If you were hoping to view the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore by air – via your drone – you’re out of luck.
At the request of U.S. national security and law enforcement agencies, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is prohibiting drones from flying within 400 feet of a number of national monuments.
As of October 5, 2017 the following will be out of bounds for drones:
- Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York, NY
- Boston National Historical Park (U.S.S. Constitution), Boston, MA
- Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA
- Folsom Dam; Folsom, CA
- Glen Canyon Dam; Lake Powell, AZ
- Grand Coulee Dam; Grand Coulee, WA
- Hoover Dam; Boulder City, NV
- Jefferson National Expansion Memorial; St. Louis, MO
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Keystone, SD
- Shasta Dam; Shasta Lake, CA
Drone operators who violate the airspace restrictions could face civil penalties and criminal charges.
The FAA has existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) § 99.7 – “Special Security Instructions” – to address concerns about unauthorized drone operations over 10 Department of the Interior (DOI) sites.
There are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within the restrictions, and they must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.
To ensure the public is aware of these restricted locations, the FAA has created an interactive map online. The link to these restrictions is also included in the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app. The app will be updated within 60 days to reflect these airspace restrictions. Additional information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAA’s UAS website.
This is the first time the agency has placed airspace restrictions for unmanned aircraft, or “drones,” over DOI landmarks. The FAA has placed similar airspace restrictions over military bases that currently remain in place.
The agency is considering additional requests from other federal agencies for restrictions using the FAA’s § 99.7 authority as they are received.