What Are Some Basic Drone Rules In Washington State

Drones are cool and fun for lots of people. Drones can also be a nuisance to some people as well.


Can I Legally Fly My Drone Without A License In Washington State?

I'm following this Facebook feed about drones in West Richland. One person commented that their neighbor was flying a drone above their backyard and felt their privacy invaded and it's caused quite a stir.

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That comment got everyone in the group talking about the laws that govern flying drones in the state of Washington and it got me curious about what rules govern drones here in the Tri-Cities.


I thought I'd break down seven things you need to know about drone flying in Washington State that I discovered on the WS.DOT.GOV website:

  1. Registration: If you're flying a drone that weighs more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) for recreational purposes, you need to register it with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and affix the registration number to the drone. If your drone is under 0.55 Pounds, you don't need a license but you must follow rule #2 below
  2. Fly for Fun (Recreational Use):
    • Fly the drone at or below 400 feet above ground level.
    • Keep the drone within your line of sight at all times.
    • Don't fly near airports or in restricted airspace.
    • Don't fly over groups of people, stadiums, or emergency response efforts.
    • Avoid flying near wildlife.
  3. Fly for Work or Business (Commercial Use):
    • Commercial drone operators need to obtain a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA.
    • You must follow the regulations outlined in Part 107, which include restrictions on flying over people, flying at night, and more.
  4. No-Drone Zones: There are areas where flying drones is prohibited or restricted for safety and security reasons, such as around airports, military bases, and certain government facilities.
  5. Washington State-Specific Regulations: In addition to federal regulations, Washington State may have its own rules related to drone use. These can cover areas like privacy, trespassing, and state-owned property.
  6. Privacy and Trespassing: While not exclusive to Washington State, it's important to respect people's privacy and property rights when flying a drone. Avoid flying over private property without permission and respect people's right to privacy.
  7. Permits and Local Regulations: Some cities or counties within Washington State might have their own regulations or require permits for drone flights. It's advisable to check with local authorities before flying in specific areas.

Regulations can change at any time so I've included a link to the current laws and resources that govern drone usage in Washington State and you can click on that link here.

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