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How To Fly A Drone At Night In USA? | FAA Guidelines (2022)

By: Richard J. Gross
Updated On: March 19, 2022

Flying a drone at night can be fun, but it's essential to know the rules before you take off. This blog post will discuss the regulations that apply to fly drones at night.

We will also provide some tips to fly a drone at night safely. So whether you're a commercial pilot or just looking to have some fun with your recreational drone, read on for all the information you need!

If you are a commercial pilot, you are not allowed to fly your drone at night unless you have special permission from the FAA.

This is because unique safety concerns come with flying a drone at night. For example, it can be challenging to see a drone in the dark, and it's easy to lose control of a drone when visibility is low.

If you are a recreational pilot, there are some things you should keep in mind before flying your drone at night.

First of all, make sure that your aircraft is appropriately illuminated. You can do this by attaching bright lights or using reflective tape on your drone.

Also, be aware of obstacles like power lines and trees that may not be visible in the dark. And finally, always fly responsibly with caution!

It's important to know the rules and regulations for flying a drone at night. The FAA has strict safety requirements for commercial pilots who fly drones professionally and recreational flyers who want some fun with their recreational drones!

What does this mean exactly? Well, if you're a commercial pilot, then it means you'll need special permission.

Legal Requirements To Fly A Drone At Night In USA

FAA says that drones flying at night are subject to unique safety concerns. That is why commercial pilots are not allowed to fly drones at night without special permission from the FAA.

FAA Guidelines To Fly A Drone At Night

Recreational flyers should take precautions before flying their drone in the dark, such as illuminating their aircraft and being aware of obstacles that may not be visible in low light conditions. Always fly responsibly!

Can I fly my drone at night? The short answer is no unless you are a commercial pilot with special permission from the FAA. There are unique safety concerns that come with flying a drone at night, so it's important to know the rules before taking off.

All About Part 107

When it comes to any drone flying for commercial purposes, part 107 is the regulation that governs it all. There are a few stipulations within this article about flying at night:

Operating Rules §107.29 (Daylight Operation)

A small UAS may not be operated during the day if flown higher than 400 feet above ground level unless expressly authorized by air traffic control.

This means that flying your drone above 400 feet is illegal unless you are flying in Class G airspace (there isn't any controlled airspace above you) or have permission from the FAA to fly higher than 400 ft AGL.

§107.31 Operating Limitations For Small Unmanned Aircraft

(i) A person operating a small UAS must comply with all of the following operating limitations:

(ii) The small aircraft must be operated within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.

This means that you have to be able to see your drone at all times while flying it. This excludes being able to see it through binoculars or any other equipment that assists in seeing farther distances.

(i) A person flying a small UAS must always see and avoid flying into manned aircraft. If there is a risk of collision, the operator must immediately take all necessary precautions to avoid a collision with another aircraft, person on the ground, or obstacle.

This means that flying in controlled airspace is illegal unless you have permission from the FAA and ATC. You are also responsible for seeing and avoiding other aircraft while flying.

Operating Rules §107.35 (Visual Observer)

A person may not act as a visual observer for a small UAS operation unless that person holds at least a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating or is under the direct supervision of someone who does.

This means that you cannot fly your drone without a visual observer present who meets the requirements listed in this section.

Operating Rules §107.51 (Civil Penalties)

Flying recreationally during the day is generally okay so long as you stay below 400ft AGL and keep within line of sight, but flying at night requires more specific permissions from the FAA depending on what type of flight you're doing. Knowing these regulations will help keep you flying safely and legally!

Requesting Waiver For Night Flying

Can we request a waiver for night flying? The answer is yes! You can find more information about how to do this on the FAA website.

Fly A Drone At Night

Some restrictions still apply, even with a waiver. For example, you cannot fly your drone in Class A, B, or C airspace without specific permission from the FAA.

Flying drones at night requires additional knowledge and caution due to darkness which could affect the visibility of other aircraft or obstructions.

Flying during twilight hours also introduces hazards to birds and bats who may not be active during the day. Be sure to follow all safety guidelines when flying your drone at night!

  • Flying a drone at night requires specific permissions from the FAA.
  • Flying over 400ft is illegal without special permission.
  • Flying recreationally during daylight hours is generally okay.
  • You must follow all safety guidelines when flying your drone during twilight hours or after dark.

