Is Quad-Copters Illegal to fly over National Parks?

Is Quad-Copters illegal to fly over US National Parks for recreational use?

  • No(Under All Circumstances)

  • Yes(Under Some Circumstances)

  • Yes(Under All Circumstances)


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Has anybody tried Grand Canyon? will it be an issue if I bring my P2V+ there?
 
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"Reckless" is defined in FAR 91.13 - the National Park Service has no jurisdiction over the flight. Once you are airborne, you belong to the FAA. The NPS rangers can document the reckless operation and ask the FAA to prosecute, but the NPS rangers can't do anything other than be a witness against you.
Going back to my original post, if you want to test your theory, by all means fly over a National Park, but have deep pockets to defend your flight in court.

1) The only place I have ever seen "You can launch outside the park and land outside the park legally" is here on this forum. Not sure of the veracity of that statement.

2) When drone pilots have been been fined for flying recklessly in NP it is the NP fining them, not the FAA. They are NOT being prosecuted for launching or landing...
Not sure of the veracity of your statement that the NP has no jurisdiction over their own airspace, nor do I care to argue technicalities with someone who's legal knowledge is as limited as my own.

3) If it is legal to fly over a NP, why are NP being programmed into No-Fly-Zone?

But again if anyone wishes to prove me wrong, get thee to a NP border, launch from outside the park, fly into and around park and let us know how you fare!
 
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I stand corrected, the test flight over a NP may only cost you $70:
http://dronelife.com/2014/07/08/virginia-drone-gets-chased-by-police-fined/

Or perhaps is could be quite costly:
For those wondering about a court challenge don't get your hopes up. That same provision has been successfully applied in federal court to prohibit base jumping (with a parachute) and has been upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2000. Considering that the Ninth Circuit sets precedent for California -- the home state of Yosemite -- it appears drone enthusiasts have little hope of winning a fight against the park policy in federal court. Drone enthusiasts' best bet would be to test the waters in national parks in another Federal Circuit, but be prepared for a long and costly fight, which may well end in disappointment.

http://www.dailytech.com/Yosemite+to+Campers+and+Climbers+Leave+Your+Drone+at+Home+or+Get+Fined/article34864.htm


The law states that it is illegal to operate a drone within park boundaries. Some have taken this to mean you can "operate" (pilot) the drone from outside the boundaries. I doubt the law will look at this in the same light. If you are flying in the park, you are "operating" in the park.

Try it.
 
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Whether you are standing inside or outside a drone prohibited area and flying your quad within that area, be it a national park or local school yard, you run the risk of being fined by the party that has jurisdiction over that property. The argument that only the FAA has jurisdiction over the airspace above that property and is the only party that can impose a fine is all well and good and can be challenged in court. If people wish to spend a boat-load of cash defending themselves in court, I say go have at it. Me... I'll just accept that the owner of the property doesn't want me to be there for whatever reason and will find a different place to fly. I'm not looking to paying a legally incorrect fine, nor am I interested in paying for an attorney. It's just not worth it.
 
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I thought the FAA or the CAA (I'm from the UK now in U.S.) only have juristiction from 500 feet with the exception of airports. The airspace from 15-500 feet is "no mans lands".
 
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Well apparently they also control the zero to 500 ft of airspace judging by the FAA's blanket "No Commercial Use" restriction which effects businesses like real estate companies that are typically only interested in photos taken below 500 ft showing properties they are selling.
 
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I thought the FAA or the CAA (I'm from the UK now in U.S.) only have juristiction from 500 feet with the exception of airports. The airspace from 15-500 feet is "no mans lands".
The "with the exception of airports" reference above is not strictly true. There are other occaisions that the CAA
legislate exceptions for flying below 500'

www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/ORS4No1065.pdf
 
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Going back to my original post, if you want to test your theory, by all means fly over a National Park, but have deep pockets to defend your flight in court.

1) The only place I have ever seen "You can launch outside the park and land outside the park legally" is here on this forum. Not sure of the veracity of that statement.

