No drones allowed, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is saying when it comes to hobbyists flying their unmanned aircrafts in the Washington, D.C. area.
In the administration’s campaign to make D.C. a “No Drone Zone,” the FAA has shut down at least 36 model aircraft clubs in the area, according to Motherboard, including clubs with reportedly wide open spaces.
“The District of Columbia and the cities and towns within a 30-mile radius of Ronald-Reagan Washington National Airport are a No Drone Zone,” according to the FAA. “Federal rules prohibit any aircraft from operating in the Flight Restricted Zone around our nation’s capital without specific approval, which includes all unmanned aircraft.”
The FAA extended the no-fly radius from 15 miles to 30 miles back in September.
Rules implemented after the 9/11 attacks established a “national defense airspace,” which limits aircraft operations to those with FAA and Transportation Security Administration authorization, according to the FAA.
Motherboard reported that 14 of the sites shut down have accreditation from the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), “meaning they generally comply with baseline safety guidelines and are not located near airports.”
“You will not need to close the field, only cease operation temporarily, no flying or anything, until mid-January when we expect to get permission to continue operations for all fields,” wrote an AMA official in an email to clubs.
The organization is currently in talks to find a solution that will allow hobbyists to continue using airspace over impacted areas in Virginia and Maryland, according to the AMA.
Earlier this month, the FAA announced that drones that meet certain parameters must be registered with the government by Feb. 19, 2016. Failure to register could result in civil penalties up to $27,500 and criminal penalties up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.