Flying Drones in Cleveland Metroparks

Cleveland Metroparks recently released a set of drone regulations which specify what, where, and when you can fly in the park district.

As of August 2018, there are three sites specified for year-round flying, plus many of the golf fairways between Nov 1 and March 15.  (See the Metroparks drone regs page for the most current list.)  Note that except for what’s listed there, it is against Metroparks’ rules to fly drones anywhere in the parks.

This past weekend I decided to check out the drone site at Mill Stream Run.  I had a really difficult time finding it.  I mean really difficult.  There are no signs, and it’s not marked in any way.  The are is not marked on the online map of Mill Stream Run, and not described in detail in any material that I could find.  This flight area is a recent introduction by the Metroparks so everything is obviously still pretty new.  I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Metroparks’ website lists it as “Main Street Diamond located in Mill Stream Run Reservation”.  After driving the length of the park and several surrounding roads, I finally located what I believed to be the correct site.  I was able to confirm by phone with park staff today, that I was in the right place.  For anyone who is trying to find it, here’s the location.

On the south side of Main Street, in Middleburg Heights, between Eastland Rd. and Oxford Dr.  The parking lot is right beside the railroad tracks, and across the street from an rather large electrical substation.  The “Main Street Diamond” appears to be an old ballfield which has since been returned to a semi-natural state.  Older satellite and street view photos of the area show a groomed baseball diamond surrounded by mowed grass, with a fence behind home plate, and two small bleachers.  But the bleachers and fence are now gone, along with the (useful) Metroparks sign. The once-groomed dirt diamond is nearly impossible to see from the road.  All of the grass and weeds are knee high.

If you are planning to fly here, you should note a couple of things:

  • The FAA’s B4UFly app says it’s within 5 miles of Cleveland Hopkins airport.  Thus if you are flying 336 (rec/hobby) you are required to notify the airport and ATC tower, and if you’re flying 107 (pro) you need FAA permission or a waiver.
  • B4UFly also shows the site as within 5 miles of Southwest General Hospital heliport, so they will need notification also.
  • The site is within Hopkin’s Class B airspace, which means you must do more than simply notify the ATC tower.  You actually have to have at least a short conversation with them, and get their approval.  See this link for helpful info.
  • There are high-voltage power lines, as well as an electrical substation nearby.
View of the original ballfield (no longer looks like this)
Location of the Mill Stream Run drone area.

Here’s a link to the site in Google Maps.

Here’s Google Street View from 2016.  Note the ballfield is no longer groomed, but importantly you should have a look around at large number of high-voltage power lines in the area.

Hope you find this helpful!  If you have anything to add or correct please let me know via contact info on my home page.