2) When drone pilots have been been fined for flying recklessly in NP it is the NP fining them, not the FAA. They are NOT being prosecuted for launching or landing...
Not sure of the veracity of your statement that the NP has no jurisdiction over their own airspace, nor do I care to argue technicalities with someone who's legal knowledge is as limited as my own.

3) If it is legal to fly over a NP, why are NP being programmed into No-Fly-Zone?

But again if anyone wishes to prove me wrong, get thee to a NP border, launch from outside the park, fly into and around park and let us know how you fare!
Read the memorandum issued to the National Parks and you will see that it's only jot allowed to take off, land or operate a drone from their property. They claim no restrictions to flying over their land. Reason.. because they know they don't regulate airspace. Should not cost anything to argue as you can argue this yourself or you are afforded free defense against criminal charges in the US.

Also, IL pretty sure DJI software does not lock out National Parks. They are listed as a no fly zone buy not locked out like airports.
 
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why not just ask the park ranger if he can allow it for 20 minutes at a specific location where he doesnt think anyone can complain?
 
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Read the memorandum issued to the National Parks and you will see that it's only jot allowed to take off, land or operate a drone from their property. They claim no restrictions to flying over their land. Reason.. because they know they don't regulate airspace. Should not cost anything to argue as you can argue this yourself or you are afforded free defense against criminal charges in the US.

Also, IL pretty sure DJI software does not lock out National Parks. They are listed as a no fly zone buy not locked out like airports.
Please take a flight at Arches, Bryce, or Zions while standing outside the park boundary and report back to us!

I've spent many a sunset gazing into the heavens at Delicate Arch, and I certainly don't want that view ruined by a tourist's drone whether he launched from within the park or across the road on BLM property. But I would love to know how the courts define "operate" - will they conclude that since you were conducting a flight within the park's boundaries, you were indeed "operating" within the boundaries despite standing outside the boundaries with your radio? This has yet to be tested in court.
 
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Please take a flight at Arches, Bryce, or Zions while standing outside the park boundary and report back to us!

I've spent many a sunset gazing into the heavens at Delicate Arch, and I certainly don't want that view ruined by a tourist's drone whether he launched from within the park or across the road on BLM property. But I would love to know how the courts define "operate" - will they conclude that since you were conducting a flight within the park's boundaries, you were indeed "operating" within the boundaries despite standing outside the boundaries with your radio? This has yet to be tested in court.
Operating, as in standing on their property while you are flying. If you are not on the land they manage (in the air that they have no jurisdiction over) they can't do anything about it.

I'm not saying I'd want a drone buzzing around many places in those National Parks. However, those parks are thousands of acres with a vast majority having no one around for miles. I also understand their position on the matter. By me pointing out that airspace is not regulated by the National Park Service does not mean I will be flying in it.

I do question if the memorandum has merit as it's written. It seems more of a knee jerk reaction without much thought or input on the problem. It's also not a law. The Park Service is acting within their authority tittle action to maintain the park.

This is all a grey area where drone fliers want to clarify and have the correct rules applied.

With that said, if no one was around I probably will fly in a National Park... just not anyplace anyone will ever know I was flying. I did fly over the fort in St Augustine, FL. They don't allow the launching, landing or operation of a drone from their property. I stood on a public road and launch from there. Perfectly legal. I also flew up to 200 feet where it was difficult to hear the drone. I don't think the baby should be thrown out with the bath water just because a few people don't obey the already existing laws.
 
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Operating, as in standing on their property while you are flying. If you are not on the land they manage (in the air that they have no jurisdiction over) they can't do anything about it.

I'm not saying I'd want a drone buzzing around many places in those National Parks. However, those parks are thousands of acres with a vast majority having no one around for miles. I also understand their position on the matter. By me pointing out that airspace is not regulated by the National Park Service does not mean I will be flying in it.