What are some things that people need to know about flying drones in cloudy weather? How can pilots stay safe while flying through rain, snow, fog, and windy conditions? What should they avoid doing if possible?

The first thing you'll want to do is check with the local airport tower before taking off. If there's no air traffic control operating from that location, then it's safe for you to go ahead and fly.

But even if it's safe to fly, flying in bad weather can be dangerous and cause your drone to crash. You must be aware of the risks before flying in conditions like these.

Pilots should avoid flying their drones near power lines, storms, or other severe weather conditions. Flying through rain, snow, fog, and wind can also be difficult and cause your drone to lose control. Always be aware of the weather conditions in your area before flying!

How do recreational pilots stay safe when flying near power lines? What precautions should commercial operators take before takeoff? And what about flying over people or in public areas?

Recreational pilots should always be aware of their surroundings when flying near power lines. Remember that these are high-voltage wires and can cause serious injury or death if contacted.

Keep your drone at least 50ft away from any power line, and be especially careful when flying near transformers or other electrical equipment.

Proposed Changes In Part 107

What are the new proposed rules for flying drones in Part 107? What will this mean for recreational pilots and commercial operators? Be sure to check back for updates, and make sure you follow all safety guidelines when flying your drone!

Proposed Changes In Part 107 to Fly A Drone At Night

In January 2019, FAA released the new rules for flying drones. The changes will affect recreational flying and commercial flying drones. The proposed changes in Part 107 will affect recreational flying and commercial flying drones.

The FAA is proposing the following changes to Part 107 rules for flying drones:

  • Recreational pilots must maintain a visual line of sight with their drone at all times, even if it's flying below 50ft (16m).
  • Recreational pilots cannot fly over people or in public areas.
  • These are just a few of the proposed changes. Be sure to check back for updates, and make sure you follow all safety guidelines when flying your drone!
  • All recreational flying drones require a Remote Pilot Certificate which requires passing an aeronautical knowledge test.

Moreover, FAA is considering if flying drones at night are allowed in the United States. Although flying during twilight hours or after dark is safe, flying your drone over people without their consent may be illegal under current law.

How do commercial pilots stay safe when flying near power lines? What precautions should recreational operators take before takeoff? And what about flying over people or public areas?

Commercial pilots must also follow all safety guidelines for flying your drone. They're required to maintain a visual line of sight with their drone at all times and cannot fly within 200ft (60m) from any building structure.

Part 107 waiver is required according to the flying conditions like flying at night. The FAA considers commercial use of drones as a business activity and therefore subject to regulation under Part 107 regulations.

According to the new proposed Part 107, recreational pilots have to follow all the rules like flying within line of sight and cannot fly over people.

However, flying at night is still allowed as long as certain conditions are met.

  • Although flying during twilight hours or after dark are safe, flying your drone over people without their consent may be considered illegal under current law.
  • Recreational flying is not allowed within 200ft (60m) from any building structure.

All You Need To Know About FAA Approved Night Waiver

For commercial operators to fly their drones at night, they must first obtain a Part 107 waiver from the FAA. This waiver will allow them to fly in restricted airspace and at any time of day with the proper lighting equipment installed on their aircraft.

The flying conditions are changing as fast as new drones are being released! With so many variables that come into play when flying a drone (weather, flying equipment, etc.), commercial operators need to stay on top of all these factors.

The FAA has issued guidance for flying drones at night and has created a special waiver process for commercial operators who want to fly their drones after dark.

For a commercial operator to obtain this waiver, they must show that they can operate their drone safely under the proposed conditions.

The Night Waiver allows commercial operators to fly their drones in restricted airspace and at any time of day with the proper lighting equipment installed on their aircraft.

Night waivers given by FAA are valid for one year and can be renewed as long as the operator continues to meet all safety requirements.

There is no word when the new proposed rules will come into place, but we'll keep you posted as details become available.

Restriction On Night Flying For Recreational Drone Pilots

The most particular part of restriction of night flying in the United States is flying over people. FAA considers flying drones at night as a business activity and therefore subject to regulation under Part 107 regulations.

If you want to fly your drone for commercial purposes, you must obtain a waiver from the FAA that will allow them to fly in restricted airspace and at any time of day with proper lighting equipment installed on their aircraft.

FAA has issued guidance for flying drones after dark, but no new rules have been released about flying recreational drones without lights or within line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight distances.

