What Are the Rules for Flying Your Drone in a National Forest Area?

What Are the Rules for Flying Your Drone in a National Forest Area?

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In today’s show we discuss the rules for flying your drone in a national forest area. Do you need a commercial permit to do so? Will forest service go after pilots who fly without a permit? We also discuss how forest service areas differ from wilderness areas. You can also check out our entire “Legalities” playlist here – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9QgOnFmIV8gj2Akp0HHi2THDMwzx_HmH

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00:21 – Paul welcomes Vic on the show
01:08 – Can you fly over a national forest area?
01:59 – Vic shares details of the Tidwell memo
03:20 – Do journalists need a commercial permit to shoot in a national forest?
03:55 – Do you need a commercial permit if you fly your drone over a national forest?
05:10 – Will forest service go after commercial pilots who are flying over environmentally sensitive areas?
06:29 – Is it easy to get commercial permits for flying in national forest areas?
07:42 – Can you take off and land from a wilderness area? How high do you need to fly?
08:48 – Is it a good idea to inform a forest ranger before flying in a national forest?
10:25 – Paul recounts his interaction with a forest ranger
11:26 – Does the US forest service adhere to the Tidwell memo?
12:03 – Is it a good idea to record your flying in a national forest?
13:11 – Instructions for downloading the Tidwell memo

Please watch: “How FAA’s NPRM for Remote ID for Drones Will Hurt Hobby Pilots or RC Pilots with Jon McBride”

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  1. TheXanthoman on June 22, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    So , just to be clear , if it’s a strictly recreational flight , and it’s national forest , that’s not specifically designated as a wilderness area , then no permit is required ?

  2. Yard Guy on June 22, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    Here’s one for yall: Would it be legal to fly over a coastal wildlife management area from a private boat for commercial purposes without a permit? (not setting foot on the wildlife management area land, but flying from public waters).

  3. John Rentmeesters on June 22, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks Paul!
    Can you have a podcast about flying in BLM (bureau of land management areas)?

  4. Sarasota Experience on June 22, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    How is a permit good for in the industry? A year?each flight?

  5. Sarasota Experience on June 22, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    Also what other permits are out there that we may need to look into getting? I film many local parks and beaches. Permit?

  6. Matthew Schuck on June 22, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    What about the weight of drones? Now that DJI have the Mini weighing in at 249g does that allow hobbyists or commercial pilots to fly without a permit?

  7. Agent Smith on June 22, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Thanx Paul…Good Info 🙂

  8. Police Tube on June 22, 2022 at 7:45 pm


  9. SC Aerials - Steve Carpenter on June 22, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    Dang YouTube, I had it on reminder, nothing happened, I’ll tune back in once it’s posted.

  10. mzimmerman12 on June 22, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t hear talk about recreational flyers. It seemed to be centered around commercial or professional flyers.
    I live near a wilderness area that is surrounded by houses, parks, etc. The area is used for hiking, mountain biking, etc. My little drone 200 feet in the air wont even be heard. Would it be legal to fly from outside the area over top of the wilderness area? Like I said, I could do it and nobody we even notice but I would like to stay within the rules.

  11. Road Time on June 22, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    Call the Ranger Service, here in Washington if you ask to many questions your going to get to many different answers…

  12. Kristy G. on June 22, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    Drones ruin the solitude people seek out in nature– whether it’s a wilderness zone, state park, or a beach etc. Might as well be running a weed wacker out there.

  13. Alex Causey on June 22, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    They want the money for the permits they require.! $$$$$$$$$

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