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All Drone Laws in South Dakota (2024 Updated)

By: Richard J. Gross
Updated On: January 5, 2023

In South Dakota, drones are being used to help with a variety of tasks. From monitoring crops and livestock to providing surveillance and mapping services, these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are revolutionizing how people work in the state.

Drone Laws in South Dakota

With improved safety capabilities, increased efficiency, and better accuracy than traditional methods, drones are becoming increasingly popular across South Dakota.

They’re helping farmers understand their land better, enabling law enforcement agencies to watch for suspicious activity, assisting construction companies as they build new structures, and much more.

If you’re a South Dakotan looking to get in on the growing drone industry, you may wonder what laws and regulations your state has. Fortunately, South Dakota is one of the more relaxed states when it comes to drone use.

The state Department of Transportation recently passed new rules that make it easier to fly drones in the area commercially or as a hobbyist.

We’ll take an in-depth look at drone laws in South Dakota here so you know exactly what you need to do before taking off into the great blue sky.

General Drone Rules in South Dakota (2024)

All drone pilots who take flight in South Dakota are subject to certain laws and regulations, regardless of their mission.

Drone Laws in South Dakota
  • In South Dakota, fly drones for recreational activities only.
  • To help ensure your safety in the air, adhere to the guidelines established by a Federal Aviation Administration-acknowledged Community Based Organization (CBO).
  • Always ensure your drone is visible to you, or if necessary, position a visual observer right beside the pilot and in direct communication with them.
  • Prioritize crewed aircraft and never impede their course.
  • To fly at or below 400′ in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E), secure authorization with LAANC or DroneZone before takeoff.
  • To ensure safety and compliance, make sure to fly under 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace.
  • Pass the Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and keep a copy of your results for proof.
  • All drones over 0.55 lbs (250 grams) must be registered with the FAA, marked externally with their registration number, and have proof of registration on them while flying. However, recreational flyers should take note that any drone lighter than this need not go through the process of registering or being marked as they are exempt from these regulations.
  • Obey all safety protocols when flying your drone. Keep away from emergency response or law enforcement operations in progress, and refrain from operating the device while under the influence of drugs/alcohol. It is also important to stay clear of any critical infrastructure facilities for your and others’ safety.

All recreational drone pilots should be aware that there will be serious repercussions if they fail to abide by the safety regulations in place and operate their drones carelessly or recklessly. Such recompense could range from civil penalties to criminal prosecution.

Read Also: All New Drone Laws In New Zealand

Penalties for Breaking Drone Laws in South Dakota

The repercussions can be severe if you are caught violating any regulations while piloting a drone.

Drone Laws in South Dakota

Loss of drone privileges

The penalties for breaking drone laws can be quite severe, depending on the infraction. Fines can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, and jail time is also possible for more severe offenses.

In addition, those who break drone laws may lose their drones and be banned from flying them in the future.

Possible jail time

As mentioned, more serious offenses can result in jail time. This is usually reserved for those who endanger others with their drones, such as flying them near airports or in populated areas.


Fines are the most common penalty for breaking drone laws. Depending on the offense, they can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Loss of drone

In some cases, those who break drone laws may have their drones confiscated. This is typically done to prevent the individual from using the drone again in an illegal or unsafe manner.

Banned from flying

Another standard penalty for breaking drone laws is being banned from flying drones altogether. This may be done as a way to prevent further infractions from occurring. Depending on the offense, it can also be a permanent or temporary ban.

Read Also: All New Drone Laws in Iowa

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for regulating civil aviation in the United States. This includes everything from small private planes to large commercial airlines.

Drone Laws in South Dakota

The FAA’s primary goals are to ensure the safety of both passengers and crew and protect the airspace from potential hazards.

The FAA is also responsible for setting and enforcing rules and regulations related to aviation. These rules cover everything from aircraft design and maintenance to pilot training and licensing.

In addition, the agency also oversees air traffic control, airport operations, and navigational aids such as air traffic control towers and radar facilities.

FAA’s Part 107

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has declared its regulations for flying smaller Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). To comply with the updated Part 107 rules, UAVs must have a maximum take-off weight of 55 lbs or lower to operate in the national airspace.

