ND – North Dakota

Flag courtesy of Wikipedia

Administrative building for the Standing Rock Indian Reservation

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

North Dakota government website just for reference.

The NDDOT has a NDDOT UAS Page.

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

Map courtesy of Wikipedia

Google Earth

Last updated on June 5, 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



North Dakota Code 26.1-39-27

Code 26.1-39-27

Travel, Event, and UA insurance

1. As used in this section:

a. “Event cancellation coverage” means insurance covering the cancellation of an organized event, either public or private, described in the policy, which occurs on a specified date and time.

b. “Unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

2. Unless otherwise provided under this title, the following insurance coverages are the only coverages that may cover an insured for a period of time other than beginning at 12:01am on the day on which coverage begins and ending at 12:01am on the day of expiration of the policy, as required by section 26.1-30-18:

a. Travel insurance

b. Event cancellation coverage insurance; and

c. UA liability insurance.

3. Any insurance policy covering insureds for a period of time other than beginning at 12:01am on the day on which coverage begins and ending at 12:01am on the day of expiration of the policy is subject to the provisions of sections 26.1-30-19, 26.1-30-20, and 26.1-30-21.

North Dakota Code 29-29.4

Code 29-29.4

29-29.4-01. Surveillance by UAV.


As used in this chapter:

1. “Flight data” means imaging or other observation recording.

2. “Flight information” means flight duration, flight path, and mission objective.

3. “Law enforcement agency or agents” has the meaning provided for law enforcement officer in section 12.1-01-04.

4. “Unmanned aerial vehicle” means any aerial vehicle that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention within or on the aerial vehicle. The term does not include satellites.

5. “Unmanned aerial vehicle system” means an UAV and associated elements, including communication links and the components that control the UAV, which are required for the PIC to operate safely and efficiently in state airspace.

29-29.4-02. Limitations on use of UAV system.

1. Information obtained from an UAV is not admissible in a prosecution or proceeding within the state unless the information was obtained:

a. Pursuant to the authority of a search warrant; or

b. In accordance with exceptions to the warrant requirement.

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 subdivision a or b of subsection 1 or was obtained through the monitoring of public lands or international borders.

29-29.4-03. Warrant requirements.

A warrant for the use of an UAV must satisfy the requirements of the Constitution of North Dakota. In addition, the warrant must contain a data collection statement that includes:

1. The persons that will have the power to authorize the use of the UAV;

2. The locations in which the UAV system will operate;

3. The maximum period for which the UAV system will operate in each flight; and

4. Whether the UAV system will collect information or data about individuals or groups of individuals, and if so:

a. The circumstances under which the UAV system will be used; and

b. The specific kinds of information or data the UAV system will collect about individuals and how that information or data, as well as conclusions drawn from that information or data, will be used, disclosed, and otherwise handled, including:

(1)  The period for which the information or data will be retained; and

(2)  Whether the information or data will be destroyed, and if so, when, and how the information or data will be destroyed.

29-29.4-04. Exceptions.

This chapter does not prohibit any use of an UAV for surveillance during the course of:

1. Patrol of national borders. The use of an UAV to patrol within twenty-five miles [40.23 kilometers] of a national border, for purposes of policing that border to prevent or deter the illegal entry of any individual, illegal substance, or contraband.

2. Exigent circumstances. The use of an UAV by a law enforcement agency is permitted when exigent circumstances exist. For the purposes of this subsection, exigent circumstances exist when a law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that absent swift preventative action, there is an imminent danger to life or bodily harm.

3. An environmental or weather-related catastrophe. The use of an UAV by state or local authorities to preserve public safety, protect property, survey environmental damage to determine if a state of emergency should be declared, or conduct surveillance for the assessment and evaluation of environmental or weather-related damage, erosion, flood, or contamination.

4. Research, education, training, testing, or development efforts undertaken by or in conjunction with a school or institution of higher education within the state and its political subdivisions, nor to public and private collaborators engaged in mutually supported efforts involving research, education, training, testing, or development related to UAV systems or UAV system technologies and potential applications.

29-29.4-05. Prohibited use.

1. law enforcement agency may not authorize the use of, including granting a permit to use, an UAV armed with any lethal weapons.

2. This chapter prohibits any use of an UAV for:

a. Domestic use in private surveillance. A law enforcement agency may not authorize the use of, including granting a permit to use, an UAV to permit any private person to conduct surveillance on any other private person without the express, informed consent of that other person or the owner of any real property on which that other private person is present.

b. Surveillance of the lawful exercise of constitutional rights, unless the surveillance is otherwise allowed under this chapter.

29-29.4-06. Documentation of UAV use.

1. The person authorized to conduct the surveillance under this chapter shall document all use of an UAV for surveillance. The person shall document all surveillance flights as to duration, flight path, and mission objectives.

2. The flight information must be verified as accurate and complete by the supervising person authorized by a court to conduct the surveillance.

