The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has prohibited drone flights at 10 Department of the Interior (DOI) landmarks across the country. Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) § 99.7 – “Special Security Instructions” is being used by the FAA to address concerns about drone use at the 10 sites.
Staring on October 5th, drone flights will be prohibited up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of these landmarks:
- Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York City;
- Boston National Historical Park (U.S.S. Constitution) in Boston;
- Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia;
- Folsom Dam in Folsom, Calif.;
- Glen Canyon Dam in Lake Powell, Ariz.;
- Grand Coulee Dam in Grand Coulee, Wash.;
- Hoover Dam in Boulder City, Nev.;
- Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis;
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, S.D.; and
- Shasta Dam in Shasta Lake, Calif.
A few exceptions to the ban will allow drone operators to fly near these sites, but they must be handled directly with the facility and/or the FAA. Drone operators who do not comply with this ban may be subject to criminal charges and other civil penalties. An online map with the restrictions has been created by the FAA, and the FAA’s mobile app, BFUFLY, will soon be updated to include the restrictions. Although this is the first time the FAA has placed restrictions for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at DOI sites, such restrictions exist over military bases. Other federal agencies have made requests to the FAA as well, which are being considered.