Can I Fly Drone Over Federal Property? A Handy Guide


Are you planning on flying a drone over federal property?

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 over federal property?

In short, the answer is NO! You cannot fly drones over federal property 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 Over Federal Property

FAA Regulations on Flying Drones Over Federal Property

Due to the following FAA regulations, you are not allowed to fly drones over federal property:

  1. Drones are prohibited from flying over national security sensitive facilities, which include military bases, national landmarks, and critical infrastructure, with operations restricted from the ground up to 400 feet above ground level.
  2. The FAA is actively considering additional requests from eligible federal security agencies for UAS-specific flight restrictions and will update regulations accordingly.
  3. Flight restrictions or temporary flight restrictions may also be in place over certain public venues and locations on federal property.
  4. It is illegal to fly drones over some federal properties such as prisons, national parks, and nature preserves.


Security Concerns

Flying a drone over federal property 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 Over Federal Property

  1. Unauthorized surveillance: Drones can be used to spy on sensitive federal facilities and gather classified information, posing a risk to national security.
  2. Physical interference: Drones can potentially collide with other aircraft or cause damage to infrastructure, leading to disruptions or accidents.
  3. Terrorist threats: Drones can be weaponized and used to carry out attacks on federal property, putting lives and critical infrastructure at risk.
  4. Privacy invasion: Flying drones over federal property might unintentionally capture images or recordings of people without their consent, violating their privacy rights.
  5. Legal violations: Operating drones over federal property may breach federal and local laws, leading to legal consequences for the drone operator.

Permissions and Permits

To fly a drone over federal property, you need to obtain proper permissions and permits.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for regulating drone flights in the United States.

You must register your drone with the FAA, and follow the rules outlined in Part 107 for commercial drone pilots or the Exception for Recreational Flyers for hobbyists. Additionally, you may need to request special permission from the federal agency responsible for the specific property, as some federal facilities and properties have specific restrictions and prohibitions.

It is essential to research and adhere to any guidelines set forth by the relevant authorities to ensure legal and safe drone operations.

Penalties for Flying a Drone without Authorization

Penalties for flying drones without authorization over federal property can include fines, confiscation of the drone, and even criminal charges. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can impose civil penalties of up to $27,500 for each violation, while criminal penalties may include up to $250,000 in fines and/or up to three years in prison. Additionally, flying a drone in prohibited airspace could lead to national security concerns and may result in further legal consequences. It is important to always follow the FAA’s regulations and guidelines when operating a drone to avoid such penalties.

Also check:


1. Can I Fly Drones Over Federal Property if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?

No, you cannot fly a drone over federal property if you are not a licensed drone pilot. Flying a drone over federal property without proper authorization is illegal and can result in fines, penalties, or even confiscation of your drone. It is essential to obtain proper permission and follow all regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and federal agencies responsible for the particular property in question. Always consult the FAA guidelines and acquire necessary permits or authorizations before flying a drone over any restricted areas.

2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones Over Federal Property?

The authorization to fly drones over federal property is typically granted by the specific federal agency that manages the property in question. It is essential to obtain written permission from the appropriate agency before flying a drone over federal lands, as various restrictions and regulations may apply. Additionally, drone operators must ensure they comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) rules governing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and any other relevant local or state laws.

3. Can the Police Fly Drones Over Federal Property?

Yes, the police can fly drones over federal property, provided they have the necessary permissions and adhere to the regulations set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and any additional restrictions imposed by the specific federal agency overseeing the property. Law enforcement agencies may use drones for various purposes, such as search and rescue operations, crime scene documentation, and surveillance. However, they must follow strict guidelines to ensure the safety, privacy, and protection of federally owned land and the people within its boundaries.


In conclusion, before flying a drone over federal property, 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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