Can You Fly FPV Drone at Night? (Yes, But…)

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One common question I often receive from my students and social media followers is, “Can I fly my drone at night in the USA?” The answer is a resounding yes!

As a seasoned drone enthusiast with years of experience, I’m here to share everything you need to know about the exhilarating experience of flying your FPV drone at night in the USA.

However, it’s crucial to adhere to the rules and regulations to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Let’s dive into the details.

Recreational FPV drones vs. commercial FPV drones

To understand the regulations better, let’s explore the differences between recreational and commercial flights.


  • Any hobby drone can be flown at night
  • Navigation lights are required
  • Follow standard rules


  • A strobe light is required on the FPV drone
  • The light must be visible at three statute miles
  • The light must be white or red in color
  • A test or training for night flying is required

Recreational FPV drone flying at night

If you’re a hobbyist, you’re in luck!

You can fly your drone at night without any permits or certifications.

However, to prioritize safety, it’s important to ensure your drone has lights on it for visibility in the dark. While there are no specific regulations regarding the type of lights required, most drones come with two pairs of LED lights as standard.

Alongside the lighting requirement, all other flight rules from daytime apply, including:

  • Don’t fly in controlled airspace.
  • Don’t fly under the influence.
  • Register your FPV drone if it weighs over 0.55 lbs (250g).
  • Keep your FPV drone below 400 feet above the ground.
  • Keep an eye on your FPV drone at all times.
  • Stay away from airports and emergency response activities.
  • Don’t fly over people or moving vehicles (especially in crowded areas).

FPV drone flying at night for commercial purposes

For commercial drone pilots, the rules have evolved as of March 2021. You no longer need a nighttime waiver, but you must complete night flight operations training.

If you already possess a part 107 Certificate, you can fly at night by completing recurring free online training provided by the FAA.

However, if you don’t have a part 107 certificate, you’ll need to take the standard Aeronautical Knowledge test, which includes the new night flying training module.

The benefit of flying FPV drones at night

As an experienced drone enthusiast with several years of flying various models, I can attest to the unique thrill of flying an FPV drone at night.

It offers an unparalleled experience that can’t be matched during daylight hours. Imagine the city lights, stars, and moon creating a breathtaking and surreal backdrop for your flight, providing a perspective that’s simply not possible during the day.

Additionally, with fewer visual distractions, the lights on your drone stand out more clearly against the dark sky, making it easier to fly and maintain control.

Flying at night also requires heightened skill and attention, adding to the challenge and excitement of the experience.

The importance of Anti-Collision lights for FPV drones

While drones are required to have lights, it’s essential to distinguish between recreational and commercial drone lighting during night operations.

For hobbyist drone fliers, the standard navigation LED lights that come with the drone are sufficient.

However, commercial pilots are mandated to use blinking/strobe anti-collision lights that are visible for a minimum of 3 statute miles.

These lights can be either white or red, significantly brighter than navigation lights.

What anti-collision lights do you need on the FPV drone to fly at night?

The FAA specifies two types of drone lights: Drone Navigation Lights and Drone Anti-Collision Lights.

Drone navigation lights (for recreational FPV drones)

  • These lights usually come with the drone itself and stay steady (they don’t blink)
  • They are usually two red LEDs in the front and two green ones in the back, which help with orientation.

Drone Anti-Collision lights (for commercial FPV drones)

  • They are either white or red (not green).
  • These lights must be blinking/strobe lights (not fixed ones).
  • They can be seen at a minimum of 3 statute miles (much brighter than navigation lights).

The standard lights on most drones, like DJI ones, aren’t going to be observable that far, so you’ll need a powerful strobe light to make the UAV more visible.

However, they are still enough for hobby use and orientation in the air.

To make sure that your drone is as visible as possible, the strobe light must be mounted on the top or sides of the drone. Also, make sure that the light has a proper flash rate.

Tips to fly the FPV drone at night

Check local weather conditions

Weather can significantly impact your drone’s performance, so always check the local weather conditions before you fly.

Keep the FPV drone in line of sight

This is not only mandatory by law, but it’s also much more essential to keep track of at night for cases where you’re losing signal or having a hard time seeing obstacles on your drone camera.

Manage battery life

Nighttime flying can consume more battery life, so ensure you have enough battery power for your flight.

Get a strobe light

Even though you’re flying recreationally, a strobe light can significantly improve visibility.

Familiarize yourself with the flight path during the daylight hours

Surveying the area during the daytime can help you detect potential obstacles that can get on your path at night.

Keep track of the way the drone is facing

Most drones have two red lights in front and two green ones in the back. Check the setup on yours so you know how to pilot it back to safety manually in case you lose the signal.

Keep track of the altitude, GPS position, and distance from you

This essential data can usually be found in your drone app or controller. It makes it easier to know the right direction for a manual or automatic return home.

Fly high

Keeping the drone at a high altitude (still under 400ft) makes it much less likely to crash into obstacles.

Don’t think the obstacle sensors will save you

Obstacle avoidance sensors or cameras usually don’t work at night, so you’ll be the captain of the ship this time.

Best FPV drones for night flying

Now let’s address the question of whether specific FPV drones are suitable for night flying:

  • DJI Avata: Flying the DJI Avata at night is possible as long as there is some level of illumination in the area. However, it’s not advisable to fly in total darkness due to limited visibility and the absence of infrared cameras.
  • DJI FPV Combo: The DJI FPV combo is suitable for night flying, provided you have an illuminated takeoff and landing spot and avoid flying in total darkness.
  • iFlight Nazgul 5: The iFlight Nazgul Evoque F5 is designed for night flying, equipped with LED lights inside and light pipes on the arms, bottom plate, and side panels. These customizable LED lights create an impressive visual experience when flying at night. Always ensure you adhere to local regulations and fly responsibly.

Final words

Flying an FPV drone at night offers an exhilarating and unforgettable experience for drone enthusiasts.

By adhering to the regulations and guidelines, you can enjoy the unique perspective and challenge that nighttime flying provides.

Remember to prioritize safety, stay within the permitted flight limits, and have a fantastic time exploring the thrilling world of FPV drone flying at night!

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Written By Marshall Abrams

My name is Marshall Abrams, and I am a filmmaker and FPV pilot who's been flying professionally for about four years now. Thanks to FPV, I get to travel to so many amazing places, and it's honestly completely changed how I run my business.

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