We can agree that Chicago is one of the most exciting cities in Illinois to fly a drone and take mesmerizing pictures. But are drones allowed in Illinois? Although you can fly a drone in most places in the United States of America, there are some restrictions according to the FAA USA Drone Laws. Take a quick look at what you have to do to fly a drone in Illinois.

Can I Have A Drone In Illinois?

Illinois state flag

Fortunately, it is allowed to fly a drone in Illinois for both recreational and commercial uses, subject to FAA and local regulations. FAA is the Federal Aviation Administration agency, which is obligated to keep the airways safe. 

However, there are specific drone laws that only apply to the State of Illinois.

What Type Of Drones Does The Illinois Legislature Stand Behind?

Aside from the FAA's current nationwide rules and regulations, Illinois has drone legislation specific to the state. One of them is that law enforcement agencies cannot use drones to gather information. Of course, there are exceptions to this law. 

For example, this does not apply if the State of Illinois is under a terrorist attack, or if the law enforcement has to locate the missing person, a suspect in an investigation, take photos of a crime scene or traffic crash, or there’s a disaster or a public health emergency, etc. 

Additionally, these are restricted to a period of several hours or days, and private properties may also require a search warrant or lawful consent to search.

Some counties or towns may have specific restrictions within their jurisdictions. For example, Crystal Lake Park District bans the use of drones within its properties, as does the Village of Schaumburg, McHenry County Conservation District, and the city of Evanston.

If your district allows drones, it’s important to mention that your drone has to weigh less than 55 pounds to fly recreationally according to the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107.

Recreational Drone Flying in Illinois

Close up of hands using the DJI Mavic Air controller

Recreational flyers must complete an aeronautical knowledge and safety exam and submit documentation of test passage (the TRUST completion certificate) to the FAA or the law enforcement upon request. You can conduct the TRUST exam online; it takes around 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

Also, any drone weighing less than 55 pounds but more than .55 pounds must be registered through the FAA portal. There’s a $5.00 registration fee, but you’re covered for three years. It is also necessary to apply the provided registration number outside the aircraft.

You have to operate the drone at an altitude of less or equal to 400 feet in an uncontrolled or “Class G” airspace. You should also avoid drinking or drugs while operating the craft - and fly within VLOS (visual-line-of-sight). 

Be sure to follow the community-based safety guidelines as noted in the basic requirements section and avoid flying near airports, over people, private properties, public events, or other restricted areas. 

Do I Have To Register My Drone In Illinois?

There are also several other rules you must follow. For example, you must fly during the day only - or 30 minutes before sunrise - with suitable anti-collision lighting, with a maximum ground speed of 100 miles per hour, within 400 feet of altitude. You can check the rest of the rules .
FAA Part 107 guidelines

Photo credit: https://advexure.com/blogs/news/new-faa-part-107-drone-regulations-commercial-drone

Yes. You must register the drone with the FAA, either by registering online or by using the legacy paper-based registration process.

You must register each unmanned aircraft flown via the web-based registration method. In addition, you must provide your name, address, and email address, as well as the make, model, and serial number of each drone you want to fly. 

You may and must use your registration number on as many drones as you like once you've been appropriately registered.

Can I Still Get Penalties If I Use A Drone In Illinois?

Of course. If you’re a recreational drone pilot, you should know that you could be liable for civil - or criminal - penalties if you violate any of the safety requirements or operate your drone negligently.

What If I Want To Fly My Commercial Drone In Illinois?

You can fly your drone for work or business if it weighs less than 55 pounds, provided that you are following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines. 

To earn your Remote Pilot Certificate, you must comply with the FAA's Part 107 Small UAS Rule (Part 107), which includes completing the FAA's Aeronautical Knowledge Test.

There are also several other rules you must follow. For example, you must fly during the day only - or 30 minutes before sunrise - with suitable anti-collision lighting, with a maximum ground speed of 100 miles per hour, within 400 feet of altitude. You can check the rest of the rules here.


About the Author
 Ruan Nelio

When I'm not geeking out over the newest drones, I'm busy flying my DJI Mavic 2 Pro all over Oslo. The coolest part about this job is I get to keep some of the drones I review, which happens to be how I got my Mavic 2!

Related Posts

Drone Flying Tips – Common Mistakes to Avoid
Buying A Used Drone? Here’s Our 10 Point Checklist
Cyber Monday Drone Deals For 2022