Can You Fly a Drone in Chicago? (And Best Places to Fly)

Can You Fly a Drone in Chicago? (And Best Places to Fly) Drone Tips
Can You Fly a Drone in Chicago? (And Best Places to Fly)Can You Fly a Drone in Chicago? (And Best Places to Fly)

Are you planning a visit to Chicago? Or perhaps you’re transferring there and are questioning should you’ll have the ability to fly your drone?

While there are federal drone legal guidelines that apply in all fifty states, every state in addition to native cities and cities have the power to formulate their very own drone legal guidelines. So, are you able to fly a drone in Chicago?

You are legally allowed to fly a drone in Chicago, so long as you observe all FAA laws for drone use, in addition to just a few Chicago-specific drone guidelines similar to not flying over non-public property with out authorization, and never flying over colleges, locations of worship, police stations, and many others. 

Keep studying to be taught extra about Federal legal guidelines, State legal guidelines, and the native legal guidelines that govern flying drones in Chicago. I may also share some tips about the perfect locations to fly your drone in Chicago.

Chicago Local Drone Laws

Chicago has greater than 1 million residents, so they’re allowed to set their very own legal guidelines regulating drone utilization. In addition to many of the normal federal pointers, you’ll see that some are particular to Chicago. (If you want a refresher on the final FAA pointers, see the following heading).

Below are the present Chicago drone legal guidelines:

  • You can solely fly inside metropolis airspace with out a allow whether it is for leisure or pastime functions.
  • Don’t fly instantly above folks except they’re a part of your drone flying actions.
  • Don’t fly a drone over any property that doesn’t belong to you with out the proprietor’s consent.
  • Always keep a 400 ft or decrease altitude.
  • Always fly throughout the visible line of sight. That means seen to the bare eye or normal eyeglasses. Avoid FPV, binoculars, or every other enhanced imaginative and prescient gadgets.
  • Don’t fly a drone inside 5 miles of any airport with out authorization.
  • Don’t fly your drone at night time (nightfall to daybreak).
  • Don’t fly in a method that interferes with manned plane operations.
  • Don’t fly a drone in hostile climate.
  • Avoid flying over colleges, schoolyards, meeting unit areas, locations of worship, police stations, and prisons except you might have authorization from the property proprietor.
  • Avoid flying inside 500 ft of water consumption amenities or electrical energy producing amenities, 100 ft of electrical transmission amenities, and 25 ft of electrical energy distribution amenities with out authorization. Other transmission and distribution amenities to keep away from embody these distributing sound, warmth, alerts, knowledge, or gentle. Also, you probably have been given authorization, ensure you observe the property proprietor’s stipulated limits.
  • Do not fly to spy or surveil except you might have a warrant or authorization.
  • Do not fly drunk or medication.
  • Do not fly drones geared up with explosives, firearms, or weapons of any sort.
  • Avoid flying recklessly in a method that endangers you, different folks, or property.
  • Always observe the Federal State Laws.

There’s just one exception to this set of pointers from the town of Chicago, and that’s if you’ll be able to get authorization from the FAA or a waiver for a particular scenario.

Illinois State Drone Laws

As talked about earlier, states can even give you their very own laws relating to drone utilization. Below are some legal guidelines you want to concentrate on when planning to fly a drone in Illinois.

  • SB 2937 // 2014 (link) – This legislation eases drone utilization restrictions for legislation enforcement officers throughout counter-terrorism actions, rescue missions, crime scene images, and different legislation enforcement actions. Law enforcement companies should have a warrant or report drone utilization to the native State’s lawyer and all the time use the drone throughout the stipulated limits. For occasion, any info gathered needs to be deleted after 30 days, except they should hold some essential info, and solely approved personnel ought to have the correct to entry the info.
  • HB 1652 // 2013 (link) – Under this regulation, drone pilots shouldn’t fly their drones in a method that interferes with fishermen and hunters. The solely exception is legislation enforcement companies, as they perform the actions talked about above.
  • SB 3291 // 2018 (link) – This legislation stipulates that every one cities, villages, and municipalities with a inhabitants of fewer than 1,000,000 residents shouldn’t formulate their very own drone legal guidelines and will observe the Illinois State drone legal guidelines.

Below are some laws that apply to particular areas in Illinois.

  • The metropolis of Schaumberg – This legislation stipulates that flying inside 100 ft of the Village-owned property is prohibited throughout particular occasions similar to parades, baseball video games, concert events, and many others.
  • Evanston – In the town of Evanston, drone utilization is prohibited till they’re able to formulate official laws.
  • McHenry County Conservation District – You want written authorization from the Executive director to function your drone throughout the district’s property.
  • Crystal Lake Park District – Operating your drone inside this park’s property can be prohibited except specifically approved or in the event that they’ve offered designated areas for flying drones.

Federal Drone Laws

Anyone flying a drone within the United States is mechanically topic to the legal guidelines for drone utilization put in place by the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority). This clearly contains these flying a drone within the state of Illinois, though Illinois additionally has just a few legal guidelines of its personal, which we’ll get to within the subsequent part.

The FAA categorizes drone utilization into two classes;

  • Recreational Use – This is for these utilizing drones for enjoyable or as a pastime. As of June 2021, Recreational drone flyers should take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (link), a brief coaching and on-line check, and move. Whenever you’re flying a drone, you need to all the time have proof that you just handed the check in case you’re requested to provide it. Also, it’s good to register your drone with the FAA on the DroneZone (link) web site so long as it weighs between 0.55 kilos (250g) and 55 kilos. The registration prices $5, and it’s renewable each 3 years.
  • Commercial Use – This is for many who are utilizing drones for skilled providers or paid providers. To use a drone for business use, you want the Part 107 License, which you get after learning the tutorial supplies offered by the FAA and taking a check. The Part 107 license prices $175 and it’s renewable each 2 years.


