WASHINGTON, May 14, 2015 – The Transportation Department’s Federal Aviation Administration announced a public outreach campaign yesterday for the national capital region to reinforce the message that the District of Columbia and cities and towns within a 15-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are a “No Drone Zone.”
“Federal rules prohibit any aircraft from operating in the Flight Restricted Zone around our nation’s capital without specific approval,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “That includes all unmanned aircraft.”
The FAA 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.
Violators Face Fines, Criminal Penalties
The airspace around Washington 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.
“Anyone visiting the D.C. area should leave their drone at home,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. “We want to make sure everyone knows and understands the rules about flying in the national capital region.”
As part of its public education efforts, the FAA is developing a GPS-driven smartphone app to tell recreational unmanned aircraft operators where they can and cannot legally operate. FAA officials expect to release the app for Apple devices later this year after beta testing is complete.