Recreational flying is not allowed over people or in public areas. For recreational pilots flying drones at night, flying within twilight hours or after 107, regulations require that all drones flying outdoors must be registered with FAA before flying.

Registering Your Drone With FAA For Night Waiver

Why? Registering your drone with FAA helps you to avoid fines or penalties if you're ever caught flying illegally.

FAA has released guidance on flying drones at night, which includes special provisions for those who want to operate their aircraft under restricted airspace.

To apply for a Night Waiver, you'll need to submit documentation proving that flying in restricted airspace would not endanger others.

These documents include an FAA-approved lighting plan and a detailed flight map showing intended routes without obstacles like buildings or trees.

The waiver allows commercial operators to fly drones during night hours with proper lighting equipment installed on their aircraft.

In order to register your drone with FAA, visit their website and follow the instructions. By doing so, you are not only complying with the law but also ensuring that your drone flying experience is a safe one!

Steps To Register Your Drone With FAA For Night Waiver

These steps include flying in restricted airspace and at any time of day with proper lighting equipment installed on their aircraft.

fly a drone at night
  • Visit the FAA website to register your drone.
  • Follow instructions on the website.
  • Provide documentation proving that flying in restricted airspace would not endanger others.
  • Waiver is valid for one year and can be renewed as long as the operator continues to meet all safety requirements.

For commercial operators who want to fly their drones after dark, flying in restricted airspace is not allowed without first obtaining a Night Waiver.

For commercial operators to register their drone with FAA, they must visit the website and follow instructions. By doing so, you are complying with the law and ensuring that your flying experience is a safe one!

  • Night Waiver from FAA allows commercial operators to fly during night hours with proper lighting equipment installed on their aircraft.
  • In order to register your drone for a waiver, submit documentation proving that flying in restricted airspace would not endanger others.
  • Provide a detailed flight map showing intended routes with no obstacles like buildings or trees.

For recreational pilots flying drones at night, flying within twilight hours or after dark may seem daunting because of all the restrictions in place.

  • Flying drones at night is restricted by FAA regulations.
  • There are ways to fly safely after dark by following certain steps.
  • These steps include flying in restricted airspace and flying with proper lighting equipment installed on your aircraft.
  • By registering your drone with FAA, you are complying with the law and ensuring a safe flying experience for yourself and others.

Tips To Fly A Drone At Night

When flying your drone at night, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and follow all the safety regulations put in place by FAA. By flying safely and following these guidelines, you can have a fun and enjoyable experience flying after dark!

First of all, we must be aware of the rules set by FAA. These regulations will tell us what kind of drone flying can be done during daytime hours as well as what type cannot be done at any time throughout our flight operation.

It's also very important for recreational flyers who want some fun with their drones! If you're a commercial pilot, then there's more responsibility on your part because you need special permission from the FAA and ensure safety standards are being met for every job.

Marking Drone With Your Registration Number For Night Flying

Marking your drone with your Registration number has a lot of benefits to it. Firstly, if your drone is lost or stolen, you can use this information to find the owner and return their property back to them safely.

Secondly, it makes flying much more enjoyable when people around you know who owns the flying machine above their heads!

In general, terms marking drones with registration numbers help prevent theft because would-be thieves don't want any evidence on hand linking them directly to a crime scene.

Marking your drone with a registration number is also good for flying at night because it will help to identify you and make flying safer too!

Flying Patterns

Be sure to plan your flying pattern for your drone for night flying.

Flying higher or flying lower, depending on your environment. You should also avoid flying near populated areas as much as possible because people don't always appreciate drones flying over their houses late at night (especially if there were no lights turned on).

Another thing you need to be aware of when flying high is that noise can carry further than light does, and so if someone hears a loud buzzing sound coming from above them, then they might call the police thinking it's an intruder!

Stay Within The Boundaries Of The Authorities

  • It's always safe to stay within the flying boundaries while flying at night.
  • Flying within the boundaries of the flying area will ensure that you don't end up in a situation where someone else has claimed ownership over whatever property or airspace was being used for flying activity during those hours (e.g., an airport).
  • This can lead to legal action against both parties involved as well as possible fines from regulatory bodies such as FAA and part 107.
  • You shouldn't exceed the ceiling from the LAANC certificate, which will help to avoid flying in close proximity to manned aircraft.
  • Always be sure to check and obey all airspace regulations put in place by FAA for flying drones at night!

By following these simple tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience when flying your drone at night!

