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Can You Fly a Drone in Prospect Park?

Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is 585 acres full of fun, including playgrounds, a carousel, the Prospect Park Zoo, parade grounds, a tennis center, Lefferts Historic House, and the LeFrak Center at Lakeside.

You know that using your drone in a park is a toss-up, which has you curious. Can you fly a drone in Prospect Park?

You can’t fly a drone in Prospect Park according to the rules established by the Prospect Park Alliance. However, you can take your drone to nearby Marine Park or Calvert Vaux Park and use it in either of those two places instead.

In this article, we’ll further explain the drone usage rules in Prospect Park, so make sure you don’t miss all the great information we have for you ahead!

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Can you fly a drone in Prospect Park?

Prospect Park intersects several neighborhoods in Brooklyn, including Windsor Terrace, Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Prospect Heights, and Park Slope. It’s also the second biggest public park in Brooklyn.

Unfortunately, pilots cannot use a drone here.

That’s according to the Prospect Park Alliance, which “sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park to benefit the diverse communities we serve, in partnership with the City of New York.”

According to the safety rules for Prospect Park[1], the Prospect Park Alliance states that “The use of toy or model planes, kites, and drones is not permitted in Prospect Park.

That’s about as cut and dried as it gets.

While the Prospect Park Alliance issues permits, including photography and film permits, none are available to drone pilots.

So why can’t you fly in Prospect Park? It boils down to a lot of reasons.

First, there’s the issue of popularity. As the second biggest Brooklyn park, Prospect Park will attract a lot of visitors.

Brooklyn, as a part of New York, follows the FAA’s Operations over People law, which prohibits drone pilots from flying over crowds. You risk interrupting other people’s peace when you get too close with your drone.

Much more seriously, you could invade their privacy, whether intentionally or not. That’s a crime that carries a stiff punishment in New York State.

On top of that, you could accidentally injure someone with your drone.

Prospect Park also includes far more than greenspace. The park is the home of the Lena Horne Bandstand, Prospect Park Zoo, Prospect Park Dog Beach, Lefferts Historic House, Audubon Center, and LeFrake Center at Lakeside.

The park is also right by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Grand Army Plaza, and the Brooklyn Museum.

All said, that’s a lot of places where a drone shouldn’t be all crammed into one 600-acre area!

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What happens if you get caught flying a drone in Prospect Park?

In New York, flying your drone illegally is considered endangering the health and even the lives of others. Committing such a crime can lead to fines.

You might think, “well, Prospect Park is sure to be crowded. Maybe no one will notice if I fly my drone?”

That won’t happen. People will certainly notice, and they have a lot of recourse if they spot you using a drone.

On the Prospect Park Alliance website, visitors are encouraged to dial 311 for any “disruptive activity” and vandalism. They can also find Parks Enforcement by the Parks Enforcement Patrol vehicles dotted throughout the park.

Prospect Park also includes yellow police call boxes throughout, or a visitor can dial 911 to contact police.

While a visitor should only dial 911 in a true emergency, they can always contact the non-emergency line to discuss your drone usage.

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Can you fly a drone in Calvert Vaux Park or Marine Park?

Fortunately, you’re not too far from two other esteemed Brooklyn parks, Calvert Vaux Park, and Marine Park. Can you use your drone in either of these parks? Let’s explore!

Calvert Vaux Park

The 85.53-acre Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn welcomes drone pilots. This park in Gravesend was once called Dreier Offerman Park. It was later renamed in 1998 after Calvert Vaux, an architect.

The park features a waterfront area, a soccer field, baseball diamonds, bocce courts, basketball courts, synthetic turf fields, a rain garden, and a playground.

There are plenty of paths to stroll, greenery to explore, and clear, open areas to fly your drone, doing tricks or capturing aerial photography and/or videography.

As always, steer clear of crowds and make sure you’re respectful of others. Limit your distance from other unmanned aircraft, which you’ll surely see since pilots don’t have a lot of options in Brooklyn.

You don’t want to accidentally cause or be involved in a drone crash!

Marine Park

In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Marine Park is the public park also called Marine Park.

Yes, maybe that’s a touch confusing, but it’s worth navigating to this park, as it’s the biggest in Brooklyn and also one of very few that permits drones in the sky.

Across 798 acres, Marine Park in Jamaica Bay was initially used as a fishing and hunting ground by the Keshawchqueren Native Americans. By the 20th century, the land was converted into a park.

Today, Marine Park contains a golf course that’s over 200 acres, Gerritsen Creek, a nearly mile-long running path, sports fields, a playground, the artificial island called Mau Mau Island, and the Salt Marsh Center.

While you’re prohibited from entering the Salt Marsh Center with your drone since it’s a protected area, you should be free to use the rest of the park.

That said, when flying your drone around either Marine Park or Calvert Vaux Park, make sure you use a drone app to track maps in real time for temporary flight restrictions and other rules prohibiting drone usage.

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Brooklyn drone flight rules to remember

To wrap up, here’s a collection of Brooklyn drone laws to keep in mind as you visit the parts of the city where you can use a drone.

You must have a drone license

The FAA requires all drone pilots who take to the skies to have a drone license.

Commercial pilots must hold the Remote Pilot Certificate, obtainable only by passing the Part 107 exam. If you haven’t registered for the Part 107 exam, you can sign up and find a testing center today on the FAA’s website.

It costs money to register to take the exam. We’ve got great resources on the blog that will help you study up so you’re likelier to pass your first go-around.

Once you have the Part 107 exam, it’s current for two years. Before it expires, sign up to take the FAA’s free online recertification exam.

Recreational pilots need the hobbyist license, known as the TRUST license. It’s named after The Recreational UAS Safety Test, the exam you must pass to get your license.

The TRUST test is administered online for free. You can change any of your wrong answers as you take the test.

Your TRUST license doesn’t expire either!

Get your drone registered

Commercial pilots must always register their drones with the FAA. The fee to do so is $5, and the registration lasts for three years.

Recreational pilots have the option to register their drone depending on what it weighs. Drones that exceed 0.55 pounds must have FAA registration, but drones that weigh 0.55 pounds or less don’t need it.

Only use your drone during daylight hours

Unless you have special permission, you can only fly your drone in Brooklyn and other parts of New York State between sunrise and sunset.

Do not fly higher than 400 feet

The FAA only allows drones to fly 400 feet from the grounds up. It’s your responsibility to watch your altitude and fly accordingly.

Stay away from crowds

The abovementioned Operations over People law prohibits drone pilots from using their UAVs to fly over or close to crowds in most instances.

The only exception is for lightweight drones and when a drone pilot has the consent of an individual or group of people.

Do not fly over moving vehicles

The FAA’s Operations over Moving Vehicles law prohibits pilots from flying over a moving vehicle at any time. A vehicle must be in a stationary position, and a drone pilot must have permission from the people in the vehicle to fly over it.

Keep your eyes on your drone

It’s also your responsibility to maintain a visual line of sight on your UAV. If you can’t do so, you should seek an observer to help you.

Don’t fly your drone in inclement weather

Brooklyn experiences all four seasons, so plan your drone flights accordingly. In inclement weather such as fog, hail, rain, snow, or strong winds, you cannot take your drone out.

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Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is one of the city’s most beloved parks. However, it’s illegal to use a drone here.

If you’re insistent on flying your drone in a Brooklyn park, try Marine Park or Calvert Vaux Park instead.

1. Prospect Park (link)