The FAA issued its Small Unmanned Aircraft Rules, or Part 107 rules, back in August of 2016. When the rules first came out they included general restrictions on where sUAS could be flown, including the requirement to obtain permission from the FAA in order to fly in Class B, C, D, and E airspace.
Since those rules were issued, the FAA has used the authority granted it by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations to establish further restrictions on where drones can be operated, in cooperation with various federal agencies such as the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), among others. Some of the sites where these restrictions have been put in place are places like national monuments, prisons, and locations connected to national security, such as military bases and nuclear power facilities.
These restrictions prohibit UAV operations up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of the designated site, and completely prohibit flying without special permission (i.e., permission that couldn’t be obtained simply by pursuing a Part 107 waiver)—check out the final section of this article to see what that special permission looks like.
The FAA issued their first list of special restrictions on April 7, 2017, when they announced the establishment of restrictions of drone operations over 133 military facilities. Since then they have made six more releases with lists of new restricted locations.
But when we looked around, we couldn’t find a comprehensive list of all of the announcements the FAA has made, so we wanted to compile them into a single resource to make them a little more approachable.
What follows is a list of all of the locations where the FAA has established flight restrictions using Title 14, organized by type (Military Bases, Landmarks, etc.), with a link to the original FAA announcement about the new restrictions.
Want to view all of these areas? Check out the FAA’s interactive online map, where you can search for and view all of the areas listed below that have special flight restrictions in place. A link to these restrictions is also included in the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app.
A List of Areas Where the FAA Has Established Restrictions on sUAS Flight
In their very first announcement regarding special flight restrictions issued on April 7, 2017, the FAA announced restrictions for flight near 133 military facilities in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD) and other U.S. federal and security and intelligence agencies.
A list of the actual facilities was not provided in this instance, but in the FAA’s announcement they direct pilots to learn more about them in their interactive online map.
Landmarks and National Monuments
An announcement on flight restrictions for these landmarks and national monument sites was issued by the FAA on September 28, 2017 in partnership with the Department of the Interior (DOI):
- 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
Read more about the FAA restrictions surrounding landmarks and national monuments in this article we wrote when they were first announced.
DOE Facilities / Nuclear Sites
An announcement on flight restrictions for these DOE facilities and nuclear sites was issued by the FAA on December 18, 2017 in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE):
- Hanford Site, Franklin County, WA
- Pantex Site, Panhandle, TX
- Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
- Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID
- Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC
- Y-12 National Security Site, Oak Ridge, TN
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
An announcement on flight restrictions for these prison sites was issued by the FAA on June 7, 2018 in partnership with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
- United States Penitentiary (USP) Tucson near Tucson, AZ
- USP Atwater near Atwater, CA
- USP Victorville near Victorville, CA
- USP Florence High near Florence, CO
- USP Florence ADMAX near Florence, CO
- USP Coleman I near Sumterville, FL
- USP Coleman II near Sumterville, FL
- USP Marion near Marion, IL
- USP Terre Haute near Terre Haute, IN
- USP Big Sandy near Inez, KY
- USP McCreary near Pine Knot, KY
- USP Pollock near Pollock, LA
- USP Yazoo City near Yazoo City, MS
- USP Allenwood near Allenwood, PA
- USP Canaan near Waymart, PA
- USP Lewisburg near Lewisburg, PA
- USP Beaumont near Beaumont, TX
- USP Lee near Pennington Gap, VA
- USP Hazelton near Bruceton Mills, WV
An announcement on flight restrictions for this prison site was issued by the FAA on June 29, 2018 in partnership with the DOJ:
- Administrative United States Penitentiary Thomson near Clinton, IL
U.S. Coast Guard and Naval Sites
An announcement on flight restrictions for these U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) sites was issued by the FAA on June 7, 2018 in partnership with the DOJ and DHS:
- USCG Baltimore Yard, MD
- USCG Base Boston, MA
- USCG Base Alameda, CA
- USCG Base Los Angeles/Long Beach (LALB), CA
- USCG Base Elizabeth City, NC
- USCG Base Kodiak, AK
- USCG Base Miami, FL
- USCG Base Portsmouth, VA
- USCG Base Seattle, WA
- USCG Operations System Center (OSC) near Martinsburg, WV
An announcement on flight restrictions for these USCG and Naval Sites was issued by the FAA on October 26, 2018 in partnership with the DOD and the USCG:
- Drone operations are required to maintain a distance of at least 3,000 feet laterally and 1,000 feet vertically from vessels operating in the vicinity of Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state.
- Drone operations are required to maintain a distance of at least 3,000 feet laterally and 1,000 feet vertically from vessels operating in the vicinity of Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia.
An announcement on flight restrictions for these Naval sites was issued by the FAA on May 18, 2018 in partnership with the DOD:
- Naval Support Activity Monterey, Monterey, CA (new)
- Naval Air Station Kingsville, Kingsville, TX (new)
- Naval Support Activity Orlando, Orlando, FL (new)
- Naval Support Activity South Potomac, Indian Head, MD (boundary change)
How can you get permission to fly in these restricted areas?
Although you can’t go through the usual airspace authorization process to obtain permission to fly in these restricted areas, there are still other ways to pursue permission.
Here is what the FAA says about getting permission to fly in these restricted areas in their FAQ:
Are there exceptions for UAS operations to fly in one of these restricted areas?
UAS operations that meet one or more of the requirements listed below may be allowed to operate within the TFR:
- The UAS flight operation has been pre-approved by the designated facility contact based on criteria established by the sponsoring federal agency in coordination with the FAA.
- The UAS flight operation is conducted in direct support of an active national defense, homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting, search and rescue, or disaster response mission, and prior notification has been provided to the designated facility contact.
- The UAS flight operation is conducted in direct support of a significant and urgent governmental interest and is approved by the FAA’s System Operations Support Center (SOSC) in advance of entering the TFR.
Want to talk to others about this list? Join the conversation in this thread on the UAV Coach community forum.