Stay Within The Visual Line Of Sight

Keep your drone within the visual line of sight at night, as flying at night can be challenging, and if you lose sight of your drone, it becomes difficult to find again.

  • Flying without lights will make it even more challenging to find the lost drone at night.
  • Flying within the visual line of sight prevents a collision with other aircraft or property damage due to flying in close proximity and visibility issues that may occur when flying after dark. And could help if you have another visual observer so that you could co-locate the drone.
  • Flying beyond visual line of sight is not allowed by FAA for recreational pilots, and flying a drone at night makes it even more difficult to maintain control of your aircraft, so always be sure to stay within limits set by FAA!

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings And Limitations

Always be aware of the surroundings while flying your drone at night it could be flying in the wilderness or flying over a residential area.

  • Flying over people, flying higher than 400ft AGL(above ground level) is not allowed by FAA for recreational flyers, and flying at night can make you lose sight of your surroundings, which will increase the risk even more, so always stay within limits set by FAA.
  • And know your limitations of flying your drone at night, flying in an area that you're not familiar with, or flying a drone that is larger and more complicated to operate.
  • You should also consider the wind conditions when flying your drone at night because it can be difficult to control a drone in high winds.

Operate Your Drone In A Safe Manner

Without saying always operate your drone in a safe manner, flying at night could be challenging, and flying without lights will make it even more difficult to operate your drone.

  • Operate in a way that doesn't jeopardize the safety of others as flying within a visual line of sight is important but flying over people can increase the risk of harm, so always stay away from areas where there are people present!
  • And you are carrying anti-collision lights for drones that can help you identify your drone visually if you get lost or disoriented while flying at dark times such as dusk till dawn hours when visibility becomes limited due to low light levels outside.
  • One thing I would like to add here is not just about flying but also about piloting skills which are required for operating the drone flying at night.

Add Anti-Collision Lights

The best way to avoid collisions while flying your drone at night is for you to have anti-collision lights installed on your aircraft.

fly a drone at night

These lights will make your drone visible to other pilots flying in the area, thus reducing the risk of a collision.

FAA requires all drones flying at night to have anti-collision lights installed, so be sure to comply with this regulation before taking off!

There are different types of anti-collision lights available on the market, so it is important to do your research and find the lights that best fit your needs.

Some factors you may want to consider when choosing anti-collision lights are:

  • Brightness
  • Color
  • Type (i.e., flashing or steady)

It is also essential to keep in mind that different types of aircraft require different types of lights. For example, a helicopter flying at night will need very different lighting than a drone. So be sure to do your research before purchasing any anti-collision lights!

The brightness of the anti-collision light determines how far away it will be visible. A light with higher brightness can be seen from further distances than one with lower brightness.

This is important because if you're flying your drone in an area where there are no other lights, then the anti-collision light must have enough power to illuminate everything around it and make sure nothing gets too close without being noticed!

The color of the anti-collision light determines what kind of environment they work best in. If flying over water, then blue would probably be more effective than red because blue stands out better against white foam on waves (which could reflect off dark-colored objects).

On land, though, green might do better since most grasses tend towards yellow when viewed under the light of a drone flying at night.

Type is an important consideration when choosing anti-collision lights because it can determine how long they will last before needing to be replaced.

Flashing lights are more visible than steady ones, and white is more visible than other colors in most cases. Different types of anti-collision light for drones flying at night include:

  • Steady lights (red or white): These lights stay on all the time and are best used in areas where there is not much flying traffic.
  • They will be visible for longer distances than flashing ones because they don't lose brightness over time due to blinking off every few seconds.
  • Strobe (white): These are flashing lights that are very bright and can be seen from long distances.
  • Aviation (white): These are steady white lights that FAA requires for aircraft flying at night.
  • Landing (amber or red): These are also steady lights, but they flash intermittently, which makes them easier to see than regular landing lights.

These lights are more used for navigation and guidance for the pilot and are not as bright as the strobe or aviation lights.

Why Do I Need To Fly A Drone At Night?

Well, there are plenty of reasons to fly a drone at night. Perhaps you want to capture some amazing drone footage of the stars or cityscape that you can only get after the sun goes down.

Or maybe you're looking for an adrenaline rush, and flying your drone in the dark is just the challenge you're looking for!

However, before flying your drone at night, it's important to be aware of the risks and regulations involved. So make sure to read up on FAA requirements and airspace restrictions before taking off into the night sky!

