IA – Iowa

Flag courtesy of Wikipedia

Harvesting corn in Jones County

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Iowa government website just for reference.

The IADOT has a IADOT UAS Page.

Iowa Legislature in case more laws were written since this book was published.

Map courtesy of Wikipedia

Google Earth

Last updated on June 4, 2024


In addition to checking the FAA UAS Facility Map or B4UFLY or SkyVector or Google Maps one should consider also FAA JO 7400.10F – Special Use Airspace which is an order, published yearly, providing a listing of all regulatory and non-regulatory special use airspace areas, as well as issued but not yet implemented amendments to those areas established by the FAA.

Special Use Airspace consists of airspace of defined dimensions identified by an area on the surface of the earth wherein activities must be confined because of their nature, or wherein limitations are imposed upon aircraft operations that are not a part of those activities, or both. The vertical limits of special use airspace are measured by designated altitude floors and ceilings expressed as flight levels or as feet above MSL. Unless otherwise specified, the word “to” (an altitude or flight level) means “to and including” (that altitude or flight level). The horizontal limits of special use airspace are measured by boundaries described by geographic coordinates or other appropriate references that clearly define their perimeter. The period of time during which a designation of special use airspace is in effect is stated in the designation. All bearings and radials in this part are true from point of origin. Unless otherwise specified, all mileages in this part are stated as statute miles.

Restricted Areas: No person may operate an aircraft within a restricted area between the designated altitudes and during the time of designation, unless they have the advance permission of:

(a) The using agency described in § 73.15; or

(b) The controlling agency described in § 73.17.

These using agencies may be the agency, organization, or military command whose activity within a restricted area necessitated the area being so designated. Upon the request of the FAA, the using agency shall execute a letter establishing procedures for joint use of a restricted area by the using agency and the controlling agency, under which the using agency would notify the controlling agency whenever the controlling agency may grant permission for transit through the restricted area in accordance with the terms of the letter. The using agency shall:

(1) Schedule activities within the restricted area;

(2) Authorize transit through, or flight within, the restricted area as feasible; and

(3) Contain within the restricted area all activities conducted therein in accordance with the purpose for which it was designated.

For the purposes of this part, the controlling agency is the FAA facility that may authorize transit through or flight within a restricted area in accordance with a joint-use letter issued under § 73.15.

Prohibited Areas: No person may operate an aircraft within a prohibited area unless authorization has been granted by the using agency. For the purpose of this subpart, the using agency is the agency, organization or military command that established the requirements for the prohibited area.

Military Operations Areas: A Military Operations Area (MOA) is airspace established outside of Class A airspace to separate/segregate certain nonhazardous military activities from IFR traffic and to identify for VFR traffic where these activities are conducted. Activities. MOA’s are established to contain certain military activities such as air combat maneuvers, air intercepts, acrobatics, etc.

Alert Areas:  Airspace which may contain a high volume of pilot training activities or an unusual type of aerial activity, neither of which is hazardous to aircraft.

Warning Areas: A non regulatory warning area is airspace of defined dimensions designated over international waters that contains activity which may be hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft. The purpose of such warning areas is to warn nonparticipating pilots of the potential danger. Activities may be hazardous.

National Security Areas: A national security area (NSA) consists of airspace of defined vertical and lateral dimensions established at locations where there is a requirement for increased security of ground facilities. The purpose of such national security areas is to request pilot cooperation by voluntarily avoiding flight through the NSA. When circumstances dictate a need for a greater level of security, flight in an NSA may be temporarily prohibited by regulation under the provisions of 14 CFR Section 99.7, Special Security Instructions. Such prohibitions will be issued by FAA Headquarters and disseminated via the US NOTAM System.




Crewed Aircraft in your Airspace


Lastly, if you want to be informed about crewed aircraft flying in the vicinity of your drone operation, you can always check with apps like FlightAware or ADS-B Exchange



Iowa Code 719.9


Use of unmanned aerial vehicle prohibitions.

