Drone Ordinance - Fort Wayne Police Department (2023)

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City of Fort Wayne UAS Flight Notification form:

Click here to fill out the notification

Fort Wayne’s Drone Ordinance –
Key Provisions You Should Know

City of Fort Wayne Municipal Code Section 96.30 requires that drone pilots notify the City before any flights in these specific areas:

  • Above the Downtown Aerial District, a circular area over downtown with a radius of 5500 feet from the 100 block of W Main St (GPS coordinates of 41.080325, -85.140652;
  • Above or within 500 yards of a city-permitted public eventsuch as a festival, block party or parade.

To determine whether an event has been issued a city permit requiring drone flight notification, contact the cityRight-of-Way Departmentat260-427-6155orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

While the ordinance requires prior notification of drone flights is these circumstances, it is not an approval process. Drone pilots are encouraged to know the laws and regulations for legal and safe commercial or non-commercial flight operations, as the ordinance alsoprohibits any drone flights that are conducted in an unsafe manner.

The Fort Wayne Police Department is responsible for enforcing the ordinance, and violations can range from a warning, citation and/or the impoundment of drone equipment for up to three (3) business days.

Notification is satisfied with a simple online form completed from your mobile phone or tablet here:


Special note –

  • (Windows computer users can download free Formatta forms software to complete the notification form here –http://www2.formatta.com/download/download.asp?itype=F).
  • (Repeat flyers can use the check boxes to avoid having to re-enter the same pilot certificate or drone registration numbers previously submitted.)

Please direct any ordinance-related questions to SGT Rodney Bradtmueller at260-427-2385 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



(A)Purpose.The regulations set forth in this section seek to promote the ability of noncommercial and commercial users to operate Unmanned Aircraft Systems safely within the City of Fort Wayne while recognizing the need to protect citizens and public safety personnel in designated areas and circumstances where heightened safety concerns are present.


(Video) Fort Wayne Police exploring indoor drones for Air Support Unit

COMMERCIAL USE.The flying of an unmanned aircraft system for work, business or commercial purposes.

DOWNTOWN AERIAL DISTRICT.A circular area with a radius of 5,500 feet out from a center point with the GPS coordinates of 41.080325, -85.140652, commonly known as the 100 block of W. Main St., Fort Wayne, Indiana.

FORT WAYNE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (FWA) Aerial District. A circular area with a radius of 13,200 feet (2.5 miles) out from a center point located at the ATC tower with GPS coordinates of 40.972124, - 85.187764, commonly known as 3817 Winters Rd., Fort Wayne, Indiana.

SMITH FIELD AIRPORT (SMD) Aerial District. A circular area with a radius of 5,500 feet out from a center point with GPS coordinates of 41.143317, -85.153226, commonly known as 902 W Ludwig Rd., Fort Wayne, Indiana.

PARKVIEW RANDALLIA Aerial District. A circular area with a radius of 2,500 feet out from a center point with GPS coordinates of 41.096241, -85.109989, commonly known as 2200 Randallia Dr., Fort Wayne, Indiana.

DUPONT HOSPITAL Aerial District. A circular area with a radius of 2,500 feet out from a center point with GPS coordinates of 41.175260, -85.108885, commonly known as 2520 E Dupont Rd., Fort Wayne, Indiana.

LUTHERAN HOSPITAL Aerial District. A circular area with a radius of 2,500 feet out from a center point with GPS coordinates of 41.038972, -85.249764, commonly known as 7950 W Jefferson Blvd., Fort Wayne, Indiana.

ARMY RESERVE FACILITY Aerial District. A circular area with a radius of 2,500 feet out from a center point with GPS coordinates of 41.052473, -85.168455, commonly known as 2233 Nuttman Ave., Fort Wayne, Indiana.

PRIVATE SPACE.Any indoor or outdoor property owned or controlled by a private individual or entity.

PUBLIC EVENT.Any event, game, practice, contest, parade, rally, celebration or other gathering in either private space or public space, to which the public is invited or attends and for which a permit has been issued by the city.

(Video) Officers across the state come to Fort Wayne to learn about drone technology

PUBLIC SPACE.Any indoor or outdoor property (including streets and sidewalks) owned or controlled by federal, state or local government, or an instrumentality of federal, state or local government.

