Knowing Where You Can Fly a UAV – FAA Adds More Restricted Airspace Locations

The UAV Services Group here at GEO Jobe has been going gangbusters this year and there’s no sign of that slowing down! We fly missions for a broad range of clients ranging from local government, utilities, airports, developers, and even marinas. Of particular importance to us (and anyone who’s flying unmanned vehicles) are the rules and regulations set out by the FAA. These regs specify who can fly, where and when you can fly, and other rules that keep a business like ours in compliance. 

where can you fly your uav?

Recently, the FAA has added a number of popular sites and landmarks to the growing list of no-fly zones. These recent additions include a number of historic sites and popular landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty Park. These rules fall under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR).

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

  • 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 restrictions will be effective October 5, 2017. 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. We point these changes out as it is of vital importance that anyone who flies a UAV or is thinking of hiring a professional or company to fly a mission be aware of these and other important rules and regulations – indeed, you want an educated professional in your corner!

FAA UAS Data Map

The FAA has a webmap service in ArcGIS Online  (see map below) where you can visualize no-fly areas and other special permit only and restricted airspace. The FAA UAS Data webmap can be accessed HERE.

FAA UAS map
FAA UAS Data ArcGIS webmap

So, how does one know where they can and can’t fly? There are specific regulations that all professional, licensed UAV pilots must follow – our team is skilled and knowledgeable in these areas. The FAA also makes available a mobile app, B4UFLY, that helps pilots identify restricted airspace.  B4UFLY is an easy-to-use smartphone app that helps unmanned aircraft operators determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly.

Key features of the B4UFLY app include:

  • A clear “status” indicator that immediately informs the operator about the current or planned location. For example, it shows flying in the Special Flight Rules Area around Washington, D.C. is prohibited.
  • Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator
  • A “Planner Mode” for future flights in different locations
  • Informative, interactive maps with filtering options
  • Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information
  • See more about B4UFLY (PDF)

Knowing where you can fly and how to obtain permission to fly in special and no-fly zones can be a tricky and lengthy process. Our team has experience in securing special approval and clearance to fly in special areas, for example, we’ve secured federal authorization to fly missions at and around airports and other secure spaces.  Additional information about FAA no-fly areas can be found at https://www.faa.gov/uas/where_to_fly/

Do you have questions about how UAV technology and aerial mapping via SUAS can benefit your organization or business? See more about our team of professionals in our UAV Services Section. You can also Contact Us or follow us and drop a comment or question on Twitter & Instagram @geojobeuav – our team is glad to assist you and can even provide you with an estimate on your next UAV job.

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