3. The flight information required under this section must be retained for five years.

4. Any imaging or any other forms of data lawfully obtained under this chapter which are not accompanied by a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the images or data contain evidence of a crime, or are relevant to an ongoing investigation or trial, may not be retained for more than ninety days.

5. Except for the operational capabilities of the UAV system and other operational information strictly related to the technical conduct and physical security of the surveillance operation, a person accused of a crime that includes evidence gathered through the use of an UAV system surveillance may obtain all information relating to the person acquired in the course of the surveillance through subpoena and discovery proceedings available in criminal proceedings.

6. Any other person that has an interest in obtaining the documentation required by this section may obtain that documentation pursuant to chapter 44-04.

North Dakota Code 54-60-28

Code 54-60-28

UAS program – Report to legislative management.

The department may establish and administer an UAS test site, contingent upon receiving official designation by the FAA. The department shall cooperate with the university of North Dakota, the North Dakota aeronautics commission, the adjutant general, and private parties appointed by the governor in the administration of the test site. The department may charge fees sufficient to operate the test site. The department shall, to the extent possible, use competitive bidding in the establishment and administration of the test site. The commissioner may charter a public corporation to operate the test site. The corporation must possess all of the powers of a business corporation consistent with this chapter. The department shall report to the legislative management semiannually on the status of the program.

North Dakota Code 54-60-29

Code 54-60-29

UAS program fund – Continuing appropriation.

1. There is created in the state treasury a special fund known as the UAS fund, which may be used to defray the expenses of the:

a. Operations of an UAS test site officially designated by the FAA;

b. BVLOS UAS program; and

c. Enhanced use lease grant program.

2. The fund consists of fees collected for the administration of the test site and other funds appropriated by the legislative assembly. All moneys in the fund are appropriated to the department of commerce on a continuing basis for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the programs identified in subsection 1. Interest earned on moneys in the fund must be credited to the fund.

North Dakota Code 54-60-29-1

Code 54-60-29-1

BVLOS UAS program – Requirements – Report to legislative management.

The department may establish and administer a BVLOS UAS program for the design, purchase, implementation, and operating costs of a BVLOS UAS. The department shall require any entity receiving funding for this program which is operating the BVLOS UAS to provide quarterly payments to the state treasurer equal to 3% of the entity’s gross income associated with the operation of the BVLOS UAS as reported in the entity’s prior year financial statements. The state treasurer shall deposit any funds received under this section in the state general fund. The department shall provide semiannual reports to the legislative management regarding the development of the BVLOS UAS program and the total amount deposited by the state treasurer in the state general fund.


American Indian Reservations in North Dakota

Filming on American Indian Reservations in North Dakota

North Dakota recognizes the independent nation status of each reservation and does not claim any authority or jurisdiction on reservation lands. The North Dakota Film Commission encourages filmmakers to respect Indian lands and people who contribute to their work so they will be welcomed to return. We also strongly support the creative control of the filmmaker.

Contacts: This production guide lists contact numbers for each North Dakota Indian reservation. Current tribal officeholders and contact information for tribal elders can be obtained through the Film Commission, the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission (701-328-2428) or the tribal office. Tribal colleges also are excellent sources for research and interviews.

Powwow Etiquette: Powwows are colorful, exciting and look great on film. But before filming or taping a powwow, please contact event organizers to discuss your purpose and what you wish to do during the event. You likely will be welcomed with open arms. Please check in at the powwow announcer’s booth when you arrive. Some portions of the powwow are considered sacred and private and may be forbidden to film. Please display deepest respect for any ceremony or reenactment of sacred ceremonies.

Cultural Sensitivities: It is a common concern of filmmakers to be sensitive to cultural and racial differences. As a rule, common courtesy and respect go very far. When in doubt about terminology, a direct but polite question will not be found offensive.

Compensation: Film crews working in North Dakota have found Indian people generous and willing to help. The Film Commission respectfully asks filmmakers to make reasonable offers of reimbursement and compensation when asking for something of value such as an interview, research or acting.

Confidentiality: Unless otherwise instructed, the North Dakota Film Commission considers all scripts, treatments and other business of the filmmaker to be proprietary and confidential. Tribes and tribal members deserve to understand the nature and scope of a project, and therefore, should be given some kind of script or treatment when asked to contribute.

American Indian Reservations

Tribal Colleges


Filming in National Parks

Special permits are required to film in any of the three units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and in the state’s two national historic sites: Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site and Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site. Certain restrictions also are in place for use of drones and other filmmaking equipment in national parks.


Filming in North Dakota with a Drone

Drone use, or the use of UAS, in productions is becoming increasingly popular across the nation. Regulations surrounding drone use continues to evolve and change.

Federal drone laws apply to every state in the US Drone regulations are enforced by the FAA. Please refer to the online resources within to learn more about responsible and safe flying in accordance with state, local and FAA regulations.

