FAA controls airspace, but does not decide what Prohibited Airspace is Required

no drone fly zone washington dc
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Both of the below headlines attribute the closing of airspace to the FAA. If you have occasion to visit the chatrooms and websites, the invective directed at the aviation safety organization is intense and misdirected. YES, the FAA issues the order designating airspace as prohibited, but NO, the decision as to when, where and how much is NOT made by the FAA.

The FAA does issue notices which preclude flight through specific areas above ground which is protected. P-56, which was recently amended, covers critical portions of Washington, DC. While the statutory (49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120) and regulatory (14 CFR part 73) authorities are the FAA’s, but the exercise of the power to establish level of threat and what is needed for an adequate aerial umbrella is held by others. The antecedent of P-56 dates back to an Executive Order in the 1930s. Its basis and citation are as follows E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

As Part 73 makes clear, the request may only come from “agency, organization, or military command whose activity within a restricted area necessitated the area being so designated.” (14 CFR §73.15(a)(1))

The vitriol spewing from some of drone nation at the FAA is misdirected. The No Fly Zones were designated by DHS, DOE or DOD. What should be protected is not within the competence of the FAA.

prohibited airspace no fly zone

While you may properly complain about the proposed Part 107 and have major substantive arguments against Part 48, beefing about the prohibited airspace. It’s not their job.


ARTICLE: FAA shuts down dozens of drone clubs near Washington, DC 

ARTICLE: FAA Bans GA Operations in D.C. for State Of the Union

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6 Comments on "FAA controls airspace, but does not decide what Prohibited Airspace is Required"

  1. Your most authoritative comment is what there is a complete lack of, right now.
    Thank you for stepping up with this info.
    How is the RC community supposed to be on top of any of this?
    One would think via the AMA for which we pay substantial dues – they should be the ones promulgating this kind of info. Right now, radio silence from them.
    Wish we had an actual CBO…

  2. We in the so called “drone nation” are spewing vitriol because we know who defines what is considered “aircraft” and therefore subject to FAA ruling. The FAA found that it is difficult to separate the “drone nation” from otherwise perfectly safe model airplanes. Consequently they chose the easy route and defined virtually all model airplanes as “aircraft” which puts them under FAA jurisdiction. THIS allows their cohort agencies, DOE, DOD, and the infamous DHS to stop model airplanes from flying. These agencies are acting in concert. Therefore the FAA IS just as responsible for the “drone nations” vitriolic comments as any!

    While we’re talking, it’s not the “drone nation” who’s really spewing! It’s the average model airplane hobbyist who has an impeccable safety record who is spewing because the FAA has so ineptly defined what is considered an “aircraft.” A model on a string is considered the same as a Cessna Cherokee or Piper Cub. This information comes straight from the mouth of FAA staff who have attended “information” meetings with upset modelers.

    Mr. Del Balzo’s comments are clearly biased and IMHO intended to misinform the uninformd. For those of us who know the truth, we’ll keep “spewing vitriol” until a BAD LAW is removed and rewritten with some common sense.

    • Well said AA.

      The Drone Legal Fund is raising funds to support legal challenges to regulations and policies that are deeply concerning to users and prospective users of small unmanned aircraft.

      This is one organization I support. Lawsuits are the languange of Washington DC, something the AMA doesn’t get.


      I am not sure I am going to renew with the AMA until more is known about the finality of the ruling. There are some things the AMA does that are ok, but being the recognized CBO that represents me is not one of them. I’ll put my money behind the lawsuit, first. As someone said, all the rules are changed now. The insurance structure for flying RC may change – new providers will understand the nature of RC, and it will become common and competitively priced. I would take that offer up in a minute if it was cheap and didn’t have the overhead of AMA. I can still go to Muncie (can, not will) if I want. My flying jollies I get online come from anywhere but the AMA site – too overproduced for me.

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