Some of the reasons include flying a drone at night for fun and flying a drone for commercial purposes. Fun flying includes flying the drone in an area that you're familiar with, flying during daylight hours, or flying with someone who is also familiar with the controls and the area.

You should be able to fly your drone in one hand while keeping an eye on it. Commercial flying is different and requires passing a test from the FAA called Part 107, which allows you to fly drones beyond sight but under a 400ft altitude limit.

Private And Public Security

Nighttime is the best time to monitor the premises in both private and public properties. The flying of drones equipped with cameras can be useful in this sense.

For example, flying a drone over your property when you're away on vacation or flying one around the neighborhood to check for suspicious activity could help keep those areas safer.

A flying drone that is equipped with multiple cameras can also be used to monitor traffic conditions and fly it in crowded areas.

Where there are many people present would help keep those areas safer, which can be done during daylight hours too, but flying one at night might make this more difficult due to low visibility.

The flying of drones equipped with cameras can also be useful in monitoring forest fires or floods by flying them over affected areas, and flying drones that are equipped with infrared sensors can help detect hot spots in wildfires.

In this sense flying one at night would be better than flying them during daylight hours, allowing you to easily see what's going o. However,t flying a drone at night is more dangerous due to low visibility conditions, so keep safety first.

Photography

It's more obvious that drones are more used for photography during the daytime, but night flying can also produce fantastic photos.

The main advantage of flying a drone at night is that there are no people and cars around, which makes for a clean background in your shots.

Since most drones come with an automatic stabilizer, they're capable of taking great pictures and videos even when flying in windy conditions, so you could have some fun flying your drone around town at night time just looking for exciting things to photograph.

Aerial Cinematography

One of the best uses of drones is aerial cinematography; flying and capturing footage at night can provide a different perspective to the audience. The movie industry uses drones more for night visuals; flying a drone at night can be dangerous, but the outcome could be great cinematography.

fly a drone at night

Some examples of movies that have used footage from drones during nighttime are the new Star Wars movie "The Force Awakens," and for those who are not familiar with what that is, it's a movie set in space.

Another example would be the popular show "Lost," which has some scenes flying drones at night time during the episodes.

In this sense flying one at night would be better than flying them during daylight hours because flying a drone in dark areas allows for more cinematic shots that can't be captured by fixed cameras or helicopters with lights on them. This means flying your own personal drone at night for fun could also help with your cinematography skills!

Flying a drone at night is different from flying one during the day. In general, you should only fly a drone at night if you're flying it for recreational purposes and are familiar with the controls and the area. If you're flying a drone for commercial purposes, you'll need to obtain permission from local authorities before flying it at night.

This means flying your own personal drone during daytime hours for fun could also help with your cinematography skills!

Building And Construction Inspections

Roof inspections and other inspections of the building part can be done using flying drones at night. Flying a drone during the day can be dangerous for the pilot and building structure.

Flying at night will make it safer for both parties. Drones with thermal sensors could be used as well for inspection to look for any heat loss in the building.

Night flying can also be used to fly over large areas such as a prison yard or an airport to check for security breaches. In this sense, flying a drone at night would be better than flying them during daylight hours.

Flying a drone in dark areas allows for more detailed inspections that can't be captured by fixed cameras or helicopters with lights on them.

Law Enforcement

Drones are more used in law enforcement nowadays. Flying a drone at night will give the police ability to do surveillance and search in a dark area.

Drones flying at night can help find missing people, fly over highways to monitor traffic, and other uses that will allow law enforcement officers to do their job more efficiently.

Some of these flying drones used in law enforcement can have lights on them as well, which will help find people who may be hiding or running away from police officers.

During nighttime hours when it's harder for them to see what's going on around them because there isn't any daylight available anymore.

Conclusion

Flying drones at night has many pros and cons; flying drones during the day can be dangerous, but flying them at night will benefit the pilot and business mores.

If you want to fly a drone for fun, do so in an area well lit with streetlights or other sources of light, such as buildings nearby where there are windows facing out towards where your flying path will be.

This will help you stay aware of your surroundings and avoid any flying obstacles that may be in your way.

If you're flying a drone for commercial purposes, make sure to get permission from local authorities before flying it at night.

Be familiar with the drone's controls and the area where you'll be flying it to reduce the chances of any accidents.

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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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