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Using Drones in Tacoma

What to Know About Using Drones in Tacoma

Drones (also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems) can be used recreationally for various activities such as drone racing and getting that perfect aerial picture, but you should be aware that there are safety rules and regulations about how and where you can fly. These safety rules are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Tacoma City Council also supports responsible drone ownership and passed Resolution 40658 to help promote safe and legal drone usage in Tacoma.


Drones are Prohibited in Tacoma Parks

In Tacoma, Ordinance 28615 prohibits the use of drones in parks. In order to fly a drone in a park managed by Metro Parks Tacoma, you must receive prior permission from the Parks Director. At this time a public request process is still being developed by Metro Parks. Check back soon for a link to their request process. 


Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Regulates Drone Use

The following are basic rules provided by the FAA that regulate drone use that all drone owners should be aware of to make sure they are flying responsibly. You can see the most recent rules and regulations on the FAA website at https://www.faa.gov/uas/, as well as information on registering your drone. 


Basic Rules/Guidelines You Must Follow Per FAA Regulations (as of October 2020)

  1. Register your drone--mark it on the outside with the registration number and carry proof of registration with you.
  2. Fly only for recreational purposes.
  3. Never fly over any person(s) or moving vehicle.
  4. Never interfere with emergency response activities such as disaster relief, any type of accident response, law enforcement activities, firefighting, or hurricane recovery efforts.
  5. Fly your drone at or below 400 feet above the ground when in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace.
  6. Obtain authorization before flying in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E).
  7. Keep your drone within your visual line of sight, or within the visual line-of-sight of a visual observer who is co-located (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
  8. Do not fly at night unless your drone has lighting that allows you to know its location and orientation at all times.
  9. Give way to and do not interfere with manned aircraft.
  10. Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many over-the-counter medications have side effects that could impact your ability to safely operate your drone.
  11. Do not operate your drone in a careless or reckless manner.
 Note: These are subject to change per FAA regulations. Please always check their website for the complete, most current and up-to-date rules and regulations for drone ownership.