Flying in the USA


we are planing to come to Las Vegas in April. In our package we have a huge octocopter we like to fly in the Grand Canyon. Is that legal? Do we need to get a licence?

The Copter is a professional one, but for that time we like to fly private.

Hope for someone can give me some informations about the Nevada / USA law.

Best regards from Austria


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  • Enjoy your trip!  As I'm sure you know as there are many beautiful landscapes in that part of the world. The options for ground based exploring are really exciting and endless. It is more restricted for flying your copter, 

    When you start looking elsewhere than the Grand Canyon to fly the copter, just be aware that there are areas in Nevada, Arizona, and California  that are designated Wilderness  and meant to be free of motorized use. The Wilderness Act of 1964 specifically states that:

    "except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area." (Section 4C)

    Although Grand Canyon National Park has its own restrictions it is not designated wilderness but about half of all the National Parks acreage is designated Wilderness as well as large chunks of US National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, and Bureau of Land Management lands.  To explore where these boundaries are you can use this really handy interactive digital map:

    • I just got back from a trip to the Teton,s and we drove up to the geyser basin at Old Faithful in Yellowstone one day. I used to live near there so have been many times. Many more people now! Thankfully I did not take the QAV540G with me as I would have used it for sure and all types of RC craft are banned in all National Parks because they disturb people and wildlife. When we have people flying "drones" into hot springs as happened right before our trip it is no wonder there is a ban. The minority are already hurting the majority and it is headed to getting much worse I am afraid.
      • I am hearing a rumor that currently there are 2 people in the US that can fly multirotors virtually anywhere and that they are the only 2 people that have licenses to do so.

        Anyone else have info on this?

        -Todd H

  • Frank,  you may want to review the posts linked on '2014 US legal and regulatory news about civilian drones, not FAA-sp...' and 'Traveling with a civilian or commercial drone system'. There may be other posts of interest on these News pages. Whatever you do, the Grand Canyon is truly an amazing place to visit. Hope you have a fabulous trip.

  • Here is the link to the Grand Canyon site:

    I did not see anything for them specifically in the announcements or FAQ about flying there.  It was recently announced that individual parks had an 18 month window to enact new rules regarding the use of RC aircraft.  There are rules in place nationally that allow for their use but the rangers can always ask you to stop if they feel you are bothering others or generally being a nuisance.

    Best bet, call them and just ask and don't provide any details.

  • Technically its illegal in Grand Canyon as it was banned awhile ago. However its a huge place if you find a nice quiet spot you should be OK, if you go to an observation deck expect to get arrested. Go look at you tube there are hundreds of videos of people still doing it. its like speeding they can only catch so many....

    Recently Jarvis the leader of the national park service has sent out a memorandum to all the national parks suggesting they ban drone use. It will be up to the superintendents of each park to decide this topic.

    An all out ban will be in the supreme court asap. I would like to hear Jarvis explain to the supreme court how a Phantom 2 is more dangerous then a loaded desert eagle.

  • I would read this discussion

  • Big brother passed legislation making it illegal to fly in state parks.

    I recommend joining the AMA.   ...I did. You can fly in any AMA field in the USA.


    • I know some specific National Parks have restrictions. I was not aware of a total ban it would be up to each state to regulate state parks. I do agree with joining AMA but most of those fields have few if anyone flying FPV.
      • It's now a total ban.

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