Drones Subject to Inauguration Flight Restrictions

WASHINGTON — Drone operators and model aircraft enthusiasts will be subject to flight restrictions in effect around the Washington, D.C. area ahead of the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. During this time frame, all UAS and model aircraft operations will be prohibited within a 30 nautical mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, including the National Mall, U.S. Capitol and the White House, according to Know Before You Fly, a joint program of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Academy of Model Aeronautics in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration. 

The area within a 15 nautical mile radius of DCA is a Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ). No UAS flights are allowed in this area at any time without specific FAA authorization. In addition, the area within a 15 to 30 nautical mile radius of DCA is a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA). Both the FRZ and SFRA will include additional flight restrictions between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern Jan. 20.

In addition, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) remain in effect around Trump Tower in New York City and other areas. Anyone flying in the area should frequently check these TFRs to determine whether their flight is permissible. The FAA typically restricts the airspace for presidential visits and during natural disasters or hazards, such as wildfires. In addition, TFRs are issued around sporting events with a seating capacity of 30,000 or more, including the upcoming Super Bowl LI at the NRG Stadium in Houston as well as Major League Baseball games and NASCAR motor speedway events.

More information about the types of TFRs may be found here.

For more specific guidance on the flight restrictions in effect during the inauguration, please consult the FAA’s advisory here. Additionally, download the FAA’s B4UFLY app, now available on the App Store (opens in new tab) or Google Play, to find up-to-date information on TFRs, or check a real-time airspace map here.

When TFRs are not in place, Know Before You Fly would like to remind flyers to follow these rules:

• Fly no higher than 400 feet
• Fly within visual line of sight
• Stay well clear of other aircraft
• Never fly within 5 miles of an airport without contacting airport authorities or air traffic control
• Keep well away from emergency response efforts, such as fires
• Beware of FAA airspace requirements
• Don’t fly under the influence
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