Drone Laws in Georgia

By January 22, 2018Drones

Basic Drone Laws

  • Drone operators must be 14 years of age.
  • Drones must be operated in line of sight, thus the use of cameras (i.e. VR headset) is prohibited.
  • Drones must be operated in a single state. Interstate operation is prohibited.
  • Drones may not be flown over groups of people.
  • Drones are restricted to fly during daylight hours and may not be flown earlier than 30 minutes before sunrise, nor later than 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Drones may not exceed 100mph and should be flown within 3 miles in line of sight.
  • All drones between 0.55 lbs. (280 grams) and 55 lbs. must be registered with the FAA before your first flight.
  • The FAA will send you a certificate that is valid for (3) years and will include an identification decal to put on your drone.
  • You cannot fly within 5 miles of any airport.
  • You may not fly over 400 ft. from the point at which you start flying your drone.
  • NTSB. If you crash your drone, you are required to report to the National Transportation Safety Board!
  • DOI. The Department of the Interior:  43 CFR § 9212.1  “Unless permitted in writing by the authorized officer, it is prohibited on the public lands to: . . . (f) Resist or interfere with the efforts of firefighter(s) to extinguish a fire; (g) Enter an area which is closed by a fire prevention order[.]”

Georgia Laws (2018 Current) – Passed

  • HB481 – State Preemption (Effective July 2017)
    • Cities and municipalities within the state may not enact their own drone ordinances, with the following exceptions:
    • Municipalities may enforce ordinances enacted prior to April 1, 2017
    • Municipalities may enact ordinances that enforce FAA drone regulations
    • Municipalities may enact ordinances that prohibit or restrict takeoff & landing on public property
    • Reference: Georgia State Legislature – HB481
  • International Horse Park – No Drone Zone (Passed August 16, 2017)
    •  The Conyers City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft systems – or drones – within the boundaries of the horse park, including Cherokee Run Golf Course. City Councilman Chris Bowen introduced the measure and said that the issue was raised when some visitors to the horse park complained that drones had come into close contact with them while they were walking or biking on the trails, as well as a concern over spooking horses on trails.
  • Cherokee County – Municipal Law 2016
    • Drones are only allowed in areas specifically designated for them.
  • City of Augusta – Municipal Law 2016
    • Drones prohibited in populated areas within the limits of Richmond County, without prior authorization from the FAA and the Augusta, Georgia Commission. An exception to this is the existing model aircraft field at the intersection of Mike Padgett Highway and Horseshoe Road, as well as any other model aircraft field later approved by the Augusta Georgia Commission.

Pending or Proposed Georgia Laws

  • Town of St. Mary’s – Municipal Law 2016
    • City Council considering ordinance, with regards to preventing drone flight near Kings Bay Naval Base and the local airport.
  • HB779/SB325 – An Act to Regulate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles 2015-2016
    • Would prohibit weaponization of drones and place limits on law enforcement use of drones. Would prohibit state municipalities from passing their own drone regulations. Would create the “Georgia Unmanned Vehicle Systems Commission” to further study drones and drone-related legislation. Was approved by Georgia legislature, but vetoed by Georgia Governor.
  • HB5 – Photography Restrictions
    • HB5: Would place restrictions on drone-based photography and imagery.
  • HB44 – Altitude & Airports 2015-2016
    • HB44: Would prohibit drones from flying above 500 feet, or within 5 miles of any airport unless approved by the airport control tower.
  • HB157 – Law Enforcement 2015-2016
    • Would place limits on law enforcement use of drones.