Can I fly my drone in Washington, D.C.?

FAA No Drone Zone Poster

Ready to get some sweet drone shots of the White House or other landmarks in Washington, D.C.?

Not so fast!

The airspace around the capital is the most restricted airspace in the U.S. After 9/11, the entire National Capital Region was designated as a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) within a 30-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The restricted airspace is divided into a 15-mile radius inner ring and a 30-mile radius outer ring. Depending on where you want to fly your drone, these limitations severely restrict or prohibit drone flights.

Inner Ring (15-mile radius)

Flying a drone within the 15-mile radius inner ring is prohibited without specific FAA authorization. Violators face stiff fines and criminal penalties.

Outer Ring (15 to 30-mile radius)

Flying a drone between 15 and 30 miles from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is allowed under these conditions:

  • Drone must be registered and properly labeled

  • Drone must weigh less than 55 pounds, including attachments like cameras and batteries

  • Fly below 400 feet (for reference, an American football field is 360 feet long including the end zones)

  • Fly within visual line-of-sight

  • Fly in clear weather conditions

  • Never fly near other aircraft