Drones become more and more available to the general population. Some of the drones available are toys and only cost a few bucks, others are real aerial photography and videography platforms like the DJI drones. Unfortunately there are a lot of stupid people out there, who ruin the fun and joy for everyone. It only takes one stupid guy to ruin it for the rest of the drone pilots. Common sense should tell you, that you shouldn’t fly near airports, well however there are again stupid people who do that. Also you shouldn’t fly near or over military installations, no matter if there is an airport or not. I understand that the government wants to keep secrets, but they also should know that other nations have high resolution satellites and can watch military bases for days. A drones battery lasts only minutes.
Also U.S. National Parks are no fly zones, just because of a few incidents. Here we are again, a handful of people ruined it now for everyone….
In my opinion there should be something like a “drone flyers license”, similar to a drivers license. Then you would also request a permit to operate the drone in National Parks and the problem is solved. There could be a variety of permits, not just the commercial filming permit, which already exists. Park officials say, they are worried about disturbance of wildlife and other visitors. I understand that, but if you rent a helicopter and fly it into National Parks, you are good to go to take pictures and videos. I couldn’t find anything, which would prohibit you from taking the helicopter approach. It is just way more expensive. The price makes it legal now to disturb wildlife and other visitors? This is also a grey area for drone pilots. If you take off outside of a National Park and fly into it, you are fine, since the airspace over the parks belongs to the FAA.
Most people don’t even know that they can’t fly in National Parks. Park authorities seem to be very forgiving, if they catch you the first time and the pilot didn’t know. If you do it repeatedly or it was a major incidents, you can face fines up to $5,000 USD.
To help new and experienced pilots finding places to safely fly drones, there is a new map project available now. “Don’t fly drones here” is hosted by Mapbox.com and shows no fly zones in the United States. Everybody can submit new restrictions in places around the U.S. I urge every drone operator to look at this map before he takes off and save it as a bookmark.