Montana is a state in the Western United States. The state’s name is derived from the Spanish word montaña (mountain). Montana has several nicknames, although none official, including “Big Sky Country” and “The Treasure State”, and slogans that include “Land of the Shining Mountains” and more recently “The Last Best Place”. Montana is ranked 4th in size, but 44th in population and 48th in population density of the 50 United States. It covers 147,040 square miles, but only a little over million people live in it. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller island ranges are found throughout the state. In total, 77 named ranges are part of the Rocky Mountains.The economy is primarily based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming. Other significant economic activities include oil, gas, coal and hard rock mining, lumber, and the fastest-growing sector, tourism. The health care, service, and government sectors also are significant to the state’s economy. Millions of tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and Yellowstone National Park. Average elevation in state is around 3,400 feet, making it very high country, with it’s numerous mountain ranges. There are places to fly drones all over Montana, but first you have to register your drone.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced that all units weighing between 0.55 pounds and 50 pounds must be registered by February 19th, 2016. Anyone caught flying without proper registration after that date could face stiff penalties. The FAA says civil penalties include a fine of up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years in jail.
- Unmanned flying machines that are operated outside have “a maximum takeoff weight” of anywhere between 250 grams and 55 pounds are required to register.
- Each owner would get a single registration number so if he or she has multiple drones, they don’t all need to be registered individually.
- Users don’t need to be registered to purchase a drone, but they do have to be registered before they start flying it.
- Name and street address are required to register, but the serial number of the drone, owner mailing address, phone number and email are all optional.
- You have to be 13 years old or older to register.
- The FAA doesn’t require information about citizenship or residency to register.
- Registration is free.
- The registration system will live online and likely be accessible through an app as well. There will also be an API component that would allow for the creation of custom apps that could work in concert with the database.
- Owners will receive an electronic copy of their registration certificate but a paper copy will also be available. The e-certificate will have the owner’s name, FAA registration number, a confirmation link and the drone serial number if it was included in the registration form. Operators would need to have the certificate on hand while using the drone in the event of an inspection.
- The FAA-issued registration number must be visible on the drone.
- GO TO THE REGISTRATION PAGE HERE.
- You must provide your complete name, physical address, mailing address, and an email address. The email address will be used as your login ID when you set up your account.
- Pay fee of $5 to FAA.
- You will receive a unique registration number that applies to any and all UAS that you own. You must mark all of your UAS with the unique registration number before operating. A registration certificate that contains the unique FAA registration number, the issue and expiration dates, and the name of the certificate holder will be sent to your email address immediately.
Montana Drone Rules:
- In any prosecution or proceeding within the state of Montana, information from an unmanned aerial vehicle is not admissible as evidence unless the information was obtained:(a) pursuant to the authority of a search warrant; or
(b) in accordance with judicially recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement.(2) Information obtained from the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle may not be used in an affidavit of probable cause in an effort to obtain a search warrant unless the information was obtained under the circumstances described in subsection (a) or (b) or was obtained through the monitoring of public lands or international borders.
(3) For the purposes of this section, “unmanned aerial vehicle” means an aircraft that is operated without direct human intervention from on or within the aircraft. The term does not include satellites.
- Fly no higher than 400 feet and remain below any surrounding obstacles when possible.
- Fly within visual line of sight.
- Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations, and you must see and avoid other aircraft and obstacles at all times.
- Do not fly near emergency response efforts, like fires.
- Do not fly for payment or commercial purpose.
- Do not fly over groups of people.
- Do not fly in adverse weather conditions such as in high winds or reduced visibility.
- Do not fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Do not fly over stadiums and sports events.
- Do not be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft.
- It is illegal to take photos or record videos of people on private property.
- Do not use a drone to gather, store or collect evidence of any type.
- Do not fly over unprotected persons or moving vehicles, and remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property.
- Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructures such as power stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, heavily traveled roadways, government facilities, etc.
- Contact the airport or control tower before flying within five miles of an airport.
Montana Special Drone Laws:
- Idaho Drone Registration
- Wyoming Drone Registration
- Washington Drone Registration
- North Dakota Drone Registration
- South Dakota Drone Registration