Aviation (Drone) Law

Our office has the knowledge expertise to guide you the complex regulations at the local, state, and federal level of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“UAV”) and small Unmanned Aircrafts System (“sUAS”).

For both recreational and commercial drone operators, it is imperative that you are flying in compliance with all applicable laws.   Drone laws are a complex web of local, state & federal laws with very limited clear black letter areas of the law developed.

Business that are using drones or are interested in using drones faces many legal issues and challenges which are always changing.

Michigan Drone Law
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act
MCL 259.301-259.331

The Michigan legislature passed the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act which allowed for many things including; “A person that is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate unmanned aircraft systems for commercial purposes may operate an unmanned aircraft system in this state if the unmanned aircraft system is operated in a manner consistent with federal law.” MCL 259.311 This codified in state law that if a commercial operator is flying in compliance with FAA rules/regulations and laws they are allowed to operate in Michigan.

The law as passed also did another important item, it prohibits “county, city, village, township, or other political subdivision, public corporation, authority, or district in this state” from enact(ing) or enforce(ing) any ordinance or resolution that regulates the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft. MCL 259.305

Commercial Operation of a Drone/sUAS
14 CFR 107

To fly a drone in the United States for any purpose other than recreation or hobby a person need an Airman Certification Card, which requires taking and passing and FAA exam for not Part 61 pilots.

The main rules (but not all of them) for operating under 14 CFR 107 can be summed up like this:

  • The aircraft must be registered if over 0.55 lbs;
  • Must fly only in uncontrolled airspace;
  • Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight);
  • Must fly under 400 feet;
  • Must fly during the day;
  • Must fly at or below 100 mph;
  • Must yield right of way to manned aircraft;
  • Must NOT fly over people;
  • Must NOT operate from a moving vehicle.

There are waivers that the FAA will allow a person to apply for which, will waive some of the regulations.