Illegal Quad Video


"That guy"
Sooooooo... you were told it was illegal, then you post it on youtube saying it's illegal? What next... drop a copy off to your local law enforcement with your business card?

Sorry, but this makes no sense to me.


Senior Member
it is illegal to fly in any Federal park. Kind of a shame really as there is beautiful footage to be had. I suppose its for public safety reasons.


Posted a thousand or more times
Finding out that it was illegal after the fact is possible but the law doesn't forgive ignorance.

Posting it on youtube then advertising it on a forum even though you knew it was illegal could land you in trouble even faster.

They might forgive your ignorance of the law (depends on the park ranger I suppose), but my guess is that posting it on youtube will be seen in a bad light.

If it were me, I would remove the video. You may have made an honest mistake but don't advertise your ignorance once you've become aware of it.
When people go to a park to enjoy nature, they may not want to have their experience diminished by people flying multi-rotors (MR) around them. Plus, the National Park system wishes to avoid liability issues. Hence the policy to not allow these sorts of activities at a park.

Note that I said "Policy," not law. As of now, there are no _laws_ prohibiting MR flights in National Parks -- other than a fine for not obeying direction from a Park official. Since (as you stated on your YouTube page) you got permission to fly from Park officials, you are in the clear legally (I give you credit for asking before flying).

However, I would like to address the fact that you were flying in the vicinity of people not involved in flying RC models -- something that makes me cringe every time I see videos like this. I don't know if you've ever seen what happens when an MR loses a motor/prop -- things go south very quickly. All it will take to get our hobby almost completely banned (except for certain areas) is for this to happen in a public area with the MR whirling out of control into a group of people.

I love flying my beginner quad copter and plan on building a larger MR for AP. While I think much of the proposed FAA regulation is over-reach, it does make sense to have some sort of regulation that would allow for reasonable MR use, but also keeps uninvolved folks on the ground safe.

It's up to us to adhere to voluntary standards of conduct that will ensure we can still enjoy our passions while making sure we don't endanger anyone around us.
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"That guy"
It's up to us to adhere to voluntary standards of conduct that will ensure we can still enjoy our passions while making sure we don't endanger anyone around us.

Brilliantly put.

The public reach of a negative impression grows exponentially. The public reach of a positive one has a very short half life.


Church Meal Expert
I know that the National Park Service has banned flying in National Parks (thank you to the idiot who landed his Phantom in a hot spring at Yellowstone). Red Rock isn't a National Park. It's a National Conservation Area which is controlled by the BLM. It may have different rules than the National Parks. If he got permission from a ranger - he is fine (common sense still required). My son and I have done some traction kiting on the dry lakes in this area and the BLM, while they require permits, are far more open to all sorts of activities as long as you don't harm the environment - show them you care about the desert ecology and they are great. I wouldn't even think twice about flying on Ivanpah or any of the other similarly controlled dry lakes.

My son on a mountainboard at Jean Dry Lake south of Las Vegas.

Best regards,


Senior Member
it is illegal to fly in any Federal park. Kind of a shame really as there is beautiful footage to be had. I suppose its for public safety reasons.

I have heard various stories, none of which are official. One of them is that quads and RC planes harass and disturb wildlife.


"That guy"
. If he got permission from a ranger - he is fine (common sense still required).

I agree.

The problem here is that the OP displayed neither common sense, nor a desire to obtain permission (ETA he claims to have gotten permission from someone but maintains that, according to him, the footage is indeed illegal). Instead he has come here and bragged about his "illegal" video, which shows him engaging in risky and assumably "illegal" (by his account) behaviour. This is exactly the type of crap that will come back and bite us, as a whole, in the ass.

To the OP... Why haven't you pulled this video yet? Do you still not see the problems it poses to our hobby?
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I suspect the OP is bragging about his "illegal" video to draw in more viewers. He stated in his YouTube description that he had asked for permission, so that pretty much rules out the status of "illegal."

Besides, as I said earlier, a law was not passed making model airplane flights "illegal" in National Parks -- merely a policy from the National Park Service prohibiting them. Of course, getting caught could net you a fine for ignoring park directions. More likely, a Park Ranger will simply ask you to knock it off and send you on your way (as several people I know have had happen). And, has also been noted above, the area is not a National Park, thus the policy really doesn't apply.

However, the very act of bragging about his illegal video is damaging to the hobby, as was his apparent disregard for the safety of the people in the videos. Sure, it's a small risk that an accident will happen that hurts someone -- but the resulting impact to the people and our hobby are not worth that risk.
Besides, as I said earlier, a law was not passed making model airplane flights "illegal" in National Parks -- merely a policy from the National Park Service prohibiting them.

This is not the case. It is a law that has been on the books for many years with regard to aircraft. The only thing that could be open to interpretation is the definition of aircraft. Currently the NPS is using the following law to ban the use of rc models in National Park Service Units. To be clear this law applies in all areas managed by the NPS. It may be possible they are not enforcing in areas other than National Parks and Monuments.

36 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations)

§2.17 Aircraft and air delivery.
(a) The following are prohibited:

(1) Operating or using aircraft on lands or waters other than at locations designated pursuant to special regulations.

(2) Where a water surface is designated pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section, operating or using aircraft under power on the water within 500 feet of locations designated as swimming beaches, boat docks, piers, or ramps, except as otherwise designated.

