Can I Fly Drone in a Restricted Area? A Handy Guide


Are you planning on flying a drone in a restricted area?

Before you take off, it’s important to know whether or not it’s legal to do so. The rules and regulations regarding drone flight can vary depending on the location, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

In this article, I’ll answer the question: can you fly a drone in a restricted area?

In short, the answer is NO! You cannot fly drones in a restricted area due to safety and security concerns.

The laws around drone flight can be complex. So, I’ll also let you know about FAA regulations, security concerns, permissions needed, and penalties (if any) so that you’re fully informed.

Can I Fly Drone in a Restricted Area

FAA Regulations on Flying Drones in a Restricted Area

Due to the following FAA regulations, you are not allowed to fly drones in a restricted area:

  1. You cannot fly a drone in restricted airspace without obtaining proper authorization in advance.
  2. To obtain permission, use the FAA’s LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) system.
  3. A No Drone Zone sign indicates that taking off or landing your drone from the designated area is not allowed, and airspace authorization does not mean land use approval.
  4. Restricted areas contain unusual, often invisible, hazards to aircraft, and unauthorized penetration can be extremely hazardous to the aircraft and its occupants.


Security Concerns

Flying a drone in a restricted area comes with its own set of unique security concerns, which are worth considering before launching your drone. Here are some potential security concerns to keep in mind.

Security Concerns for Flying Drones in a Restricted Area

  1. Privacy violation: Drones in restricted areas can potentially capture sensitive information, leading to breaches of personal or organizational privacy.
  2. Unauthorized surveillance: Drones can be used to conduct unwarranted surveillance, potentially harming national security or infringing on individuals’ rights.
  3. Airspace interference: Drones may disrupt air traffic, causing safety risks for manned aircraft and their passengers in restricted airspace.
  4. Smuggling: Drones can be used to transport illegal items or contraband across restricted boundaries, bypassing security checks and regulations.
  5. Malicious intent: Drones can be weaponized or used for purposes such as espionage, causing potential harm to public safety and national security in restricted areas.

Permissions and Permits

To fly a drone in a restricted area, you must obtain special permissions and permits from the relevant authorities, which may include aviation administration, local government agencies, or airspace controlling bodies.

The process typically involves submitting an application, providing details about your drone, its intended flight plan, and the purpose of the operation. In some cases, you might also need to demonstrate your proficiency as a drone pilot and adhere to specific safety protocols. The exact requirements vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the restricted area, so it’s crucial to consult with the appropriate authorities before attempting any flights in such zones.

Penalties for Flying a Drone without Authorization

Penalties for flying drones without authorization in a restricted area can vary, but if caught and deemed a nuisance, one could face fines from the FAA up to $32,666 per incident. While there may be little enforcement in some areas, it is still important to know and abide by the rules in order to avoid potential consequences. For DJI drone owners, newer models come equipped with features that automatically prevent users from flying in or into restricted airspace, reducing the chances of accidentally breaking the rules.

Also check:


1. Can I Fly Drones in a Restricted Area if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?

No, you cannot fly a drone in a restricted area if you are not a licensed drone pilot. Restricted areas are designated to protect sensitive locations, such as airports, military installations, and critical infrastructure. Operating a drone without the proper authorization in these areas is illegal and may result in fines, penalties, or even criminal charges. Always check local laws and regulations before flying a drone, and ensure you have the necessary permits and permissions if required.

2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones in a Restricted Area?

The authorization to fly drones in restricted areas typically comes from the governing aviation authority in a specific country or region, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States. These authorities may grant special permissions or waivers under certain conditions, such as for professional or commercial drone pilots who have obtained the necessary certifications and can demonstrate a legitimate need for operating in the restricted airspace. Additionally, local law enforcement or other relevant agencies may have the authority to grant permissions in some cases, depending on the specific restrictions in place.

3. Can the Police Fly Drones in a Restricted Area?

Yes, the police can fly drones in restricted areas under certain circumstances, as they may have special permits or permissions to do so for law enforcement purposes, such as surveillance, crowd control, or search and rescue missions. However, they must follow specific guidelines and regulations set forth by aviation authorities to ensure the safety and privacy of individuals in the area.


In conclusion, before flying a drone in a restricted area, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the appropriate resources and tools. Download the B4UFLY mobile app to easily find safe and legal flying locations.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

And if you have a related query, kindly feel free to let me know in the comments.

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Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

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