The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) addresses concerns regarding unauthorized drone operations over 10 Department of Interior (DOI) sites by issuing new drone restrictions. After requests from the U.S. National Security and Law Enforcement Agencies, the FAA is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) § 99.7.
According to the official statement from the FAA, “The FAA and DOI have agreed to restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries” for the following major landmarks:
- 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
Although the FAA has placed similar airspace restrictions over military bases, which currently remain in place, this is the first time the agency has placed airspace restrictions for unmanned aircraft, or “drones,” over DOI landmarks.
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.
There are a few exceptions that permit drone flights within these restrictions, but they are coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.
The restrictions will go into effect on October 5th, 2017. Drone operators who violate these restrictions “may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges”.
Additional information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAA’s UAS website.