Lady Liberty is a No-Fly Zone

October 2, 2017

On September 28, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a new set of drone flight restrictions – this time covering 10 landmarks including the Statue of Liberty. Effective October 5, 2017, unauthorized drones may not fly within 400 feet of the lateral boundaries of:

  • 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 FAA’s first set of drone-specific airspace restrictions, released last April, barred unauthorized drone operations up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of 133 military facilities.  In both cases, the FAA banned flights using its existing authority under 14 C.F.R. § 99.7 – “Special Security Instructions” – which directs each person operating an aircraft in an Air Defense Identification Zone or Defense Area to comply with special security instructions issued by the FAA Administrator in the interest of national security. 

The FAA will likely continue to enact additional drone-specific airspace restrictions in the future.  The FAA’s press release notes that the FAA is also considering additional requests from federal agencies for restrictions under the FAA’s § 99.7 authority.  Restrictions over other types of facilities may be forthcoming as well.  Last summer’s FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 Section 2209 directed the Secretary of Transportation to “establish a process to allow applicants to petition the Administrator of the [FAA] to prohibit or restrict the operation of an unmanned aircraft in close proximity to a fixed site facility,” such as critical infrastructure, oil refineries and chemical facilities, amusement parks, and other locations that warrant such restrictions.   

More information about the FAA’s current rules for commercial drone operations is available here

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