NONCOMMERCIAL USE.The flying of an Unmanned Aircraft System for enjoyment, recreation, hobby and not work, business purposes, or for compensation of hire.

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM (“UAS”).An aircraft without a human pilot onboard which is controlled from an operator on the ground, often referred to as a “drone.”

(C)Applicability. This sub-chapter shall not interfere with the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”). All UAS operators within the city must obey FAA and Indiana laws, rules and regulations as may be amended from time to time.

(D)Prohibited unmanned aircraft system activities.

(1)For UAS takeoff and landing within the city, it shall be unlawful without prior notification to the city for a person to use or operate an UAS within five hundred (500) yard horizontal radius of, or anywhere above, a public event.

(2) For UAS takeoff and landing within the City, it shall be unlawful without prior notification to the city for a person to use or operate an UAS anywhere above an aerial district.

(3) No Person shall operate any UAS within the city in a manner that is prohibited by any federal statute or regulation governing aeronautics.

(4) For UAS takeoff and landing within the city, it shall be unlawful for a person to operate an UAS in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another. The standard for what constitutes careless or reckless operation under this section shall be the same as the standard set forth in any federal statutes or regulations governing aeronautics including but not limiting to Federal Aviation Rule 91.13. If law enforcement has reasonable suspicion to believe there is unsafe UAS operation occurring, the city may immediately prohibit any UAS use. Within twenty-four (24) hours of prohibiting such use, law enforcement shall document the basis for the reasonable suspicion and actions taken.

(E)Non-applicability.Subsections (D)(l) and (D)(2) do not apply to:

(Video) Advanced AI drones being used by police agencies

(1)Employees of the city operating an UAS in the regular course of their duties.

(2)Individuals under contract with the city operating an UAS for the purposes of promotion, resource management, development, mapping or utility management and repair.

(3)Any local, state or federal government agency lawfully operating UAS for a government purpose or function.

(F) Notification process. Persons wishing to operate a UAS within 5,500 feet of the Downtown Aerial District, 2.5 miles of FWA, 5000 feet of SMD, 2500 feet of Parkview Randallia/Lutheran/Dupont Hospital(s), 2500 feet of the Army Reserve Facility, and/or within a five-hundred (500) yard radius of, or anywhere above, a public event, shall provide the following information to the city before the operation:

(1)Name, address and telephone number of UAS the operator, any assisting persons during the flight, and any affiliated company name, if applicable;

(2)Purpose of the UAS operation as either noncommercial recreational or commercial use;

(3)FAA-issued Registration Certificate Number(s) of any UAS to be operated;

(4)UAS operator’s FAA-issued Remote Pilot Certificate Number(s) and date(s) of issue authorized under 14 CFR 5107, if applicable;

(5)Document numbers and dates of issue and expiration for FAA-issued certificate(s), waiver(s), or authorization, or Section 333 Exemption, applicable to the operation of the UAS;

(6)Policy information with dates of issue and expiry of any certificate(s) of liability insurance, if applicable;

(Video) City Council HUMILIATES themselves by ignoring FAA drone laws!

(7)Proposed area and time of UAS operation;

(8)Location where the UAS will be operated from; and

(9)Name, address and telephone number of any owner(s) granting permission for UAS operation over any private space.

(Ord. G-10-19, passed 5-14-19) Penalty, see §96.99

  • 96.31 ENFORCEMENT.

The Fort Wayne Police Department shall be charged with enforcing all provisions of this chapter.

(Ord. G-15-07, passed 6-12-07; Am. Ord. G-15-08, passed 12-9-08; Am. Ord. G-4-17, passed 3-14-17; Am. Ord. G-10-19, passed 5-14-19)

  • 96.99 PENALTY.

(A)Whoever violates any provisions of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $150 or more than $500 for each offense. Each day any violation shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.

(B)Any person who violates any of the provisions of §96.30of this chapter may be subject to a fine that shall not exceed $500 for each such violation.

(C)In addition to the penalty specified above for violation of §96.30, any UAS and control box operated in violation of §96.30may be impounded for a period of time not to exceed three business days in the interests of public safety.

