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US Creates 'No Drone Zones' for Papal Visit

  • VOA News

Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's square at the Vatican on Sept. 9, 2015, for his weekly general audience.

Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's square at the Vatican on Sept. 9, 2015, for his weekly general audience.

No drones will be allowed in New York, Washington or Philadelphia later this month when Pope Francis visits the faithful in those cities.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced that all unmanned aircraft will be prohibited in those places, as well as their surrounding communities, from September 22 through September 27.

Those areas have been designated as “No Drone Zones.”

“If you plan to attend any of the papal visit events, please leave your drone at home,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. “Anyone flying a drone within the designated restricted areas may be subject to civil and criminal charges.”

Drones are normally prohibited at large gatherings such as sporting events, and the airspace around Washington is already more restricted than in any other part of the country for national-security reasons.

But the Washington no-fly zone has been expanded to aircraft at small airports in Maryland including Potomac Airfield, College Park and Washington Executive-Hyde Park.

In addition to stops at Congress, the White House and U.N. headquarters, the pope will lead mass in all three cities, including an outdoor mass in Philadelphia which two million worshippers are expected to attend.

New York's police chief Bill Bratton described his city's leg of the visit, from September 24-25, as "the largest security challenge that the department and the city has ever faced."

"We've never seen anything like this before," agreed Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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