In this article, we'll go through the criteria for lawfully flying drones in New Mexico, as well as some of the consequences you could face if you fly a drone recklessly. So, keep scrolling for an overview of drone laws in New Mexico!
Can I Have A Drone In New Mexico?
Drones are allowed in New Mexico, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls enforced by local governments. You can fly a drone recreationally or commercially in the state of New Mexico.
However, you need to learn some specific rules and restrictions first to fly your drone in this state.
What Type Of Drones Does The New Mexico Legislature Stand Behind?
There is one specific rule which refers to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in hunting:
It’s illegal to use drones at any time to pursue, harass, drive, rally, or harry any of the endangered or protected animal species in New Mexico.
You also can’t use drones to locate or take any protected species.
There is, however, an exception to this rule. An individual might be excused from this rule by the Director - but strictly for management purposes.
Moreover, another specific rule prohibits the use of drones by state agencies or individuals for unwanted and unauthorized surveillance. In this case, that means without the consent of businesses, property owners, or individuals.
The one exception for the rule would be state agencies with an official warrant for gathering evidence or other data.
As for specific places, Navajo Lake State Park and White Sands National Park ban the use of any model aircraft or drone within their borders. So, landing, launching, and operating a drone is strictly prohibited, violates military airspace - and creates safety hazards to military operations.
It’s essential to bear in mind that flying drones and taking pictures and videos in any national park across the state of New Mexico is strictly prohibited.
Lastly, we recommend checking local jurisdiction - and the latest regulations for each city or town - as each one may have specific restrictions.
Recreational Drone Flying in New Mexico
Recreational drone operations are allowed in the state of New Mexico if your drone is small and weighs less than 55 pounds. Following Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines is mandatory.
You must conduct The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and always carry the proof of test passage with you. The test can be done online within 30 minutes.
You must follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO) and keep your drone within the visual line of sight. Also, having an observer in direct communication with you and physically next to the drone is a must.
Every drone has to be marked from the outside with the given registration number, and you must carry your registration paper (or an electronic-form-equivalent) with you all the time.
You can’t operate your drone recklessly or under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Don’t ever fly your drone over private properties, people, or critical infrastructures or in any manner that would endanger people or animals.
Do I Have To Register My Drone In New Mexico?
Yes, you have to register your drone with the FAA. If your drone weighs more than 0.55 and less than 55 pounds, it must be labeled with a registration number.
Can I Still Get Penalties If I Use A Drone In New Mexico?
You can be liable for civil or criminal penalties if you intentionally violate any regulations or fly your drone recklessly. That usually implies paying a substantial fee - or even imprisonment.
What If I Want To Fly My Commercial Drone In New Mexico?
Following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines, you can fly your drone for work or business if it weighs less than 55 pounds.
You must complete the FAA's Aeronautical Knowledge Test for Remote Pilot Certificate first. Even more so, you also have to fly within the VLOS and during daylight hours only.
Furthermore, you can’t operate from a moving vehicle or aircraft and should avoid flying near airports, over people, certain airspace, and other restricted areas.