(Ord. G-21-93, passed 6-8-93; Am. Ord. G-4-17, passed 3-14-17; Am. Ord. G-10-19, passed 5-14-19)

(Video) Selection for next police class underway


Can police take control of your drone? ›

Anatomy of a drone threat

The "respond" step usually entails tracking down the operator and asking them to remove the drone or face fines, or capturing the drone itself for evidence. At this point, it's not legal for law enforcement to take down a drone.

Are there police drones? ›

Police departments are also deploying drones to generate aerial mapping, capture aerial photography, collect evidence, and gather other mission critical intelligence during tactical operations to aid in post-incident crime scene analysis and reconstruction.

Can you fly a drone in a control zone? ›

Flying in controlled airspace

To operate within controlled airspace, drone pilots need an advanced RPA pilot certificate, a drone with the appropriate manufacturer safety declaration, and the air navigation service provider authorization.

How long can a police drone stay in the air? ›

Most enterprise-grade drones used in police work can stay in the air for more than 30 minutes. The DJI M300 can stay in the air for up to 55 minutes.

How do you stop police drones from spying on you? ›

If you feel a drone is spying on you, you should call the police or report it to the FAA. The appropriate authority to deal with cases of a spying drone is the local police force that deals with complaints of stalking or peeping toms. You may call in the FAA if the drone is being operated illegally or in an unsafe way.

Is it illegal to shoot down a drone in Indiana? ›

No, you cannot shoot a drone out of the sky. Drones are considered aircraft by the National Transportation Safety Board and are protected. “The same law that prevents you from shooting down a 747, or a Cessna 172, or something like that, protects our drones while we are in the air.

Can you fly drones around neighborhoods? ›

It is advisable to ask for permission several weeks in advance. You can fly a drone in your neighborhood that is classified as a residential area, as long as you don`t land or take off on private property without first getting permission from the tenant or landlord.

Can you fly drones over houses Indiana? ›

Indiana's state laws prohibit flying drones over private properties. Even law enforcement officers need to get warranted with exceptions before using it in surveillance operations. Therefore, you should always avoid flying your drone over private properties as much as possible.

What police departments use drones? ›

The Burbank Police Department has six operators, all of whom are sworn police officers. They are the only personnel authorized to operate the drones.

How do you identify a police drone? ›

The major thing that differentiates police drones from other drones is their strobe light. Police strobe lights have blue and red colors. If you are a few meters away from a police drone at night, one side of the drone will have a red light and the other side will have a blue light.

What can police drones see? ›

Police drones can help by scanning the area with infrared sensors that can detect heat sources, including the human body. Drones can also be programmed to search specific areas, which makes the process more efficient.

Does the FAA know when I fly my drone? ›

Otherwise, you risk flying illegally. The FAA and law enforcement will be able to see your broadcast identification number that they can cross-reference with your registration number, speed, and altitude.

Can you fly drones over houses? ›

Flying drones in London is perfectly legal.

It is important to remember that you must have a drone license to fly in London. You can apply for this license through the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Can I fly my drone over people? ›

Category 1 small unmanned aircraft are permitted to operate over people, provided the small unmanned aircraft: Weigh 0.55 pounds or less, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft at the time of takeoff and throughout the duration of each operation.

How do you block a drone? ›

You need to know how to stop drones from flying over your house.
Fortunately, there are several methods of protection against drones.
  1. Anti-Drone Drones. ...
  2. Anti-Drone Birds. ...
  3. Anti-Drone Jammers. ...
  4. Drone-Blinding Lasers. ...
  5. Drone Detection Systems. ...
  6. Drone Hijacks. ...
  7. Drone Surveillance Laws.
30 Jun 2021

What will jam a drone? ›

Drone Jammers

Jammers work by blasting electromagnetic noise at the radio frequencies that drones use to operate and emit information. Effectively, they drown out the conversation between a drone and its operator. This is usually either 2.4Ghz or 5.8Ghz, which are non-assigned, public frequencies.

How high can police drones go? ›

Drones vary widely in size and ability.

With a wingspan of 66 feet and a top altitude of nearly 50,000 feet, these workhorses can stay aloft for almost 30 hours. One of law enforcement's favorite drones is the Insitu ScanEagle, an inexpensive craft with a 10-foot wingspan and flight time of 24 hours.

