Model Airplanes & Drones

a person looking at model airplanes

Fly your model airplane or drone at designated areas throughout the Forest Preserves.

On this page:


Model Airplane Flying Fields

Model airplane flying is allowed only at these locations. Please review the Model Airplane Flying Field Regulations before flying.


Deer Grove-East
W Dundee Rd, west of N Hicks Rd
Cook County, IL 60074 (view web map of Deer Grove-East)
(near Palatine)

Kickapoo Woods
Halsted St, south of W 144th St
Riverdale, IL 60827 (view web map of Kickapoo Woods)

Miller Meadow Model Airplane Flying Field
1st Ave Cutoff, north of Cermak Rd
(near Forest Park)

Morrill Meadow
107th St, west of La Grange Rd
Cook County, IL 60480 (view web map of Morrill Meadow)
(near Willow Springs)

Ned Brown Meadow
(part of Busse Woods)
Golf Rd, east of I-290/Hwy 53
Cook County, IL 60007 (view web map of Ned Brown Meadow)
(near Elk Grove Village)

Poplar Creek Model Airplane Flying Field
(part of Arthur L. Janura Preserve)
Shoe Factory Rd, east of Bartlett Rd

Schiller Model Airplane Flying Field
W Irving Park Rd, west of N Cumberland Ave

Thorn Creek Model Airplane Flying Field
Stoney Island Ave, south of 186th St
(near Chicago Heights)

Tinley Creek Model Airplane Flying Field
Cicero Ave, south Flossmoor Rd
(near Country Club Hills)

Model Airplane Flying Field Regulations

  • All pilots must hold and provide proof of either:
    • a current Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) membership; OR
    • a certificate of liability insurance (e.g. home owner’s insurance) naming the “Forest Preserve District of Cook County” as an additional insuree, and the insurance must have a liability limit of at least $1 million
  • Flying only allowed at approved locations.
  • Flying before sunrise and after sunset is prohibited.
  • All pilots must use current AMA safety codes, and follow all Forest Preserves ordinances, rules and regulations.
  • Flying permitted inside flight boundaries only. Flying near pits, spectators, parking lots, roadways or neighboring homes is prohibited.
  • Flying or taxiing in or out of pit area is prohibited. All pilots must fly from designated flight stations.
  • All planes must use noise-arresting mufflers.
  • All pilots must clearly display frequency I.D. on transmitter antenna. AMA site frequency control procedures must be followed.
  • All pilots must use appropriate announcement when taking off, landing or in emergency situations.
  • All spectators must remain behind pit area.
  • Flying by individuals under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances is prohibited.
  • Violators will be subject to penalties—including, but not limited to, monetary fines, loss of flying privileges, and/or criminal prosecution.

To obtain a rental permit for a contest or demonstration at a designated model airplane flying field, please email fpd.permits@cookcountyil.gov or call 800-870-3666.


Drone Flying

Drone flying is allowed only at these locations. Please note additional restrictions at each location and review Drone Regulations before flying.


Blue Star Memorial Woods
E Lake Ave, east of Wagner Rd

In unoccupied picnic groves or mowed areas only.


Deer Grove-East
W Dundee Rd, west of N Hicks Rd
Cook County, IL 60074 (view web map of Deer Grove-East)
(near Palatine)

At model airplane flying field only. Subject to applicable Model Airplane Flying Field Regulations.


Midlothian Meadows
Crawford Ave, north of W 159th St
Cook County, IL 60428 (view web map of Midlothian Meadows)

In unoccupied picnic groves or mowed areas only. Prohibited Saturdays & Sundays between Memorial Day & Labor Day.


Miller Meadow Model Airplane Flying Field
1st Ave Cutoff, north of Cermak Rd
(near Forest Park)

At model airplane flying field only. Subject to applicable Model Airplane Flying Field Regulations.


Ned Brown Meadow
(part of Busse Woods)
Golf Rd, east of I-290/Hwy 53
Cook County, IL 60007 (view web map of Ned Brown Meadow)
(near Elk Grove Village)

At model airplane flying field only. Subject to applicable Model Airplane Flying Field Regulations.


Plum Creek Meadow
Burnham Ave, north of 223rd St
Cook County, IL 60411 (view web map of Plum Creek Meadow)
(near Chicago Heights)

In unoccupied picnic groves or mowed areas only.


Poplar Creek Model Airplane Flying Field
(part of Arthur L. Janura Preserve)
Shoe Factory Rd, east of Bartlett Rd

At model airplane flying field only. Subject to applicable Model Airplane Flying Field Regulations.


Rolling Knolls
Rohrssen Rd, south of Bode Rd

Yield to disc golf course users.


Tampier Greenway Family Picnic Area
135th St, east of S Wolf Rd
(near Orland Park)

In unoccupied picnic groves or mowed areas only.


Thatcher Woods
Chicago Ave, west of Thatcher Ave
River Forest, IL 60305 (view web map of Thatcher Woods)

In unoccupied picnic groves or mowed areas only. Prohibited Saturdays & Sundays between Memorial Day & Labor Day.

Thorn Creek Model Airplane Flying Field
Stoney Island Ave, south of 186th St
(near Chicago Heights)

At model airplane flying field only. Subject to applicable Model Airplane Flying Field Regulations.


Tinley Creek Model Airplane Flying Field
Cicero Ave, south Flossmoor Rd
(near Country Club Hills)

At model airplane flying field only. Subject to applicable Model Airplane Flying Field Regulations.


Drone Regulations

Drone users are subject to applicable Model Airplane Flying Field Regulations when flying drones in Flying Fields. Read the entire drone policy here (PDF).

  • All pilots must hold and provide proof of either:*
    • a current Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) membership; OR
    • a certificate of liability insurance (e.g. home owner’s insurance) naming the “Forest Preserve District of Cook County” as an additional insuree, and the insurance must have a liability limit of at least $1 million
  • Flying only allowed at approved locations.
  • Flying before sunrise and after sunset is prohibited.
  • Ensure drones are compliant with all applicable laws, ordinances, or policies, including without limitation FAA Rules and Regulations.
  • Use drones in a courteous manner of others who are often present in the Forest Preserves for the quiet enjoyment of nature.
  • Cease operations upon request by a member of Forest Preserves staff and/or other emergency safety related personnel.
  • Refrain from operating drones in violation of privacy rights, civil rights and liberties, and transparency related federal/state/local laws, ordinances, policies, and procedures is prohibited.
  • Flying by individuals under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances is prohibited.
  • Violators will be subject to penalties—including, but not limited to, monetary fines, loss of flying privileges, and/or criminal prosecution.

*Pilots flying drones that weigh 0.55 pounds or less are not be subject insurance or AMA membership requirements.