I do question if the memorandum has merit as it's written. It seems more of a knee jerk reaction without much thought or input on the problem. It's also not a law. The Park Service is acting within their authority tittle action to maintain the park.

This is all a grey area where drone fliers want to clarify and have the correct rules applied.

With that said, if no one was around I probably will fly in a National Park... just not anyplace anyone will ever know I was flying. I did fly over the fort in St Augustine, FL. They don't allow the launching, landing or operation of a drone from their property. I stood on a public road and launch from there. Perfectly legal. I also flew up to 200 feet where it was difficult to hear the drone. I don't think the baby should be thrown out with the bath water just because a few people don't obey the already existing laws.
tcope is correct. i was stopped from flying from san marco's castle in st augustine but they said its ok to fly outside the gate which was 20 feet behind me. as long as there is no restriction from the city or the faa. there is an airport there about 5.3 miles but my understanding is that even if there is an airport within 5 miles all we need to do is contact tower and inform them of intent and duration and altitude (assuring them that you'll be a no factor) then its ok. i would say 200 feet high 5 miles away from an airport is guaranteed to be a no factor for full scale aircrafts.
GoodnNuff is correct in that parks out west are gigantic and would be dangerous to stand outside the gate and fly over the park. i would say you can't get too far to get any real nice shots. defeats the purpose for me.
i spoke to the super intendant of one national monuments this morning and asked her if technically i would stand outside the property and fly over she said that its outside their jurisdiction at that point. she did mention a close by airport but it was well outside the 5 mile radius. i thought "good try"
 
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i say make designated areas called drone stations at certain parks where wild life wouldn't be disturbed and limit the number of quads flying at one time. say only 5 operators at one time is the maximum that would prevent a swarm of quads at the parks.
 
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OK, thank you for all of the replies. How about Lake Tahoe? ;) And similar lakes/areas? Does that count as a No-Fly Zone?
I noticed on a no-fly map that even National Scenic Rivers are a no-go. It looks like anywhere that is controlled by the National Park service is off-limits. I'd check before trying.
 
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I noticed on a no-fly map that even National Scenic Rivers are a no-go. It looks like anywhere that is controlled by the National Park service is off-limits. I'd check before trying.
It would be tough to launch, land or operate a drone from a river but I guess it's possible. Is it possible that these rivers are inside National Parks?
 
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It would be tough to launch, land or operate a drone from a river but I guess it's possible. Is it possible that these rivers are inside National Parks?
Nope, this is stretch of the Missouri River on the Nebraska/South Dakota border. I would assume their jurisdiction would extend beyond the water.
 
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Nope, this is stretch of the Missouri River on the Nebraska/South Dakota border. I would assume their jurisdiction would extend beyond the water.
Looked up some information. It is a National Park... just named something a little different as it's the area surrounding that portion of the river and the area is all about the river. So it appears it just get thrown in with every other National Park.
 
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"Reckless" is defined in FAR 91.13 - the National Park Service has no jurisdiction over the flight. Once you are airborne, you belong to the FAA. The NPS rangers can document the reckless operation and ask the FAA to prosecute, but the NPS rangers can't do anything other than be a witness against you.
I love this guy. Quite the breath of fresh air after reading all the 'end of times' posts. Not a rule breaker or smart ***, just states the facts in a literate, no-nonsense way. I want to make a plush doll that looks like him with a pull string on its back. People can carry it around with them while flying. If someone gets all nasty, pull the string and it responds to said comments appropriately. Maybe I'll start a Kickstart page to get the idea funded. :D
 
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I love this guy. Quite the breath of fresh air after reading all the 'end of times' posts. Not a rule breaker or smart ***, just states the facts in a literate, no-nonsense way. I want to make a plush doll that looks like him with a pull string on its back. People can carry it around with them while flying. If someone gets all nasty, pull the string and it responds to said comments appropriately. Maybe I'll start a Kickstart page to get the idea funded. :D
Please check his facts. They are sometimes wrong.
 

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