Niagara Falls is one of the best places in the world to capture Drone Footage. A video of the majestic Falls, a trip over Clifton Hill, and various vineyard shots make it the ideal location. But there are rules attached to flying Drones on either side of the Canadian/US Border.
Drone Technology Advacements
Technology often moves faster than legislation. So when new gadgets and fads come onto the market, sometimes it can be a little blurry what can and can’t be done with them. A strong case in point lately has been the astounding popularity and availability of professional and personal drone devices. Originally an expensive niche hobby that is becoming more and more mainstream as sophisticated models become more affordable, the main personal use for drones is photography – either as a unique way to capture high-altitude footage or as the ultimate selfie.
But in a place like Niagara Falls, popular with drone users for the natural landscape around the waterfalls, what is allowed in terms of a drone’s use and international flight zones?
The short answer is, don’t expect to soar through the skies with absolutely no restrictions, on either side of the Falls.
Disclaimer – information is accurate up until May 25th, 2016. Please check authoratative bodies found at the end of article for update rules & regulations
Niagara Falls Canada Drone Regulations
Aerial traffic is generally regulated in Niagara Falls. On the Canadian side, the rule of thumb is that the airspace up to 3500 feet above sea level and 3000 feet above ground level is restricted space. This restriction extends from Welland River, south of the falls, to the Niagara Whirlpool.
The reason for this is twofold. First, Canada has general restrictions in place for unregistered flying craft, either piloted or unmanned, within any township – the above limitations basically covers the Canadian side of the town of Niagara Falls. Second, helicopter traffic for tours and private flights makes any unanticipated aircraft a major hazard.
Niagara Falls US Drone Regulations
In United States territories, the rules are a little more relaxed. As long as you keep the craft within eyesight, under 400 feet and at least 5 miles away from any airstrip, you’re generally okay. However, Niagara Falls International Airport is relatively close to the New York township – you might be fine closer to the river, but check your distance and ask local authorities if unsure.
Lastly, any non-recreational use of unmanned aircraft (e.g. taking photos to sell or use in professional media) requires authorisation. In the US the regulatory body is the FFA; on Canadian land, it’s Transport Canada. Make sure you know the guidelines and where it’s safe to take off.
For those interested in operating a Niagara Falls Drone, you can view each regulatory body:
- US – FAA Drone Regulations
- Canada – Transport Canada Drone Regulations
If you’re capturing the view of Niagara Falls on a Drone, Camera or just looking to experience it in person, stay at the Closest Hotel to Niagara Falls, the Niagara Falls Marriott on the Falls. View our Niagara Falls Hotel Packages