Can I Fly Drone in Restricted Airspace? A Handy Guide


Are you planning on flying a drone in restricted airspace?

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 restricted airspace?

In short, the answer is NO! You cannot fly drones in restricted airspace 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 Restricted Airspace

FAA Regulations on Flying Drones in Restricted Airspace

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

  1. The FAA prohibits drone flight over certain areas of airspace, known as No Drone Zone Areas, which are designated to keep drones out and ensure safety.
  2. Restricted Airspace typically includes areas around airports, sports stadiums, government buildings, and other sensitive infrastructure.
  3. To fly a drone in restricted airspace, you must obtain LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) authorization from the FAA.
  4. Entering restricted areas without proper authorization may pose extreme hazards to the aircraft and its occupants, as these zones may contain unusual or invisible hazards such as artillery firing, aerial gunnery, or guided missiles.


Security Concerns

Flying a drone in restricted airspace 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 Restricted Airspace

  1. Unauthorized Surveillance: Drones can capture sensitive information, invading privacy and potentially compromising the security of restricted facilities.
  2. Accidental Collisions: Drones flying in restricted airspace can collide with other aircraft or obstacles, causing damage and endangering lives.
  3. Terrorist Attacks: Malicious individuals can use drones to carry out attacks on critical infrastructure or high-value targets within the restricted airspace.
  4. Interference with Operations: Drones can disrupt the normal functioning of facilities or services located in restricted airspace, such as air traffic control or emergency response.
  5. Legal Consequences: Flying a drone in restricted airspace can result in fines, penalties, or even criminal charges, depending on the severity of the violation.

Permissions and Permits

To fly a drone in restricted airspace, one must obtain the necessary permissions and permits.

This can be done by contacting the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) and requesting clearance.

Drone apps like Kittyhawk or Aloft can be used to reach LAANC, where you can input your desired flight path, time, maximum altitude (not exceeding 400 feet), and flight range. Upon submitting this information, LAANC will quickly respond with an email confirming or denying your flight request. If approved, you can access the restricted airspace only within the flight path coordinates submitted. In case of denial, errors in the submitted information may be the cause, and you can resend the corrected request.

Penalties for Flying a Drone without Authorization

Penalties for flying drones without authorization in restricted airspace can vary depending on the situation and location. While there is limited enforcement in many areas, exceptions exist in high-security zones. If caught flying a drone near sensitive locations, individuals might face significant fines from the FAA, with potential penalties reaching up to $32,666 per incident. Therefore, it is crucial to understand and adhere to the rules to avoid any legal consequences.

Also check:


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

No, you cannot fly a drone in restricted airspace if you are not a licensed drone pilot. Restricted airspace is specifically designated to protect sensitive locations, military operations, or critical infrastructure. Unauthorized drone flights in these areas pose a risk to safety, security, and privacy. A licensed drone pilot might acquire special permission under certain circumstances, but an unlicensed individual is not allowed to operate a drone in restricted airspace. Always consult local regulations and obtain necessary permissions to ensure the safe and legal operation of your drone.

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

The authorization to use drones in restricted airspace typically falls under the jurisdiction of the relevant national aviation authority, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States or the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the United Kingdom. These authorities grant permissions based on airspace regulations, the purpose of the drone flight, and the level of risk associated with the planned operation. It is essential to consult your local aviation authority and obtain the necessary approvals before flying a drone in restricted airspace to ensure compliance with legal requirements and maintain airspace safety.

3. Can the Police Fly Drones in Restricted Airspace?

Yes, the police can fly drones in restricted airspace under specific circumstances and with proper authorization. Law enforcement agencies may acquire special permissions from aviation authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, to operate drones in restricted airspace for purposes like public safety, surveillance, and emergency response. However, they must strictly adhere to the regulations and operational guidelines set by the respective aviation authority to ensure safety and prevent unauthorized drone usage.


In conclusion, before flying a drone in restricted airspace, 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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