Charlotte, North Carolina, is a bustling metropolis with plenty to see and do. From the NASCAR hall of fame to the Billy Graham Library and so much more, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
But if you’re a drone enthusiast, North Carolina has even more to offer. Here, we’ll cover the best places to fly a drone in Charlotte, NC.
But first, let’s make sure we’re all squared away legally.
Drone Laws in North Carolina
The laws for drone operation in NC are fairly simple, especially for recreational pilots.
Recreational Drone Flight
For recreational drone operations, you do not need a license or any permits. There are rules that you should adhere to, the biggest of which is the requirement to register your drone with the FAA.
You are also required to pass the TRUST test, a simple, easy-to-complete online certificate.
Commercial Drone Flight
- Commercial drone pilots must be at least 16 years of age.
- Commercial pilots must pass the North Carolina DoT Unmanned Aircraft Operator’s Knowledge Test.
- Commercial drone pilots must obtain a permit and provide proof of authorization on demand.
- There are also a number of terms and conditions to which commercial pilots must adhere.
The best spots to fly drones in Charlotte, NC
Across the state, drone laws and regulations are pretty relaxed, even for commercial drone operations. But common courtesy is important here.
People will not tolerate abusive behavior, so be sure to fly at a respectful distance from buildings and uninvolved people. Otherwise, the registration law may be used to hit you with some stiff fines.
1. Marshall Park
Right in the middle of downtown Charlotte, Marshall Park offers great views of the city and is just over six and a half square acres.
There you’ll find a small but pleasant lake, a massive fountain, an amphitheater, and a number of historical monuments.
You will also find several large open, grassy areas that are ideal for performing aerial maneuvers just for fun.
There will usually be plenty of people, too, so you need to be careful. But you will enjoy giving curious onlookers a thrill.
2. David B. Waymer Aeromodeler Flying Field
If you look at reviews of this location on Google Maps, you will see that there are several model airplane enthusiasts who have nice things to say about it.
There is plenty of open space, and you don’t have to worry about people not understanding what you’re up to.
There’s a 400-foot runway, which won’t interest you much. But you may find that you can interest RC plane pilots in photographing their devices if you talk to them.
Really, camera drones and RC planes are a match made in heaven.
3. Reedy Creek Park
One of the largest areas near Charlotte to fly drones in, Reedy Creek Park covers more than 146 acres. So there is more than enough space to explore. And explore you will.
With the many charming fishing ponds, the expansive canopy, lakes, trails, and loads of open space, there are plenty of fun and beautiful photography opportunities to be had.
It’s a location that is known for feeling remote without being remote. So you can drain your batteries and spend a whole day there without being too tired to head back to civilization.
4. Beatty’s Ford Park
This location is very unique indeed.
With the combination of high-dollar residential strips built along a series of peninsulas, all of which are bristling with their own boat launches, it looks like the setting of a foreign docudrama.
There are a number of convenient grassy areas to launch from and take footage of this interesting location.
5. Lewis-Brooks RC Airfield
Address: 555 Biggerstaff Landfill Road Bessemer City, NC 28016
Airspace Map: Aloft
This is yet another airfield dedicated to RC flyers. There is even more open space to maneuver around in and to choose your launch location.
The airfield is maintained by Gaston RC Flyers, and there are several covered outdoor buildings that make a great place to stage your activities.
There is a long runway where RC pilots take off and land, and the mature trees make a nice skyline for photographic purposes.
6. Lake Norman
This location is an interesting mixture of residential areas, golf courses, lakes, rivers, and trees.
The location encompasses about 50 square miles of lake interspersed with other appealing features and landmarks, making the opportunities for interesting aerial photography nearly endless.
This is one of a few spots on the East Coast where both sunrises and sunsets are particularly spectacular.