Below are the final FAA laws that it’s good to observe (leisure and business):

  • Avoid flying greater than 400 ft.
  • Always fly inside your visible line of sight.
  • Avoid flying at a velocity greater than 100 mph.
  • Avoid flying near different plane.
  • Only fly within the Class G air house. Whether you’re a business or leisure pilot and have to fly in managed airspaces, similar to in Classes B, C, D, and E, you’ll be able to request approval whereas on the sphere by means of the LAANC system (link) or the FAADroneZone web site (link). Other websites that provide you with data about No-Fly Zones or momentary restrictions embody KittyHawk, Airmap, and B4UFly.
  • Avoid flying over folks, autos, and crowded areas.
  • Avoid flying a drone from a transferring automobile.
  • Avoid flying near emergency response actions similar to fires and rescue missions except you’re approved.
  • Avoid flying near airports, prisons, and different restricted areas.

Rules particular to Commercial drone pilots:

  • As a licensed drone pilot, you MUST report any accidents that trigger harm amounting to greater than $500.
  • As a licensed pilot, it’s essential to conduct a preflight examine to make sure the drone is okay to fly.
  • As a licensed pilot, your drone should have anti-collision lights should you’re planning to fly at night time.


Once you get the Part 107 License, you’ll be able to apply for a waiver when it’s good to fly in a scenario that falls outdoors of the conventional guidelines. Below are a few of the laws you may get a waiver for;

  • Flying in crowded areas.
  • Flying a drone from a automobile or from an plane.
  • Flying a drone at twilight with out anti-collision lights.
  • Flying previous the visible line of sight.
  • Flying at speeds greater than 100 mph.
  • Flying above the 400 ft restrict.
  • Flying over automobile visitors.

The 5 Best Places to Fly Your Drone in Chicago

Now that you already know the Federal, State, and native legal guidelines governing using drones in Chicago, I assumed you would possibly prefer to know a few of the finest locations to fly. These locations are throughout the unregulated class G airspace, and so they even have iconic Chicago landmarks and funky options for a few of the finest pictures.

If you’re solely in Chicago for just a few days, make sure that to make it to at least one or two of those spots together with your drone.

1. Grant Park

Address: 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL, 60601
Airspace Class: G
Coordinates: 41°52’18.2″N 87°37’06.8″W

Named after US President Ulysses S. Grant, Grant Park is without doubt one of the finest fashionable parks within the state. Located in downtown Chicago, Grant Park is alongside the shores of Lake Michigan, one of many largest lakes and residential to some nice nature trails.

Once the drone is just a few ft excessive, you’ll be able to view the lake, the vegetation, and the buildings shut at hand to the park. Besides the lake, Grant Park can be dwelling to Buckingham Fountain, one other characteristic simply begging to be included in your drone footage.

2. Montrose Avenue Beach

Address: 4400 E N Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60640
Airspace Class: G
Coordinates: 41.9663° N, 87.6372° W

Montrose Avenue Beach is one other landmark alongside Lake Michigan the place you’ll be able to take some unbelievable drone images and movies. Located in uptown Chicago, Montrose Avenue Beach gives wide-open areas for spending time with family and friends, kayaking, biking, and every other actions you wish to have interaction in.

And for these in search of extra diversified surroundings, Montrose Harbor is an effective possibility. However, watch out since Montrose Avenue Beach is on the trail of fowl migratory routes. You wouldn’t wish to fly towards them and trigger any collisions with migrating birds.

3. Chicago Riverwalk

Address: Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601
Airspace Class: G
Coordinates: 41°53’17.9″N 87°37’15.8″W

Located alongside the Chicago River, the Chicago Riverwalk is one other place with cool and iconic surroundings for drone filming. Built between 2001 and 2017, the Chicago Riverwalk is dwelling to eating places, boat rides, skyscrapers, bridges, and benches for folks to sit down and chill as they benefit from the surroundings. This is a Chicago landmark that you just don’t wish to miss, and a few skillful drone footage will make it much more memorable.

4. Ned Brown Model Airplane Flying Field

Address: Golf Rd, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
Airspace Class: G/B – Uncontrolled/Controlled
Coordinates: 42°02’45.0″N 88°01’08.5″W

The State of Illinois has a number of areas designating for flying drones and different mannequin planes. Located near the Ned Brown Reserve, a few of the views you get embody the Busse Woods and the Busse Lake. Visit this page for extra designated areas.

5. Promontory Point

Address: 5491 S Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60615
Airspace Class: G – Uncontrolled
Coordinates: 42°02’45.0″N 88°01’08.5″W

Promontory Point provides a few of the most serene vistas of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago. It’s a man-made peninsula that protrudes into the lake. One notable characteristic of Promontory Point is that it was manufactured from Limestones, that are seen as they type the steps alongside the sides. Other fascinating options are the raised meadow within the center and a discipline home in direction of the top constructed utilizing Lannon stones. Another Chicago landmark to not miss.


Now you already know every little thing there may be to learn about legally flying a drone in Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois. As lengthy as you fly in accordance with the Federal legal guidelines, State legal guidelines, and native legal guidelines, you will be assured that you’ll keep away from any run-ins with legislation enforcement companies.

Make positive to all the time examine the laws earlier than flying since they are often amended periodically, and examine for any native airspace notices or restrictions earlier than flying.

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