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Flying in National Monument

Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Messages
7
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Location
San Francisco, California
Website
www.elliemccutcheon.com
I'm trying to parse through what's allowed on different federal public lands when it comes to flying my Inspire 2. I know it's SUPER banned in National Parks, but I've read in a lot of places that it's generally okay in National Forest and on BLM land (Bureau of Land Management land).

The UAV coach public lands resource reiterates this, and also says that places like national monuments and national wildernesses are prohibited to fly in.

However, this fstoppers article points out that not all national monuments are managed by the National Park Service. Also, I can only find specific national monument restrictions for these 10 sites.

So theoretically if a National Monument is managed by BLM, wouldn't it be legal to fly there?

---

Ok, now if that isn't confusing enough... I want to fly in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument area, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

BUT I was looking on the Vermillion Cliffs website, and they claim that it is illegal to fly on all BLM land:

Quote

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or Drones are aircraft as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration, and are therefore not allowed to take off or land in BLM wilderness areas. 43 CFR 6302.20
I looked up the law cited (43 CFR § 6302.20), and it does indeed say that it's illegal to "land aircraft" on BLM land (not even just national monuments).

So what do you make of that? I REALLY want to continue to fly on BLM land, and basically every other resource I find says it's okay to do so. But now I'm just confused.
 
I'm trying to parse through what's allowed on different federal public lands when it comes to flying my Inspire 2. I know it's SUPER banned in National Parks, but I've read in a lot of places that it's generally okay in National Forest and on BLM land (Bureau of Land Management land).

The UAV coach public lands resource reiterates this, and also says that places like national monuments and national wildernesses are prohibited to fly in.

However, this fstoppers article points out that not all national monuments are managed by the National Park Service. Also, I can only find specific national monument restrictions for these 10 sites.

So theoretically if a National Monument is managed by BLM, wouldn't it be legal to fly there?

---

Ok, now if that isn't confusing enough... I want to fly in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument area, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

BUT I was looking on the Vermillion Cliffs website, and they claim that it is illegal to fly on all BLM land:


I looked up the law cited (43 CFR § 6302.20), and it does indeed say that it's illegal to "land aircraft" on BLM land (not even just national monuments).

So what do you make of that? I REALLY want to continue to fly on BLM land, and basically every other resource I find says it's okay to do so. But now I'm just confused.

Vermillion Cliffs is managed by BLM. If you want an official answer then go to BLM and ask them. As far as other sources, non-official information is generally not reliable. But hey, the source is not going to be the one answering for your actions if you choose to believe them. Ignoring BLM will make you just one more reason that hobbyist need stiffer regulation.
 
I wouldnt risk it, even AirMap app shows that area in red, do not fly, National Park.
It lists that area as, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness.
I have found the AirMap app to be pretty accurate.
But, as RMartin points out, AirMap wont be the one getting fined, so due diligence is your friend.
I'd start by calling the local BLM office and ask for any info they can provide.
 
Thanks! Yeah, I see that on airmap, and also compared it to the B4UFLY app. Interesting that B4UFLY doesn't mark any of it as off limits - it just marks federal public land designated as National Parks as off limits. **side note - I know to always do more research and never trust that entirely. One more example of why! :)

Also according to Airmap, it looks like the national wilderness area is off limits but the national monument area is not.

I still will call BLM for clarification.

Appreciate the responses!
 
If you're doing this commercially, it's probably best to check with a near by FBO. Otherwise you should contact FAA directly or look on their website. THEY are the ONLY official deciding factor even over BLM because BLM only owns the LAND, not the airspace above.
 

Looks like it is a designated wilderness area. So no taking off or landing within the wilderness area (no motorized vehicles are permitted). And you probably shouldn't operate in the area either, although I don't recall off the top of my head if the law is very clear on that. But for sure it is legal to overfly as long as you don't harass any wildlife. If you should happen to crash it will likely cause an incident and investigation.
 
....you should contact FAA directly or look on their website. THEY are the ONLY official deciding factor even over BLM because BLM only owns the LAND, not the airspace above.
Yes. However BLM can restrict drones from taking off and landing on their property, even if the FAA allows flights over that property. Just as the FAA aggressively guards their role as the sole controller of the nation's airspace, they are very careful to stay out of imposing their will on ground operations outside of airports.
 
Yes. However BLM can restrict drones from taking off and landing on their property, even if the FAA allows flights over that property. Just as the FAA aggressively guards their role as the sole controller of the nation's airspace, they are very careful to stay out of imposing their will on ground operations outside of airports.
Yup, agreed!
 

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