UAV flying in/around New York City?

Hey guys, this is my first post here on DIYDrones (I've been reading this site for a few months now, just not posting anything until now).

I'm in New York City (Brooklyn to be exact) and I'm really interested in building and flying a UAV. However, I'm wondering whether it's a good idea, or rather if it's even possible to fly an RC plane here. Obviously I'm not planning on flying around skyscrapers or anything, I just want to fly something and take a few camera shots or videos.

As an alternative, I can always take the train out to Long Island and fly there, but that would seem to be a big hassle getting a plane hidden on a train and keeping it all unbroken at the same time.

What do you guys think? Is there anyone here from New York City or some other largely populated city? Where do you fly, how, and when?
E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Moderator
    I guess growing up in the great Canadian west has given me a different outlook on the availability of flying areas.

    I would get claustrophobic living in any city, let alone New York!

    Standing out on the meadow looking west, I can see the chimney smoke from a farm 3 miles off in the distance and somedays even the plume from an OSB lumber plant 20 miles off on the horizon.

    Looking north or east I see the trees where a person could easily get lost. To the south is huge Slave Lake, which is dwarfed only by the GreatLakes.

    Soon we will be getting the annual influx of Snow Geese, Canadian Geese, 11 varieties of ducks, Blue Herons, Swans, and Pelicans... all of which nest here on their migrations.

    When we fly, we have to watch out for the eagles since the WIldlife officers worry we might be harrassing them.

    All this I guess I have taken for granted all my life, but listening to the New York issues concerning flying areas, helps me appreciate my freedoms here.
  • Now after looking at some of his videos and pictures, I think the QuadCopter/OctoCopter idea is pretty neat. I have a backyard behind my house which isn't that big (~25ft x 45ft) but I think it should be enough to use as a testing ground.

    Thanks a lot for helping me out and steering me in the right direction. Greatly appreciated.
  • I'm with John above and came here to post the same thoughts. There is a guy called AJ that flies a Octo in NYC and has some stunning photos to show for it. I believe his Rcgroups page is here:

    His Octo-Copter is UAV capable and has GPS and a Navi board I believe, you could maybe meet up with him, seems a real nice guy.

    One of the reasons why we picked Quads as a start for OpenPilot was because of space, so much easier to test as fixed wing need more room especially when tuning and obvious can go much further if things go wrong. Just as much fun, can hover in position hold and altitude hold full autonomously just a few meters in front of you, but can also move at 50mph as well.
    MorenoEnNYC1's blog - RC Groups
    RC Groups - the most active Radio Control model community: electric and fuel rc airplanes,rc helis,rc boats and rc cars. Features discussion forums,…
  • Developer
    You might want to consider the quadcopter route. Well suited for taking video/pictures and experimenting with UAV in a limited flying area.
  • My reccomendation is that you go somewhere that has very little to no plane traffic, and fly it over the ocean. I'm just soldering boards and waiting for my easystar to get shipped, and as soon as I get it, I plan to start out in a big field, get the hang of it, and after that, move to over the ocean... gets rid of all most population problems. The only issue is not being able to recover a downed aircraft, but a downed aircraft in a populated area is almost as good as gone as well. Just be aware of possible air traffic, and use common sense. ( Don't fly it in the sea in front of JFK :P )
  • Supposedly you can fly at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens
    The flying field looks really small from google maps though.

    The other option in NYC is Floyd Bennet Field
    "Model Airplane Flying (Year - round, weather permitting)
    Call 718-338-3799 for information on the Radio Controlled Flying Field at Floyd Bennett Field."

    It looks like PARCS manages the runway.
    I have not had a chance to follow up but afaik they require an AMA membership, which probably rules out autonomous flight. Let me know if you find out anything different.

    Also its probably easier to get to Long Island than Floyd Bennet Field if you don't have a car.
    I am mostly crashing indoors these days though.
  • If you end up needing to go the train route, you could look into using the Multiplex Xeno as your airframe. It's a flying wing that looks big enough for the UAV Dev Board (which knows how to fly a delta wing) and folds in half and packs into a bag for easy transport. I think that may be my next plane, since I end up travelling a bit.
  • robert i would recommend u read up because populated areas can be a issue and seeing as how where u live is so TIGHTLY populated it may be difficult if not impossible to even fly RC airplanes around where ur at man. not to dim the light on the fun but try to find a place that isent too populated and i would recommend since ur a newbie like myself try to make it more open so u can practice. The easy star i have to say is the best out of most of the starter planes because the fact its foam it wont be hard to fix on an accidental crash and the added bonus is that if you ever want to change it up for say a more experienced type airplane all it takes is a few changes.
  • I'm more for the planes... been looking at the EasyStar, Cularis, or ProJET Reaper (not yet available).
This reply was deleted.