The FAA has made a list of national monuments and historic sites off limits to drones within 400 feet of the lateral boundaries, citing concerns by the Department of the Interior (DOI.) The FAA says that it will consider adding more sites to the list of 10 published yesterday as other federal agencies request restrictions. The new restrictions will take effect on October 5.
“At the request of U.S. national security and law enforcement agencies, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is using its 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, including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore,” says the agency.
The sites listed are:
- 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
The new restrictions will have a significant impact on drone operators – a quick Google search on “drone photos of Statue of Liberty,” for example, results in thousands of images. But the FAA says that operators who violate the new restrictions may be subject to civil penalties and possible criminal charges.
This represents the first time that the FAA has restricted the space over monuments. Similar restrictions exist over military bases.
The FAA has created tools to make operators aware of the restrictions, and warn that special cases will be few: “There are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within these restrictions, and they must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA,” says the agency.
“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.”