You’re a passionate drone pilot who’s always eager to scope out the next big sight. You’re interested in flying your drone in Missouri, maybe around the Missouri Botanical Garden, Gateway Arch National Park, or Forest Park.
What are the drone laws in Missouri?
Missouri has federal and local drone laws but no state laws. The local laws prohibit a lot of park usage, while the federal laws require drone pilots to have the right licenses and always follow Part 107 drone rules.
In this extensive glimpse into Missouri’s drone laws, we’ll take you through each and every law on a federal and local level so you can fly with peace of mind.
There’s lots of great info to come, so keep reading!
Federal Drone Laws in Missouri
United States federal drone laws apply to every state in the country, Missouri being one of them.
The laws are mandated by our country’s government and apply to commercial, hobbyist, and government drone pilots.
Let’s go over the pertinent laws now.
Commercial Drone Pilots
Missouri federal drone law requires that all commercial pilots always follow the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 drone rules, which are also known as Part 107 Small UAS Rules.
As part of these FAA rules, if you’re going to fly your drone commercially, you must possess a Remote Pilot Certificate. This is a commercial drone license that the FAA issues if you pass the Part 107 exam.
The Part 107 exam is a comprehensive test that covers the breadth of your knowledge on all things FAA rules.
The exam has 60 questions, and you’re granted two and a half hours to answer them all.
You must take the test at an in-person testing center approved by the FAA. Each time you register for the Part 107 exam, you have to pay, so it’s best to pass the first time around if you can.
If you’re considering enrolling in an online drone course ahead of your Part 107 exam, we have a list of resources here that reviews each school on the market. You can easily choose the best one for the money.
To pass the Part 107 exam, you must score 70 percent or higher. Your Remote Pilot Certificate expires in two years.
You’ll have to earn another passing grade on the Part 107 exam at that time to re-certify, but that can be done online.
As a commercial drone pilot, you’re also required to register your drone with the FAA. The registration lasts for three years. You’ll pay $5 a drone to register it.
Recreational Drone Pilots
Federal drone law in Missouri applies to recreational drone pilots as well.
As a hobbyist, you also have to register your drone through the FAA for $5 each, but only if the drone weighs at least 0.55 pounds or more.
For any toy drones you fly, the FAA doesn’t require you to register those.
The registration duration is the same for recreational drone pilots as it is for commercial pilots – three years in all.
Before you launch your drone, you too are expected to obey Part 107 rules at all times. The FAA also asks that recreational drone pilots showcase their proficiency in those rules by taking an exam.
It’s known as The Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST. The TRUST exam is free to take, and it’s very short compared to the Part 107 exam. It’s also done online.
Completing the TRUST exam earns you a TRUST certificate, which never expires. You can earn a score of 100 percent while taking the exam, as you’re allowed to go back and change any wrong answers.
Agency Drone Pilots
Government drone pilots, also known as agency pilots, are subjected to Missouri federal drone law as well. They may need a Certificate of Authorization or COA and are expected to follow Part 107 rules.
Does Missouri Have Any State Drone Laws?
Next, we’d usually delve into an in-depth discussion of a state’s drone laws. However, rather surprisingly, Missouri does not have any state-wide drone laws.
Keep in mind that the absence of state drone laws in Missouri does not make this southern state lawless. Not in the slightest!
You’re still always expected to follow federal drone laws and abide by FAA rules. You’ll also have to stick by the local drone laws we’ll talk more about shortly.
Local Drone Laws in Missouri
Missouri has five local drone laws and ordinances that all pertain to flying a UAV in the state’s parks. Here’s an overview of the local laws.
St. Charles County Parks & Recreation // 2017
The St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Unmanned Aircraft Systems Policy has been in place since 2017. The county passed the policy because drones were appearing more abundantly in local parks.
Drones are allowed in St. Charles County parks as long as pilots obey the following guidelines:
- You must follow “state and federal regulations.”
- You cannot fly within five miles of an airport.
- You cannot fly commercially, only recreationally.
- “Use for research, natural resource monitoring, or mapping purposes must be approved in advanced by the Parks Department Director or designee.”
- You “cannot interfere with other park users’ reasonable enjoyment of the park or expectation of privacy.”
- You cannot use your drone for surveillance.
- You cannot disturb any natural resources, “including wildlife nesting and breeding.”
- Your drone must always be within your visual line of sight.
- You must safely use your equipment.
