FAA's new rule prohibits flying drones near popular US landmarks

FAA's new rule prohibits drone operation near several US landmarksDrew Angerer/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a directive to prohibit hobbyists from flying drones over popular US landmarks.

The directive from the administration, which will come into effect starting 5 October, will make it illegal to operate unmanned aerial vehicles within 400ft of the Statue of Liberty and nine other Interior Department sites.

This will include major American landmarks such as the Boston National Historical Park, Independence National Historical Park, Folsom Dam, Glen Canyon Dam, Grand Coulee Dam, Hoover Dam, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and the Shasta Dam.

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The department has not given any specific reason for the sudden move, but its data website notes the action comes at the request of US national security and law enforcement agencies due to "National Security, or Intel Agency or National Defense" concerns.

"This is the first time the agency has placed airspace restrictions for unmanned aircraft, or 'drones,' over DOI landmarks," the FAA said in a statement. "Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges."

However, the administration has left some room for exceptions where the people could seek permission from officials at the site in question or from the FAA itself to operate their UAV near the sites.

The latest restriction also expands the FAA's current list of no-fly zones, which includes some army bases, major sports stadiums, national parks, and airports. The whole list of restricted zones will be updated on FAA's online map and B4UFLY app.

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