Illegal drone operations during President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration will face “significant civil penalties and criminal prosecution,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.
On Monday, the agency tweeted out a reminder that Washington, D.C., is designated as a “national defense airspace,” which strictly prohibits drone flights.
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The notice comes just two days before Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in at the U.S. Capitol.
“Leave your drone at home,” the FAA tweeted. “In the interest of national security, you may not fly your drone in or around the greater DC area.”
The airspace surrounding Washington, D.C., faces more restrictions than any other part of the country.
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The area was established as a “national defense airspace” after 9/11 and limits operations to those with an FAA and Transportation Security Administration authorization. Under FAA rules, unmanned aircraft are not allowed to fly within a 15-mile radius surrounding the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport unless they have specific FAA authorization.
Drones, whether recreational or non-recreational, flying between 15 miles and 30 miles from Washington, D.C., are allowed, although they must abide by several strict conditions.
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The warning comes as law enforcement and other federal agencies set up and reinforce safety measures before Biden and Harris arrive at the Capitol’s West Front for the ceremony. It is one of the locations where a mob of pro-Trump supporters overpowered police and stormed the building almost two weeks ago.
Security forces have already begun taking extra precautions in the wake of the Capitol mayhem where five people, including a Capitol Police officer, were killed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.