AP Photo; Redux

So Where Can I Fly My Drone?

  1. Mt. Rushmore vs. Oregon Dunes
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    Mt. Rushmore vs. Oregon Dunes

     

    The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has outlawed the commercial use of most unmanned aerial vehicles while it writes rules to govern them. Hobbyists are still allowed to fly small drones—often equipped with a camera to capture that bragworthy summer vacation video—but face confusing, conflicting rules about where and when. A guide to getting aloft without getting into trouble.

    No: Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota
    The National Park Service has banned drones from parks, monuments, historical sites, and seashores.

    Yes: Oregon Dunes
    Some parts of the largest dune formation in North America are on state land, where drones are allowed for now—the state says it’s studying the issue.

    AP Photo; Redux
  2. Disney World vs. Rose Bowl
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    Disney World vs. Rose Bowl

    No: Disney World, Orlando
    No siccing your Quadcopter on Tinker Bell. Congress approved the Magic Kingdom as a restricted airspace.

    Yes: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
    America’s Stadium is a hot meetup spot for hobbyists on nongame days. Tip: Head for Lot H.

    Getty Images
  3. Airports vs. Hollywood Sign
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    Airports vs. Hollywood Sign

    No: Airports
    Forget it. In June the FAA expanded the no-fly zone around all airports to 5 miles from 3.

    Yes: Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles
    There are no flight restrictions over the iconic sign—just don’t get too close to the traffic copters.

    Getty Images
  4. St. Bonifacius vs. Northern Plains UAS Test Site
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    St. Bonifacius vs. Northern Plains UAS Test Site

    No: St. Bonifacius, Minn.
    Last year, to protect citizens’ privacy, the city became one of the first in the U.S. to ban all drones, including hobby craft.

    Yes: Northern Plains UAS Test Site, North Dakota
    This experimental air station is one of six designated FAA test sites for commercial craft—but it welcomes hobbyist tinkerers, too.

    Getty Images; AP Photo
  5. Monterey Bay vs. Boynton Beach
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    Monterey Bay vs. Boynton Beach

    No: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, California
    Model aircraft are banned over sensitive preserves that are home to harbor seals and other wildlife.

    Yes: Boynton Beach, Fla.
    The town voted down restrictions and in June hosted Quadcopolypse, the ultimate drone geekfest.

    AP Photo; Mark Randall/Sun Sentinel