The large and open plains of Texas are ideal for flying drones. However just because there is plenty of space in Texas, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any laws around drone operation. Firstly, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the Federal Drone Laws in the US set by the Federal Aviation Administration. On top of that, there are many drone laws in Texas that apply to the entire state or local area.
In this article we list out the major bills and legislatures regarding Texas state drone laws 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
Texas State Drone Law
Here’s a list of Texas legislature regarding drone regulations.
Prohibits flying near critical infrastructure including, trucking terminals, train stations, oil/gas/chemical production facilities, water treatment plans, internet service provider structures, and other critical infrastructure facility. Exceptions are given to drone operators acting on behalf of the government or are affiliated with the critical infrastructure to conduct surveillance.
Florida Administrative Code 40C-9.320
You need an Aerial Management Permit before using unmanned aerial vehicles to manage wildlife or exotic animals. Additionally you’ll need to keep a daily flight log and report. AMPs cannot be used to hunt or harass wildlife.
A law enforcement agency may not use a drone to gather evidence or other information. A person, a state agency, or a political subdivision cannot use drones to record private property without express consent of the owner.
Local Drone Laws in Texas
Code of Ordinance Sec 3.74 Unmanned Aircrafts or Drones
Drones cannot be operated within 3 miles of any airports in San Antonio without prior authorization from the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower.
Code of Ordinance Sec 14.12.220 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
Drones will be regulated based on the purpose in which it is being operated.
Code of Ordinance Sec 9.11.3.D General Regulations
You can only operate a drone in the specifically designated areas of every park.
Code of Ordinance Sec 74.23.7 Additional rules applicable to the Kerrville Sports Complex
Cannot operate a remote controlled aircraft near Kerrville Sports Complex without express consent from the director.
Code of Ordinance Sec 19.19 Kites, model airplanes, and drones.
Cannot operate a drone in any park or recreation area that has high voltage transmission lines running through them.
Code of Ordinance Sec 21.53 Prohibiting unmanned drone use in city parks.
Flying remote controlled aircraft in city parks is strictly prohibited and considered a nuisance.
Where Can I Fly My Drone in Texas?
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, drone pilots need to educate yourself on the rules of the air before flying. Drones can be dangerous if operated recklessly so regulations are necessary and doing due diligence on all the local drone laws in Texas is your responsibility. That’s why we’re here, to gather all the drone regulations 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!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you fly a drone over private property in Texas?
According to Texas Drone laws, you cannot fly a drone over private property in Texas unless consent is received.
Is it legal to fly a drone in Texas?
While there are a lot of regulations, it is legal to fly a drone in Texas, both for recreational and commercial purposes. When flying your drone, don’t forget to abide by the local, state, and federal law for drone.
Can I shoot down a drone in Texas?
You are not allowed to shoot down a drone in Texas. If a drone is inside your private property, we suggest locating the drone pilots and expressing your concerns. Worst case scenario, you can contact law enforcement and the pilot will be charged with civil penalties for flying in unauthorized areas.