Can a laser pointer take down a drone? ›

A laser pointer can bring a drone down, especially the high-powered ones. They heat the drone, damage its wiring system, and interfere with the pilot's field of view. However, using a laser pointer to interfere with a drone is illegal, and you can be imprisoned or pay a hefty penalty for the crime.

What is the best defense against drones? ›

Guns can down drones, either air defense weapons or systems like CRAM, as well as small arms fire, apparently. There is no shortage of ways to shoot down the drone threat, but there may be a question of using the right interceptors and not wasting costly interceptors on drones.

Can I shoot down a drone? ›

It is important to outline from the outset that under no circumstances should anybody take the law into their own hands and shoot down a drone. The law on low-flying aircraft, including drones, is primarily regulated by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

Can I shoot down a drone with a slingshot? ›

Slingshots will likely work—again, assuming you can hit. Slingshot master Joerg Sprave has a few designs that would probably take out a drone with ease. Along those same lines, you can probably do well with a potato gun or similar DIY cannon, barring aim issues.

Can you shoot someone on your property Indiana? ›

Indiana's Castle Doctrine states that a person is justified in using deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if they reasonably believe that force is necessary to prevent or terminate another's unlawful entry of their dwelling, curtilage, or occupied motor vehicle.

What are the Indiana drone laws? ›

Federal Drone Laws in Indiana

To fly a drone as a commercial pilot in the state of Indiana (i.e. for work / business purposes) you are required to follow the requirements of the FAA's Part 107 Small UAS Rule (Part 107), which includes passing the FAA's Aeronautical Knowledge Test to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate.

How do I stop drones in my neighborhood? ›

Find the drone pilot and ask them to stop flying the drone over your home. Also, post signs on your property requesting that people don't fly drones in the area. It's illegal for you to forcibly remove the drone from the area above your property by shooting it down or using a net, signal jammer, or any other method.

Can I make my property a no fly zone? ›

NoFlyZone.org lets you establish a no-fly zone over your property and a number of drone hardware and software firms have already promised to honor your request.

Is there a drone detector app? ›

Aerial Armor is proud to offer the first drone detection app that is available on both Apple and Android mobile devices.

Can you film private property with a drone? ›

The part of privacy law that applies is that you are entitled to not be photographed or filmed in any place where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. So if you are on private property, in your back garden for example, then this would apply.

Can you fly a drone from your living room? ›

In practice, we've found that we can fly most drones around the living room, but almost all of them with obstacle avoidance will refuse to go through a doorway.

Can I fly my drone around buildings? ›

There are a lot of good reasons why uncrewed aerial vehicles (i.e., UAVs or drones) do not fly near, let alone contact, structures such as buildings, trees, or vehicles: it is very dangerous.

How many police departments are using drones? ›

Across the country, police departments are using myriad means and resources at their disposal to stock up on drones. According to the most recent tally on the Atlas of Surveillance (a project of EFF and the University of Nevada), at least 1,172 police departments nationwide are using drones.

Can I report a drone to the police? ›

If you have any concerns about unmanned aircraft being used in your area, either from a safety or privacy perspective, contact your local police on 101. The Police often have greater resources, response times and powers of investigation than the CAA.

Can a radar detector detect a drone? ›

Radar will pick up a drone, but it may not be able to identify that object for what it is. However, in some cases, the object may not even show up, depending on how sensitive the system is and how much radar clutter has been programmed out.

Can drones see through walls? ›

Most of the drones we have today are designed to take photographs and videos from a distance. As such, they can record an image from some meters away, especially if they have powerful zoom lenses, but they are not strong enough to see through walls.

What do government drones look like at night? ›

At night, drones will look like little dots of light (either red or green) moving across the sky. Some drones will emit a blinking white/green/red light visible for several miles, and you may mistake them for stars.

What does the red light on a drone mean? ›

Red LED lights on a drone may indicate battery levels, warnings, and errors, or may denote certain flight modes as well. Other colors on the drone, including green, blue, and white, and occasionally orange/yellow and purple can indicate additional information to the user as well. What is this?

How do drone operators get caught? ›

The first step to finding local invasive drone pilots is to detect the drone. Drone detection equipment like the DJI Aeroscope uses RF (radio frequency) sensors to locate unauthorized drones in your airspace. Depending on your facility drone management policies, these drones can be neutralized, netted, or shot down.