1. As used in this section:

a. “Facility” means a county jail, municipal holding facility, secure facility for the detention or custody of juveniles, community-based correctional facility, or institution under the management of the department of corrections.

b. “Unmanned aerial vehicle” means a vehicle or device that uses aerodynamic forces to achieve flight and is piloted remotely.

2. A person shall not operate an UAV knowing that the UAV is operating in, on, or above a facility and any contiguous real property comprising the surrounding grounds of the facility, unless the UAV is operated by a law enforcement agency or the person has permission from the authority in charge of the facility to operate an UAV in, on, or above such facility.

3. This section does not apply to an UAV while operating for commercial use in compliance with FAA regulations, authorizations, or exemptions.

4. A person who violates this section commits a class “D” felony.

Iowa Code 808.15


Unmanned aerial vehicle information admissibility.

Information obtained as a result of the use of an UAV is not admissible as evidence in a criminal or civil proceeding, unless the information is obtained pursuant to the authority of a search warrant, or unless the information is otherwise obtained in a manner that is consistent with state and federal law.

Iowa Code 321.492B

IC 321.492B

Use of UAV for traffic law enforcement prohibited.

The state or a political subdivision of the state shall not use an UAV for traffic law enforcement.

Iowa City Code 9-11

Iowa City Code 9-11


As used in this chapter:

AUTOMATIC LICENSE PLATE RECOGNITION SYSTEM: A computer based system(s) that captures an image of a license plate(s) and converts it to a data file to be compared with databases or hot lists generated by various law enforcement agencies, and which produces an alert when there is a match between the collected license plate data and those databases.

AUTOMATIC TRAFFIC SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM OR DEVICE: A device or devices including, but not limited to, a camera system(s) that uses any electronic, photographic, video, digital, or computer system designed for the purpose of producing a photograph, microphotograph, videotape, digital video, or other recorded image or digital record of a vehicle and/or its operator and/or its occupants that is used to establish identity or ownership of a vehicle and/or identify its operator, owner, or occupants.

DOMESTIC DRONE, DRONE, OR UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE: An aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator that can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely that is equipped with one or more onboard cameras or other sensors for registering, observing, or recording persons, objects, or events or for transmitting such information as it is occurring or thereafter.

PARKING ENFORCEMENT ATTENDANT: Agents or employees designated to enforce the parking ordinances of the city.

QUALIFIED TRAFFIC LAW VIOLATION: A violation of any of the following:

A. Any state or local law relating to compliance with a traffic control signal or railroad crossing sign or signal;

B. Any state or local law limiting the speed of a motor vehicle; or

C. Any state or local law regulating motor vehicle parking.

TICKET: Any traffic ticket, citation, summons, or other notice of liability, whether civil, criminal, or administrative, issued in response to an alleged qualified traffic law violation detected or recorded by a traffic surveillance system or device. (Ord. 13-4539, 6-18-2013)

University Drone Policies

University of Iowa Filming on Campus – requires explicit written permission for all film, photo, and video shooting on University property done for commercial purposes. The Office of Strategic Communication (OSC) is the designated office for receiving requests to film, coordinating their evaluation, granting or denying approval, and coordinating University support for approved activities.


Note: This list is just a sample… many more could be added.

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)


Short Essay Questions

Question 1

You have been hired by a Drone Startup Company. Your boss has immediately assigned this job to you.

They need you to prepare a one-page memo detailing the legalities of surveying the crops belonging to a farmer in Jones County, pictured above.

They need you to mention any state laws and local ordinances.

They specifically want to know what airspace you will be operating in, and whether or not you need an airspace authorization, with or without LAANC capability.

Lastly, there is a bonus for you if, as you scroll through this chapter, you find any typos or broken links!

Question 2

Do the state drone laws implicate the First Amendment? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 3

Do the state drone laws implicate the Fourth Amendment? Or involve law enforcement officers obtaining warrants? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 4

Do the state drone laws contain a preemption clause? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 5

Does the state have UAM/AAM laws? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 6

Are you aware of any new laws or policies not mentioned above? If so, describe, citing the exact law or policy.





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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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