Washington – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a statement on Tuesday communicating that for the time the Pope Francis is visiting the United States, no drones will be allowed on any zone he visits during his first papal visit.
This includes certain zones within the city of New York, Washington, and Philadelphia that are now designated as “No Drone Zones” from September 22 to September 27. The restrictions are enhancements on the already existing anti-drone laws in some districts like Washington D.C.
The ban extends to all unmanned aircraft, including radio-controlled model aircraft and the statement goes beyond a simple warning, with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta warning that there may be consequences if drone flyers fail to comply with restrictions.
“If you plan to attend any of the Papal visit events, please leave your drone at home. Anyone flying a drone within the designated restricted areas may be subject to civil and criminal charges.”
Certainly this extension is everything but exaggerated when on Tuesday, US authorities detained a teenage boy outside of Philadelphia for allegedly planning an Islamic State-inspired attack on Pope Francis during his visit to the United States.
If it was a drone race, then certainly the U.S will be losing it. In Japan, for example, farmers have been using drones for decades to inspect crops, in Canada, police use drones for search-and-rescue operations; and in the U.K., drones are used for commercial photography. Yet in the U.S. such activities have been relatively rare because of FAA restrictions.
Now it is estimated that by 2035, the number of unmanned aerial vehicles in operation in the U.S. is expected to surpass the number of manned aircraft in operation. The U.S. commercial drone market could easily be worth $5 billion, according to the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.
Source: Federal Aviation Administration