Is That Right? Do you need a license to fly a drone at home?

Is every drone in the air legit?

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Drones, the common name for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are increasingly filling our skies.

As Washington begins to tighten the rules about operating drones, many people remain confused about the current rules, particularly over the question of when you need to get pilot’s license to fly a drone.


Local 12 uses its own drone, called Skyview 12, which captures amazing video across the Tri-State. To fly it, we’re required to have two photographers. Both of them are highly trained and skilled, and both have pilot’s licenses to fly it. That’s because Skyview 12 is considered a commercial drone.


But most drones are not commercial and some people say they never need a license to fly their drone in their backyard, field or park.

While it’s true that you don’t need a drone pilot license to fly most recreational drones right now, a new federal law will soon require you to take a test to prove you know how to fly a drone.

At this point, the law is fairly simple. You don’t need a pilot’s license if:

  • Your drone weighs less than 55 pounds.
  • And you’re flying your drone only as a hobby or for recreation.

There are many other important requirements and some qualifications, but the main issues are the weight of your drone and how you plan to use it. You can read the rules for use here.

So, while most of us don’t need a pilot’s license to fly a drone around the backyard, there are times when a license is required, such as cases where you’re selling video or photos or your drone weighs 55 pounds or more.

If you assume you NEVER need a license to fly at home, then you would be WRONG.

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