A public outreach effort announced by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday apparently failed to reach the ears of a man who was detained by police Thursday for flying a drone near the White House.
The FAA reminded the public that Washington, D.C. and communities within a 15-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are a “No Drone Zone.”
“The agency wants to ensure residents and tourists all understand that flying an unmanned aircraft in this area for any purpose is against the law,” the FAA noted, in materials that were widely disseminated.
Rules put in place after the 9/11 attacks establish “national defense airspace” over the D.C. area and limit aircraft operations – including unmanned aircraft – to those with an FAA and Transportation Security Administration authorization. Violators may face stiff fines and criminal penalties.
One of those violators flew a drone 100 feet above Lafayette Park near the White House yesterday. He was instructed to land the craft in the park and was taken into custody by the U.S. Park Police. The drone was examined and declared safe by the Metropolitan Police Department.
President Barack Obama was at Camp David at the time of the incident, which is one of a series of drone fly-bys in the nation’s capital. Earlier this year, a man landed a drone on the White House grounds.