What happens if I fly my drone over 400 feet? ›

If you dive deep into its settings, you will see that the maximum altitude is set by default to 120 meters or 400 feet. If you attempt to fly beyond this limit, the drone will simply stop gaining any more altitude and just hover in place.

What happens if I don't register my drone? ›

Failure to register a drone that requires registration may result in regulatory and criminal penalties. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three (3) years.

How do I report drone activity? ›

If you believe a drone is flying over 400ft, or flying in violation of FAA restrictions, you can report unsafe operations to the FAA at https://hotline.faa.gov/.

How do you spot a police drone at night? ›

If you want to spot a drone at night, you need to look for the sound the propellers make, the red and green navigation lights, and potentially a strobe light. You can also use a radar-like device to detect the presence of a drone close to you, even at night.

Why would a drone be flying at night? ›

There are many purposes for flying a drone at night, such as search and rescue, firefighting, surveillance, law enforcement and security, agriculture, entertainment, videography or locating a stable drone. There are inherent risks in flying an sUAS at night.

Do drones violate human rights? ›

While armed drones can result in human rights violations, unarmed drones with cameras can also be used to supplement human rights investigations. Drones offer access to targets when traditional access is unsafe or denied, and they also provide a higher level of detail than advanced satellite technology.

What are your privacy rights when it comes to drones? ›

Criminal Code Section 934.50: Drones may not be used for surveillance in violation of another party's reasonable expectation of privacy; this includes law enforcement. However, police may use drones with a valid search warrant.

Can police confiscate your drone UK? ›

The Police has dedicated drone teams located across the country, tasked with enforcing the law by handing out fines and confiscating drones if people fail to stick to the rules.

Are drone attacks legal? ›

Drone Strikes and the Protection of Civilians

Under the distinction principle, it is unlawful for combatants to deliberately target civilians. “Proportionality” requires combatants to avoid causing incidental harm to civilians that is excessive in relation to the military advantage to be gained.

Are drone strikes an act of war? ›

Drone strikes in Afghanistan and adjacent regions can fall within the law of armed conflict, but the United States has gone further and also asserted, under self-defense principles, the right to use force against senior members of terrorist groups with whom there is no armed conflict.

Can a drone be traced back to you? ›

Drones operating on RF communication can be tracked using RF sensors, while others that are GPS Pre-Programmed to a way point can be tracked using Radar detection. Visual detection technology like Pan, Tilt and Zoom (PTZ) Cameras can be used to get visuals on the detected drone, and confirm a drone threat.

Do drones violate the 4th Amendment? ›

The Supreme Court has considered the constitutionality of aerial surveillance in three cases from the 1980s (California v. Ciraolo, Florida v. Riley, Dow Chemical v. United States) and held in all three that that manned warrantless aerial surveillance does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Can I shoot down a drone looking in my window? ›

No, you cannot shoot a drone out of the sky. Drones are considered aircraft by the National Transportation Safety Board and are protected. “The same law that prevents you from shooting down a 747, or a Cessna 172, or something like that, protects our drones while we are in the air.

How do you block a drone signal? ›

Lasers: The digital cameras you find on drones use light sensors to take in visual information. It's possible to blind these sensors by exposing them to too much light—such as a laser pointer—disabling the drone's camera and preventing it from watching and recording you.

Can drones go over private property? ›

However, if a drone is flown over private property without the individual's permission, the drone operator could be liable for trespass. Furthermore, if you have told the drone operator to stop filming over your private property, and they continue to do so repeatedly, it may amount to harassment.

What do police drones detect? ›

Police drones can help by scanning the area with infrared sensors that can detect heat sources, including the human body. Drones can also be programmed to search specific areas, which makes the process more efficient.

What to do if a drone is harassing you? ›

If you witness a drone not following FAA rules, you may reach out to your local FAA flight standards district office. The FAA's investigators may be able to investigate your report and follow up with the drone operator. Unauthorized drone operators may be subject to penalties and criminal charges.

Who handles drone complaints? ›

How would I report a drone operator potentially violating the FAA rules or regulations? If your report involves a drone not following the FAA rules or regulations while flying within the National Airspace System, contact your local Flight Standards District Office.


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