldest in Maryland and is fitted with modern navigation to enhance your flying experience.
- Druid Hill Park: consists of over 745 acres. It also features beautiful lakes surrounded by wooded areas, monuments, and wide-open green areas.
- Leaking Park: With over 1216 acres, the Park is the largest in the city. Notably, the Park is home to the Orianda Mansion.
- Patterson Park: the Park provides incredible downtown views and numerous attractions ideal for captivating night photos and videos.
- Inner harbor: Features distinct tourist spots that will make you enjoy every minute you fly.
- Lake Montebello
- Curtis Creek Ship Graveyard
- Loch Raven Reservoir
- Graffiti Alley
- Fell's Point
Can You Fly A Drone At Night In Florida?
Yes, you can fly a drone at night in Florida. The recreational and part 107-licensed pilots can fly a drone at night without applying for a waiver. Nonetheless, drone operators will need to ensure that they equip their drones with anti-collision lights to prevent collisions.
Further, the part 107 licensed pilots may have to take a new FAA-approved course to elevate their skills.
Can You Fly A Drone At Night In Australia?
The answer is no. Flying a drone at night in Australia is not acceptable. The drone laws in Australia require that whether flying for commercial or as a hobbyist, you must fly the drone during the day and also keep the drone within visual line of sight. In other words, you should be able to see your drones with your eyes instead of through your device.
Here are some of the general laws for flying a drone in Australia. They include the following;
- You must fly during the day and keep your drone within sight.
- Never fly your drone higher than 120 meters above the ground.
- When flying your drone, ensure that you keep it at least 30 meters from other people.
- Do not fly your drone in places affected by public safety or where emergency operations are ongoing.
- Avoid flying over people. In other words, you should not fly your drone over events, parks, beaches, or sports venues with ongoing events.
- If your drone weighs more than 250g, you should keep at least 5.5 km away from crewed aircraft.
- You must respect personal privacy. That means you should avoid recording people without their consent.
Flying at night is an incredible experience. However, before you fly, ensure that your drone is up to the task and meets the threshold. Additionally, to get the best experience, it is crucial to pick the best locations to fly to at night. Always adhere to the rules and guidelines governing drone flying in general.
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.