There is a blanket ban in all National Parks. There is supposed to be a way to get permission to fly, but I don't know anyone who's been granted permission. State Parks are on a case by case basis, whatever the local management has decided.
I've gotten permission to fly in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) here in Western NC but it was for Search & Rescue purposes. We had to jump through a LOT of hoops and the NPS Rep was on-scene to validate our needs and mission.
Glad to hear someone getting permission to take off and land inside the park... How did the search and rescue go?
Glad to hear someone getting permission to take off and land inside the park...
By the time the fog rolled out and I was cleared to fly (remember Part 107 requires a min of 3 miles visibility) he had been "located" but we still flew and documented the rescue and the extreme conditions it took to get him out of the canyon.
It could have gone better (he was injured) but it could have gone a LOT worse too.
This was our 3rd time flying from the area and I will tell you... it's almost comical how much red take it takes to get permission even when it's part of a coordinated and "Official" Search & Rescue mission. But it can be done.
I hope moving forward we get a more streamlined waiver process. Sometimes submitting for a waiver "at least 90 days in advance" is not always practical. Search & rescue is a perfect example of that.
Well the 2018 process of Instant Authorization/Denial won't really help much because, as of this writing, there is not a waiver process for getting permissions to do this. We are currently working on some pathways to allow us to streamline the process. One of them being working within a Public Safety COA and getting the requested NPS added into the COA from the get-go. It's still a work in progress but at least we are going in the right direction.
That's good to hear, sounds like there is progress being made. No one anticipated the explosion of the UAS industry, and everyone is trying to play catch-up (which is completely understandable).
I'm just hoping that responsible Part 107 pilots have an avenue to legally fly in National Parks one day (among other NFZs).
Well said. I completely agree.
I envision it being something similar to the DJI Red Zone process. You submit your request with appropriate authorizations, signatures, and credentials and, IF approved, you get an UNLOCK for a specific day(s). I'm afraid the proliferation of rogue Part 107 operators who took the test but still don't understand real-world aviation, they aren't going to open up and say, "If you are Part 107 you can fly in the NPS at your leisure". While I could be wrong about this I doubt it.
Time will tell . . .