Drone Aviation is heavily regulated by the FAA, prompting drone operators to acquire a remote pilot certificate and register their drones with the agency in order to be granted legal operation.

Furthermore, the law has some stringent regulations on where and how drones are able to take flight. To illustrate, drone operators must always remain in direct view of their aircraft; flying a drone over groups or near an airport is strictly prohibited.

Remote Pilot License

Gain the ability to monetize your drones in the United States and take flight by obtaining a remote pilot license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)! The process is surprisingly simple, so reach for those clouds.

Drone Laws in South Dakota

If you want to become a certified remote pilot, the first step is passing an aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved testing center.

Subsequently, file your application with the Federal Aviation Administration and wait for that temporary remote pilot certificate to come through.

In order to maintain the validity of your remote pilot license, you must take and successfully pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every two years as well as finish an online safety course.

Register Your Drone With FAA

A vital step to utilizing a drone for commercial purposes in the U.S. is registering with the FAA, and it’s simpler than ever. Registering will only take several minutes at most, so you won’t be stuck investing hours of your time completing paperwork.

Drone Laws in South Dakota

To get started, sign up for an FAA account and provide your contact info along with details about your drone. Don’t forget to pay the modest $5 fee as well in order to wrap things up.

Once your drone is registered, you will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration and an exclusive registration number that must be attached to the aircraft at all times.

Read Also: Updated Drone Laws in North Carolina: Rules, Penalty

Commercial Drone Rules in South Dakota

Suppose you own a small unmanned aircraft under 55 pounds. In that case, you are able to operate it for professional or commercial purposes with the USA’s Drone Laws set out by FAA Part 107 regulations.

Drone Laws in South Dakota

In South Dakota, commercial drone operations are authorized by the FAA Part 107. Nevertheless, be sure to examine the special restrictions and requirements that your particular state has in place before you begin operating a drone. Doing so will help guarantee compliance with all local laws and regulations.

No Drone Zones in South Dakota

A no-drone zone is an area where drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are not allowed to fly. These zones have been established to preserve public safety and limit the disruption caused by drones in certain areas.

Drone Laws in South Dakota

No drone zones typically encompass airports, military bases, or other important spaces that demand a high level of security, such as prisons, hospitals, and national parks.

UAVs must not enter these areas for any purpose unless authorized by the officials in charge (for example, if permission has been granted for surveying or research).

Violating no drone zones may result in severe penalties from civil authorities, including hefty fines and even jail time if laws are broken.

Though drones provide convenience and security in a variety of applications, it is important to remember the restrictions from no drone zones to ensure the safety of the public.

Read Also: Updated Drone Laws In Ireland: All You Need To Know


Are drones legal in South Dakota?

Yes, drones are legal in South Dakota. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has certain regulations that apply to UAVs.

Can I fly my drone over a school?

No, flying your drone over schools is illegal without prior authorization from the local authorities or school administration.

Is it okay to fly my drone near an airport?

No, it is not allowed to fly your drone near airports due to safety concerns for aircraft operating in these areas.


Be sure to complete the steps outlined above and always adhere to the rules and regulations set by the FAA Part 107, including no drone zones.

With that said, you can now fly, explore, and experience wonders with a remote pilot license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In conclusion, it’s important to be mindful of the drone laws in South Dakota if you plan on taking flight. Adhere to all safety protocols and comply with regulations set by the FAA as well as any CBO-acknowledged organizations.

If you are found breaking laws, you may be subject to fines, jail time, confiscation of your drone, or a ban from flying altogether.

We hope you’ve found this blog helpful and that it has shed light on all the drone laws in South Dakota. We appreciate your taking the time to read through our content. Your comments and/or shares would be much appreciated, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Richard J. Gross

Hi, my name is Richard J. Gross and I’m a full-time Airbus pilot and commercial drone business owner. I got into drones in 2015 when I started doing aerial photography for real estate companies. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but it turns out that police were called on me shortly after I started flying. They didn’t like me flying my drone near people, so they asked me to come train their officers on the rules and regulations for drones. After that, I decided to start my own drone business and teach others about the safe and responsible use of drones.

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