FAA Declares Cities Pope Francis Visits 'No Drone Zones'

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By Devin Coldewey

If you were hoping to snag some sweet aerial shots of Pope Francis and his entourage during his first visit to the U.S. this week, the FAA has some bad news for you. The entirety of New York, Philadelphia and Washington have been declared temporary "no drone zones" during his visits, meaning no flying devices more complex than a paper airplane will be tolerated.

"I'm asking the public to please leave your drone at home during the papal visit," said FAA administrator Michael Huerta in a video released by the agency. "Flying a drone anywhere near the areas Pope Francis visits is against the law and violators could face stiff fines and criminal penalties."


Related: Unauthorized Drone Reports Soaring Into the Clouds, FAA Says

Washington, D.C., has a permanent ban in place, but in the other two cities, the flight restrictions will last from Tuesday through Sunday.

The FAA only recently finalized and made official its rules regarding drones and other small recreational aircraft, helping settle years of debate over the legality of the devices and the agency's own jurisdiction.