The cherry trees are blooming around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., which means beautiful photos and easy Instagram likes are to be had. But don’t plan on using a drone to snap aerial shots of the scenery. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Park Service are reminding people that the National Cherry Blossom Festival is a “No Drone Zone.”
The government agency is using the National Cherry Blossom Festival as an opportunity to remind residents and visitors that the “prohibition against flying any type of unmanned aircraft, or ‘drone,’ without specific approval includes the District of Columbia and cities and towns within a 15-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA),” according to the FAA’s official reminder.
The FAA also notes that the airspace around Washington, D.C., is the most restricted in the country, due to post-9/11 rules establishing “national defense airspace” over the area. Violators could face stiff fines and criminal penalties.
— The FAA (@FAANews) March 26, 2016
According to the latest set of data from the FAA, there were 582 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) sightings from August 22, 2015, through January 31, 2016. The sightings include reports from pilots, air traffic controllers and citizens. More than 406,000 people have registered their drones since the registry went live in late December.
Two researchers recently concluded that the FAA might be overestimating the threat small UAS pose to planes. They said injury caused by a drone collision would likely happen just once every 1.87 million years.