How to report illegal drone use:

Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) Kentucky

Office Address Phone Service Area Contact Website
Louisville 10200 Forest Green Blvd.
Louisville, KY 40223
(502) 753-4200 Service Area (PDF) Contact Website

Or make a report here:

What are some of the situations that could imply illegal drone use?

  • A drone between .55 and 50 lbs that isn’t registered.  The registration number should be visible or easily accessible without tools, such as in the battery compartment.
  • A drone flying within 5 miles within a towered airport.  There should be some type of authorization.
  • A drone flying for payment or commercial use by a recreational pilot.  Any connection to commercial use is commercial. The pilot must be an FAA Remote Certified  Pilot with appropriate credentials.  This would be similar to a person without a realtor license acting as an agent, or handyman doing electrical or plumbing work without a license.  You cannot fly your own drone to take pictures of your own house and then use the pictures to sell your own home without the Part 107 or 333 Exemption.
  • A drone operator flying beyond line of sight.  The drone operator must have visual line of sight at all times.  If the operator can’t point to the drone, and no visual observer is in contact with he pilot, the operation is probably illegal.
  • A drone that is flying above 400 ft, or near manned aircraft.  If the drone is around or above other manned aircraft, it’s probably illegal!
  • A drone that is flying 30 minutes after sunset.  Several regulations kick in to fly a drone more than 30 minutes past sunset.  The operator should be able to present some kind of FAA approved waiver and the drone will most likely need additional illumination.  Drones flying over fireworks events are most likely illegal as well
  • A drone that is flying over people such as a sporting even, practice, graduation,. beach, or people not involved in the operation of the drone.  it is possible to get an approved waiver from the FAA, but not likely.  In either case, the drone operator should have the documentation in their possession.
  • A drone flying over an emergency response event, that is not part of the emergency response.  If the drone is part of the emergency response, the pilot must have a FAA Remote Certified  Pilot Certification, or 333 Exemption.
  • A professional photographer using a drone at weddings, other events, or taking real estate photos without a Part 107 or 333 Exemption is probably illegal.  Check the FAA’s Airmen s Inquiry database to see if they are qualified. (It’s possible that the Airman submitted the paperwork to not have his information in the database.)

Tip:  If you suspect illegal drone use,  keep an eye on the drone.  Most drone will have to land within 30 minutes to change batteries.

A good Drone Pilot will have:

  1. An FAA Remote Pilot’s Certification
  2. Registered drones with registration numbers on the drones.
  3. A pref-light checklist (hard copy or electronic)
  4. Liability insurance


I’m not an attorney and I don’t work for the FAA, so vet this information out for yourself , or contact the FAA at for clarification.