MT – Montana

Flag courtesy of Wikipedia

Morning Glory Pool is a hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Montana government website just for reference.

The MTDOT has a MTDOT UAS Page.

Montana 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



Montana Statute 7-1-111


Title 7 – Local Government

Chapter 1 – General Provisions

Part 1 – Nature of Self-Government Local Governments

Limited Preemption

Powers Denied

A local government unit with self-government powers is prohibited from exercising the following:

(20) any power to enact an ordinance governing the private use of an UAV in relation to a wildfire;


Montana Statute 46-5-109


Title 46 – Criminal Procedure

Chapter 5 – Search and Seizure

Part 1 – Legality and Admissibility

Limitations On UAVs

(1) In any prosecution or proceeding within the state of Montana, information from an UAV is not admissible as evidence unless the information was obtained:

(a) pursuant to the authority of a search warrant;

(b) in accordance with judicially recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement; or

(c) during the investigation of a motor vehicle crash scene that occurs on or involves a public roadway.

(2) Information obtained from the operation of an UAV 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 (1)(a), (1)(b), or (1)(c).

(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.

Montana Statute 76-13-214


Title 76 – Land Resources and Use

Chapter 13 – Timber Resources

Part 2 – Provision of Fire Protection Services

Obstruction Of Aerial Wildfire Suppression Effort – Penalty – Exceptions

(1) A person may not obstruct, impede, prevent, or otherwise interfere with a lawful aerial wildfire suppression response by a state or local government effort by any means, including by the use of an UAV system.

(2) A person who violates subsection (1) is liable for a civil penalty to the state or local government for an amount equivalent to the reasonable costs of obstructing, impeding, preventing, or interfering with an aerial wildfire suppression response effort. The penalty may not exceed the actual flight costs of the aerial wildfire suppression response effort that was obstructed, impeded, prevented, or interfered with.

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to the operation of an UAV system conducted by a unit or agency of the US government or of a state, tribal, or local government, including any individual conducting an operation pursuant to a contract or other agreement entered into with the unit or agency, for the purpose of protecting the public safety and welfare, including firefighting, law enforcement, or emergency response.

(4) As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

(a) “Unmanned aerial vehicle” means an aircraft that is:

(i) capable of sustaining flight; and

(ii) operated with no possible direct human intervention from on or within the aircraft.

(b) “Unmanned aerial vehicle system” means the entire system used to operate an UAV, including:

(i) the UAV;

(ii) communications equipment;

(iii) navigation equipment;

(iv) controllers;

(v) support equipment; and

(vi) autopilot functionality.

(c) “Wildfire” means an unplanned, unwanted fire burning uncontrolled and consuming vegetative fuels.

(d) “Wildfire suppression” means an effort to contain, extinguish, or suppress a wildfire.

City of Missoula Code

City of Missoula Code


Prohibited Conduct at City of Missoula parks, trails, and conservation lands.

A. Unless used by Authorized Persons with the authorization of the Director of the City Parks and Recreation Department, the following activities are prohibited in any Missoula city park, trail. Or conservation lands, without express written permission of Parks and Recreation Director or his or her designee. The City Parks and Recreation Board or City Parks and Recreation Director may establish administrative operating rules and policies in addition to the prohibitions set forth herein.

3. Flying or launching powered model airplanes, rockets, drones, or other unmanned aerial systems except as authorized by permit;

Montana State Parks Rules

Montana State Parks


(1) Launching or operating an unmanned aircraft system, drone, or model aircraft from a state park is prohibited unless:

(a) use is authorized by a commercial use or special use permit; or

(b) use occurs within an area specifically designated for such use by the park manager.


University Drone Policies

Carroll College

Montana State University

Rocky Mountain College

Salish Kootenai College

University of Montana

University of Providence

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 filming a wedding at the Morning Glory Pool, a hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park, 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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