A Monumental Drone Ban

Starting on October 5, UAS operators will no longer be able to fly at these 10 locations without special permission.

If you had plans to take scenic shots of the Statue of Liberty, or diving the Hoover Dam with your new racing quad — we're looking at you, Paul 'Nurk' Nurkkala and your viral train video — the FAA may have just ruined your next drone adventure.

Beginning on October 5, the 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."

The FAA and DOI have agreed to restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of the following sites:

  • Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York
  • Boston National Historical Park (USS Constitution), Boston
  • Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia
  • Folsom Dam, Folsom, California
  • Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell, Arizona
  • Grand Coulee Dam, Grand Coulee, Washington State
  • Hoover Dam, Boulder City, Nevada
  • Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota
  • Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, California

If you must have the shot you better start coordinating with the FAA and specific location facilities now, because it's your only shot of legally flying any of the above listed locations. "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," the FAA said. "Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges."

The FAA has made it easy for the public to stay aware of restricted locations, creating an interactive map online. There are also links to the restrictions in its B4UFLY mobile app. The app will be updated within 60 days to reflect these airspace restrictions, and any additional information is available on the FAA’s UAS website.

Don’t be surprised if future bans come out under the FAA’s § 99.7 authority as they are fielding additional requests from other agencies for restrictions.

A special thanks to Vic Moss of DroneU.