  1. Make sure you always have a visual line of sight. You never know what could be around, so keeping an eye on your drone at all times is key.
  2. Make sure you are staying within the correct flying height. A general rule from aviation authorities is flying below 400 feet or 121 meters AGL (Above Ground Level, or height from the ground or earth). Your goal is to avoid any and all possible conflict with manned aircraft such as airplanes or helicopters.
  3. Make sure you are following all local guidelines. Each city and state is a little different and in order to keep flying, you need to stay current will all local and federal rules.
  4. Don’t fly over people. It just isn’t safe. Same with flying over train tracks or at night. Safety needs to be key and at the forefront of your mind at all times.
  5. When flying a drone within approximately 5 miles to an airport you HAVE to request authorization per the FAA you are to contact LAANC.
  6. Whether you are flying for personal or business, you MUST get a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating.
  7. Drone usage at all North Dakota national parks is strictly prohibited.


Filming in North Dakota State Capitol

The North Dakota State Capitol is open to the public and does not have any restrictions on filming or photography. If someone is filming in sensitive areas such as around critical infrastructure or the governor’s residence they can probably expect a visit from a security officer to determine their intentions. Facility management may require a use permit for certain activities on the Capitol Grounds.

Drone operators may desire to film and photograph the State Capitol using a drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Functions of state government have priority for use of the Capitol, and drone/UAV operation cannot interfere with functions of state government or present a possible threat to public safety.

  1. The use of a drone/UAV inside the Capitol Complex is prohibited.
  2. The Capitol Complex is within the five (5) mile zone circumscribing the Bismarck Municipal Airport and all drone operators must fulfill all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations required for operating aircraft within the defined five (5) mile zone.
  3. Drone/UAV operators may request permission, in advance, to fly a drone/UAV within the defined Capitol Complex by submitting a Capitol Use Request Form from Facility Management describing the purpose of the drone/UAV request. The request shall include the name/agency/organization and all contact information, the date, time and duration of the flight, and the type of drone/UAV and equipment to be used.
  4. The Capitol Use Request form must be submitted to Facility Management at least fifteen (15) days prior to the intended use date.
  5. A written response to the applicant will be provided by Facility Management.

Grand Forks Ordinance Code 9-0202

Grand Forks Ordinance Code 9-0202

Landing and takeoff of aircraft at unauthorized airports, helipads, or other unauthorized locations prohibited.

(1) Except as otherwise permitted herein, it is unlawful for any person, operator, corporation, association or firm to cause or permit the landing or takeoff of any aircraft within the city limits of Grand Forks except at an authorized helipad, airport or other locations approved by the city council.

(2) The prohibition under this section shall not apply to the landing or takeoff of aircraft at heliports or airports authorized by the FAA or the city council nor shall this section apply to the use, training or demonstration involving aircraft for law enforcement, emergency, military or medical purposes nor shall the prohibition under this section apply to aircraft utilized for educational, demonstrative or research purposes at the University of North Dakota. Further, the prohibition under this section shall not apply to such other landings or takeoffs at locations approved by the city council.

(3) In considering any application or request for authorization of locations for the landing or takeoff of aircraft in the city limits, the city council shall consider anticipated weather conditions, the existence of obstructions, size of proposed location, the proximity of the landing and/or takeoff location to schools, residential areas, commercial areas or structures, proximity to roadways, proposed landing surfaces, hours of operation, noise, and any other condition or circumstance to determine whether the proposed landing or takeoff location may be hazardous to property or unreasonably endanger persons or otherwise be detrimental to the health, safety, comfort, convenience and welfare of the public.

(4) Any landing or takeoff location authorized by the city council shall be utilized in conformance with the terms of any such conditions or requirements that are imposed by the city council in its discretion.

(5) For purposes of this section aircraft means any device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air, including, but not limited to, airplanes, gliders, ultralight aircraft, blimps, jets, hot-air balloons, helicopters, parachutes, and UAV/UAS weighing more than fifty-five (55) pounds. The term “aircraft” however shall not include UAVs, UAS, or model aircraft which are not designed, intended nor capable of carrying persons and which weigh fifty-five (55) pounds or less.

North Dakota Game and Fish Rules

North Dakota Game and Fish

Drones. Use of drones, or any unmanned radio-controlled aircraft, is prohibited unless authorized by the director. *Rules specific to a certain WMA, other than the previously mentioned, are posted at the WMA entrances.

North Dakota Park Rules

North Dakota Park Rules

58-02-08-02. Definitions.

In this chapter, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires:

14. “Unmanned aircraft system” or “UAS” means an unmanned aircraft and the equipment necessary for the safe and efficient operation of that aircraft.

58-02-08-16.1. Unmanned aircraft systems.

The operation of any unmanned aircraft system for hobby, recreation, or commercial purposes within any lands owned, leased, or managed by the department is prohibited unless authorized by the director or deputy director. Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a class 2 noncriminal offense.

University Drone Policies

Dickinson State University

North Dakota State University

University of Mary Washington

University of North Dakota – Aeronautics Commission

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

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)

Northern Plains UAS Test Site

2023 – FAA Grants Initial Approval Allowing BVLOS Drone Flights on Vantis, North Dakota’s Drone System


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 Pow-Wow at Standing Rock Indian Reservation, 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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