(3) Delivering or retrieving a person or object by parachute, helicopter, or other airborne means, except in emergencies involving public safety or serious property loss, or pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.

(b) The provisions of this section, other than paragraph (c) of this section, shall not be applicable to official business of the Federal government, or emergency rescues in accordance with the directions of the superintendent, or to landings due to circumstances beyond the control of the operator.

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, the owners of a downed aircraft shall remove the aircraft and all component parts thereof in accordance with procedures established by the superintendent. In establishing removal procedures, the superintendent is authorized to: (i) Establish a reasonable date by which aircraft removal operations must be complete; (ii) determine times and means of access to and from the downed aircraft; and (iii) specify the manner or method of removal.

(2) Failure to comply with procedures and conditions established under paragraph (c)(1) of this section is prohibited.

(3) The superintendent may waive the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section or prohibit the removal of downed aircraft, upon a determination that: (i) The removal of downed aircraft would constitute an unacceptable risk to human life; (ii) the removal of a downed aircraft would result in extensive resource damage; or (iii) the removal of a downed aircraft is impracticable or impossible.

(d) The use of aircraft shall be in accordance with regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration. Such regulations are adopted as a part of these regulations.

(e) The operation or use of hovercraft is prohibited.

(f) Violation of the terms and conditions of a permit issued in accordance with this section is prohibited and may result in the suspension or revocation of the permit.
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With regard to Red Rock, as stated, it is not a National Park and it is operated by the BLM. There is a similar law to the one above that applies specifically to Red Rock. The law was modeled after the one the NPS uses. The BLM may not be actively enforcing the use of RC in Red Rock though, but it definitely is on their radar. As a side note, there is an RC flying field right outside the east boundary of Red Rock. The best thing anyone could do for the hobby is to simply ask before you fly.

Be aware that the NPS/BLM could still charge you after the fact when posting video of an "illegal" flight. Although, I highly doubt they would take the time to track anyone down for a $200 citation unless it was reckless or egregious in nature. As Mostly Harmless stated if you get caught you are most likely going to be told not to fly there anymore and sent on your way. At worst a citation and seizure of your equipment.
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The NPS may say they consider model aircraft as the same as full-scale, human carrying aircraft, but that argument has not legal validity. Read the discussion at:

I will not get drawn into repeating the legal arguments about model aircraft that have been beat to death, already. Suffice it to say that the NPS use of 36 CFR in terms of aircraft that you referenced above is in the same part of the NPS regulations governing snowmobiles, ATVs, and horses. Since all of these other methods only involve carrying humans, it makes little sense to invoke these regulations for non-human-carrying model airplanes but not for R/C model cars.

That said, NPS has the authority to ban activities in the parks that they feel could disrupt the wildlife, annoy other park users, or endanger people on the ground.

Since this was not a National Park, the same rules cannot be said to apply. The Red Rock National Monument is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). If you are to say that NPS rules apply to BLM responsibilities, there will be an awful lot of places that RC flying will be illegal. Just look at how much land is owned by the Federal Gov't and managed by BLM:


Thus, I stand by my assertion that the operation of the MR shown in the video is NOT illegal.... just ill-advised.


Church Meal Expert
The BLM also allowed certain Green (current administration campaign donors) to do this -
(Oh - and you Paid for it!)

Ivanpah Dry Lake Solar Farm and Bird Crematory

Best regards,
Mostly Harmless, I apologize if you thought I was attacking you. I actually agree with you. That being said if you were to receive a citation from the NPS that is the law they would cite you under. You are correct in your assessment on its validity. Someone will eventually challenge them in court on it.

As far as the BLM, the law I was talking about applies only to Red Rock. The BLM has a way off setting up what they call supplemental laws that are for specific lands. The laws for red rock were set up in the 90s and they were modeled after the 36 CFR sections the NPS uses. There is one section that is similar with regard to aircraft. Again it must stand up to the same validity test at the NPS law.

The real message here is for people to conduct themselves in a manner that doesn't harm or promote our hobby in a negative way regardless of whether it is "legal" or not.
No apology needed, I generally don't consider discussion to be "attacking." I've certainly been called wrong before -- heck, I may have actually been wrong a few times (probably more). ;) I enjoy a good discussion and usually learn quite a bit from them. I certainly didn't intend to imply that I had been attacked -- I just wanted to avoid another round of discussion that had gone on for pages elsewhere. Especially when I am a stickler for what constitutes a law vs. regulation vs. policy.

I think we're in complete agreement as to the way MR operators conduct ourselves.

Whether NPS or BLM (or setting up supplemental regulations at various locations), it highlights one of my broader concerns. With the vast preponderance of laws, regulations, etc., many which have not been passed by Congress, but by the stroke of a pen via a twitter or web posting, it is nearly impossible to know if what you are doing is "legal" or not (according to some bureaucrat 2000 miles away).

Although one might be cited as violating 36 CFR, I don't think that'll stand up in court over the long run... of course, I wouldn't want to spend the time and resources to find out. Thus, I'll continue to avoid such actions. I would also expect NPS and BLM park rangers to exercise discretion and simply notify people of the policy before dropping the hammer with a fine or imprisonment (use those for the serious, repeat offenders)... this sort of level-headed approach is what I've heard from folks who have inadvertently run afoul of the regulations.