- You “cannot fly over or disturb park programs, events being held at the park, large gatherings of people, or moving vehicles without written permission from the Parks Department Director or designee.”
- You cannot fly your drone within 50 feet of any occupied (or potentially occupied) structure or park building, picnic shelter, restroom, or historic building.
- “There will be no organized events or groups utilizing UAS without written permission from the Parks Department Director or designee.”
- “Users cannot hold St. Charles County Government liable for any damages to or by their equipment while at St. Charles County park locations.”
St. Louis County Parks // 2017
St. Louis has two local drone laws, the first of which is called the St. Louis County Parks Drones and Other Aerial Activities Department Policy in full.
You can only use your drone in some of Antire Valley and at Buder Park in St. Louis County.
The only exemption is as follows:
“All drone flying and other aerial sports done for St. Louis County either by staff or a private contractor and projects that support the SLCP’s mission as defined by state director, are exempt. This does not exempt departmental staff or contractors when the activity is for non-departmental purposes.”
St. Louis City Parks – Municipal Code
Next is the St. Louis County Parks municipal code, which applies to St. Louis’ Forest Park.
Here’s the policy in full on drone use in the park:
“If you would like to fly a drone in Forest Park, you will need to submit an application for a City of St. Louis Board of Public Service Permit to BPS Secretary Cherise Jones, Room 305, City Hall.
With your application, you will need to submit a copy of your pilot’s license, drone specs, and a certificate of insurance for $1,000,000.”
City of Columbia – Municipal Code // 2018
In Columbia, the municipal code that’s been in place since 2018 bars drones from parks in the city per Section 17-96. – Games.
The law states that:
“It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to take part in or abet the playing of any games involving thrown or otherwise propelled objects such as balls, stones, arrows, javelins, or to operate unmanned aircraft systems or model airplanes from a location in the park.”
Only those areas deemed designated recreation areas are exempt, as are drone pilots with a special permit from the director.
Jackson County – Ordinance 1447, Chapter 50 // 2015
That brings us to the final Missouri local drone law, the Jackson County ordinance called Ordinance 1447, Chapter 50.
According to the ordinance, you cannot fly a drone in a Jackson County park unless you have a permit and liability insurance.
Should you be granted permission to fly in a designated area and yours is deemed a radio-controlled aircraft, then you must use a visible transmitter that can tune to various frequency channel numbers.
The sound levels of your drone, when operating at least 50 feet away, also cannot exceed 98 decibels.
Missouri Drone Law FAQs
Are there still a few points you feel unsure about before flying your drone in Missouri?
This helpful FAQs section ought to clear up any remaining misconceptions.
FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Test Prep
Peltier has quite the experience, making him qualified to teach about photography and drones in separate courses. He was a part of the U.S. Air Force as an F-15E flight instructor for a decade.
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Can You Fly a Drone in a Public Park in Missouri?
Missouri has many local drone laws and ordinances on public park usage.
In Jackson County and St. Louis County, you need a permit to be granted permission to fly. You’ll recall that the Jackson County ordinance also requires a visible transmitter on any radio-controlled aircraft.
Even if you are granted permission to fly, commercial drone use is typically prohibited.
For other public parks elsewhere in Missouri, we recommend contacting the parks and rec association and asking about any existing drone policy.
Although you can probably fly your drone without incident, you want to be 100 percent sure before you take off!
Can You Fly a Drone in a State Park in Missouri?
According to the Missouri State Parks website, drones are allowed in Missouri’s state parks.
The site says that “we do ask that you keep it to the main, open day-use areas and be respectful of other visitors in the park. If you will be taking photos for professional use or sale, there would be a process to go through to gain approval for that.”
From Mark Twain State Park to Washington State Park, Meramec State Park, Table Rock State Park, and more, you have many great opportunities to explore Missouri with a drone!
Missouri is an incredible state that naturally attracts many drone pilots. That’s why there are local laws and ordinances aplenty, not to mention federal drone laws.
Keeping these laws top of mind, especially when flying in or near a park, will help you more readily enjoy your drone adventures without any mishaps. Happy flying!
St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Unmanned Aircraft Systems Policy (link)
St. Louis County Parks Drones and Other Aerial Activities Department Policy (link)
St. Louis County Parks municipal code (link)
Columbia, the municipal code (link)
Jackson County ordinance called Ordinance 1447, Chapter 50 (link)
Missouri State Parks (link)