New Jersey is a beautiful state with gorgeous natural surroundings like expansive, vast green parks, and optimal wind conditions for drone flying. But is drone use legal in the Garden State? We talk to Marcus Chalkley, Operations Director of www.skyhighhobby.com, about drone use in and around Jersey.
Is it legal to fly a drone in NJ?
Due to the potential for dangerous crashes and collisions, drone flying in all state parks has been banned, even in Liberty State Park, which is the biggest park in the state. Even though many parks are almost empty during the week, officials aren’t taking any chances. Drones are banned in all lands and waters administered by the State Park Service. This is not because a collision or another accident has ever taken place; it’s merely to avoid the risk of such.
Are drones banned anywhere in the state apart from state parks?
Drones are also banned within five miles of airports and in federal parks. The no-fly zones around Teterboro and Newark airports include much of Jersey City and Bayonne. Drone flying is allowed in local parks in Jersey City, however.
Why is drone flying so popular?
Drones are one of the hottest categories of consumer tech right now. They’re really fun to fly and some of them are really advanced. It’s possible to record breathtaking videos using a drone. However, it’s important to know and respect the law. For example, operating a drone near a correctional facility is a fourth degree crime. Operating a drone in a manner interfering with a first responder is a criminal offense. It’s also a criminal offense to fly an UAV under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
What other laws do we need to know about?
You can’t fly your drone over people or large crowds or higher than 120 meters. The drone must always be in visual sight. Other than that, drone use is allowed in Jersey, but it’s important to comply with the laws. Drone operators also have to register their vehicles. This requirement is an attempt by authorities to counteract irresponsible use of these devices.
What other risks involving drone flying exist?
You risk flying your drone into a person, someone’s home, or someone’s car. This is why New Jersey has banned flying drones within 50 meters of vehicles, buildings, or people. There have been cases of drones inflicting property damage. We at Sky High Hobby have a very helpful article about your rights if you suffer damage here.
It’s important to respect others’ privacy when flying. You aren’t allowed to fly your drone within 150 meters of densely populated areas or within 2 nautical miles of Jersey Airport. Also, it’s prohibited to fly your drone in or around military or government facilities and other areas qualifying as sensitive.
You have to fly in good weather conditions and during daylight hours. The FAA created a site, Know Before You Fly, which provides other important safety guidelines, which I recommend checking out.
Contributed by Danny Vassiliou