Illinois, the Prairie State, has some of the most open land in the continental US to fly your drone. After all, over 80% of the state’s land area is farmland. But before you unleash your drone on the farmlands and scenic cities of Illionois there are some important laws you’ll have to keep in mind. Firstly, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the Federal Drone Laws in the US. On top of that, there are many legislatures that apply to the specific state or local area.
In this article we list out the major Illinois state and local laws regarding drones and summarize them in an easy to understand format.
Note: We try our best to update this list, but in case we forgot anything, please let us know in the comments!
United States Federal Drone Laws
While you don’t need a license to fly a drone in America, every drone flown in the United States must follow the federal drone laws set by the federal government.
There are separate laws for recreational and commercial flights, but commercial flights require the part 107 license and can gain exceptions to some regulations.
Here’s a quick summary of the United States Federal Drone Laws for hobbyist drone flights:
- Register your drone if it weighs more than 0.55lb (250g)
- Can’t fly over 400ft (120m) (Class G airspace)
- Always maintain light of sight
- Can’t fly near airports
- Not allowed to fly near manned aircraft
- Not allowed to fly in restricted areas
Illinois State Drone Laws
Makes it easier for law enforcement and emergency response to use drones in cases of emergencies. This also requires law enforcement to follow warrant procedures when acquiring information obtained from private drones.
Prohibits drones from interfering with hunters or fishermen.
Allows drones to be used by law enforcement with a warrant to thwart terrorist attackts, prevent harm to life, or prevent escape of a suspect. Additionally, law enforcement is required to destroy all information gathered by the drone within 30 days with the exception of information that may contain evidence of criminal activity.
This law gives the State of Illinois the sole authority to pass drone laws. Cities, towns, and other municipalities cannot enact regulations or restrictions on drone usage with an exemption for municipalities with over one million residents.
Local Drone Laws in Illinois
Administrative Code § 10-126(c) // 2017
Drones can only take off and land in designated by the department of transportation or the port of New York authority. Drones cannot be used to display advertising, including towing a banner. Disallows flying under the influence.
Code of Ordinance Sec 706.11
Drones cannot be flown within 1000 ft. of correctional facilities.
Village of Schaumburg
Ordinance No. 15-070
Use of drones within 100 feet of the perimeter of any village property or on any village right-of-way during a special event is prohibited.
City of Evanston
Enacts a moratorium on drone use until federal or state legislation passes “reasonable” drone regulations.
Crystal Lake Park District
Park Ordinance 2015
Prohibits drone use on any Park District properties except with express permission from special Park District programs or in designated areas. Law enforcement is exempt from the rule. Fines range from $75-100.
Where Can I Fly My Drone in Illinois?
With so many federal, state, and local drone laws, it’s hard to tell where you can actually fly your drone.
You can download an app that gives you a map of where you can fly your drone and where it’s restricted. There are many different apps, but here are some of the ones we recommend using:
- UAV Forecast
Keep in mind that even if it’s clear to fly your drone on the app, there may be local laws or signs saying that drones are prohibited, so always fly with caution.
Similar to driving, you’ll need to educate yourself on the rules of the air before flying. Drones can be dangerous if operated recklessly so regulations are necessary. Doing due diligence on all your local laws about drone operation is your responsibility. That’s why we’re here, to gather all the laws about drones so that you don’t have to. Make sure to check back here regularly to make sure that you’re up to date on the latest laws and regulations.