Colorado has many beautiful places that are worth seeing from above. Starting from amazing lakes and mountains that stretch for miles to bustling cities, tourists are in for an exciting ride. Capturing images and videos of all of this with a drone only increases the excitement. However, before embarking on this journey, you should look into the latest drone laws in Colorado.
As there are both state and local laws in place, the regulations may seem a bit complicated. Still, if you follow this guide closely, you’ll understand the rules that apply when using a drone professionally and as a hobbyist.
Before we get to them, though, we would like to point out that many sources have been consulted while writing this post. Of course, we strongly encourage you to check out the data from the local authorities in Colorado, as well.
Drone Laws in Colorado: General Information
In truth, various drone laws apply to the state of Colorado. For one, the federal government imposes different laws depending on how you fly your drone. So, commercial pilots, hobbyists, and government employees in Colorado don’t follow the same rules.
What’s more, the Colorado General Assembly introduced state-wide drone laws. They are about operating drones in state parks and as a part of state and local functions.
Speaking of this, additional laws exist for specific cities, regions, and countries that fall under Colorado. These include the municipal laws in Cherry Hills, Telluride, and Denver, and the drone policy in Boulder. Therefore, acquaint yourself with all of these laws before flying a drone there to prevent any misunderstandings.
Step-by-Step Guide for Recreational and Commercial Usage of Drones
In this step-by-step guide, let’s dive deeper into the drone laws in Colorado. Check out some of the considerations you should have in mind when flying a drone in the Centennial State.
Maximum Altitude: Fly your drone below 400 feet (122 meters) and below any obstacles if that’s possible.
Weight: To register the drone, it should weigh less than 55 pounds (25 kilograms) and more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams).
Locations: Sensitive locations and other no-drone zones are strictly off-limits for drone flights. Even if you want to fly near an airport, you need permission from the authorities of the airport. What’s more, emergency response efforts and other temporary flight restriction zones are deemed no-fly zones. Make sure you stay away from bad weather conditions, too.
Registration: The registration process goes through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Usually, you should provide certain pieces of information like your full name, address of living, as well as your email address, and similar. When you receive the certificate of aircraft registration and your proof of ownership, you’ll have an ID number for your aircraft, too. This number should be clearly visible on your UAV all the time. You can go through the whole process by using the traditional way with papers or completely online.
Flying Considerations: You shouldn’t fly drones over unprotected individuals as well as vehicles in traffic. Avoid flying near other aircraft such as helicopters and aircraft that fly low. This also means that you shouldn’t stand in the way of operations that involve manned aircraft. Lastly, your drone should be in your visual line of sight at all times.
The governmental body which is in charge of the drone laws in Colorado as well as in the United States is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For any legitimate details regarding drone flights in Colorado, you can refer to it.
No-Drone Zones in Colorado
Naturally, not all places are drone-friendly. That’s why you should know the no-fly zones in Colorado so that you don’t fly your drone there when you visit them.
At the moment, drone pilots aren’t allowed to fly a drone over national parks in Colorado. This is mostly the case with the rest of the U.S. for that matter. The same goes for airports and helipads, prisons, military bases, and similar. We can add places where people’s privacy may be in danger to the list such as flying closely over a person’s house. Individuals should stay clear of other sensitive property or infrastructure. This may include but isn’t limited to government facilities, power stations, roadways with plenty of traffic, water treatment plants, and similar. Drone pilots should beware of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) such as fires, security hazards, and more, over which they aren’t allowed to fly. You can check out the zones that are prohibited, limited, or cautionary for flying a drone in Colorado on the map below, which is provided by AirMap.
Before you’re flying a drone on a certain location, you can consult with the FAA app called B4UFLY. The app will tell you if it’s acceptable to fly a drone in the area where you currently are. Subsequently, it’s available on both iOS and Android and provides detailed and real-time information.
Traveling to Colorado with a Drone: Information for Foreigners
Many travelers are wondering if they can bring their drones with them when they’re flying to Colorado. The answer is yes, but you have to have in mind a couple of considerations.
When you’re flying into the U.S. from abroad, then you have to register your drone regardless of the type of usage. Moreover, drone pilots who fly a drone as a hobby should obey the rules which we previously talked about in the step-by-step guide. For commercial usage, though, drone pilots should have an FAA-issued certificate and follow the drone laws.
Additionally, flying within the borders of the States imposes another set of rules. Travelers can bring their drones on the flight. But, they should place it in carry-on luggage instead of in the checked luggage. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) states that they allow drones through the checkpoint. And travelers should check with the particular airline for the company’s policy.
Drone Training and Educational Opportunities in Colorado
The Centennial State doesn’t lack in the drone training and education department, too. Many universities and colleges, as well as training centers and other organizations, are actively involved in drone certification and training.
While complete graduate programs still aren’t offered, Colorado academic institutions have plenty of graduate-level courses on drones and UAVs. For instance, the University of Colorado Denver has an ‘Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)’ course in the curriculum. Also, students can attend a Drone Training Program at Colorado State University. These programs aim to help individuals become drone pilots and prepare them for the necessary certifications.
What’s more, courses and training programs by multiple drone training centers and schools can increase drone flying skills and educate future pilots on the basics of drones and their utilization.
Further, drone clubs play a significant role in networking as well as raising the awareness of the importance of drones. Colorado has plenty of those, too, such as the Central Colorado UAS Club, UAS Colorado, and more.
Many believe that drone education should start from the earliest age possible. Apparently, this is what North Middle School believes in as well. The school located in Colorado Springs is one of the few middle schools that allow drones in the curriculum thanks to a ‘Flight and Space’ class.
Experience Colorado by Drone
United States authorities and the Colorado officials are very transparent about the drone laws and regulations. That’s why it’s easy for drone pilots to get informed and find out the rules that are relevant to them.
In fact, this is something you should do before every drone flight. We at The Drones World strongly advise you to carefully study the drone laws and act accordingly so that you don’t have any trouble.
The Drones World has thoroughly researched the drone laws in Colorado to the best of the team’s knowledge. We can’t fully guarantee the complete correctness of the information provided above. The author and The Drones World team don’t take responsibility for any potential damage, loss, or harm that may occur as a result of abiding by this information. Eventually, your responsibility is to ask for advice and help regarding all the needed information about drone laws and regulations. Do that from competent and relevant authorities of the country and state including, but not limited to, aviation authorities, ministries, the embassy in your country, and more. Indeed, feel free to send us news and information you receive about drone regulations in Colorado!