Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Guidance For Drone Operators in Prince George’s County

In light of Monday's arrest of a 24-year-old College Park man whose personal drone almost collided with a Prince George's County Police Helicopter while in flight, we would like to remind the public of the following critical information.   

While drones are easily acquired for purchase, drone operators must adhere to strict rules surrounding their actual use.  

All drones must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which is responsible for investigation and enforcement of restricted airspace violations. 

Prince George’s County lies completely within the National Capital Region (NCR) restricted airspace which is particularly important with respect to drone flights. 

We are providing a map to explain current laws, rules, and regulations.

The majority of our county lies within the Federal Aviation Administration's designated Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) where drone flights are completely prohibited.

(The red circle in map reflects the Flight Restricted Zone.)  

However, a small portion of the county lies within the Special Flight Rules Area (SRFA) where drone flights are limited to daylight hours and no higher than 400 feet above ground level.

(The yellow circle in map reflects the Special Flight Rules Area.)

If you own a drone, it's critical to know where you are and the relevant rules specific to your location before you operate the drone.

Illegal use of drones can put lives at risk.  Our helicopter pilots had to perform evasive maneuvers to avoid colliding with the drone in Monday's incident.   When drones are seen being flown in the restricted no fly zone or witnessed being flown against regulations as noted above, our officers are notified and we do respond.  If, and, when the operator is identified, they face serious consequences including arrest and could be charged federally.   

If you are a drone hobbyist and would like more information please go to faa.gov or call 1-866-TELL-FAA (866-835-5322.) 

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