The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced a public outreach campaign that reinforces a ‘no drone zone‘ for the National Capital Region around Washington, D.C.
The District of Columbia and cities and towns within a 15-mile radius of Ronald-Reagan Washington National Airport are in this zone, says the FAA, which is making outreach materials available to other federal, state and local partners around the National Capital Region to ensure that residents and tourists all understand that operating an unmanned aircraft in this area for any purpose is against the law.
“Federal rules prohibit any aircraft from operating in the Flight Restricted Zone around our nation’s capital without specific approval,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “That includes all unmanned aircraft.”
Earlier this year, a man crashed a quadcopter on the White House lawn in the middle of the night. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia ended up not pursuing criminal charges against him.
The agency explains that airspace around Washington, D.C., is more restricted than in any other part of the country. Rules put in place after the 9/11 attacks establish “national defense airspace” over the area and limit aircraft operations to those with an FAA and Transportation Security Administration authorization. Violators face stiff fines and criminal penalties.
As part of its public education efforts, the FAA recently announced its smartphone app, B4UFLY, which tells recreational unmanned aircraft operators where they can and cannot legally operate. The FAA expects to release the app for Apple devices later this year after beta testing is complete.