FAA shrinks Washington's no-drone zone

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Drones and model aircraft can return to the skies in the outer ring of special airspace around the nation's capital.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced an update Tuesday that shrinks the no-drone zone from a ring with a 30-mile radius around Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to one with a 15-mile radius. The new rules will take effect Wednesday.

Within the larger special flight rules area, which includes much of southern and central Maryland and northern Virginia, registered and marked aircraft under 55 pounds can fly in clear conditions. They must stay below 400 feet, within sight and avoid other aircraft.

Hobbyists must notify any airport within 5 miles and commercial operators must notify the FAA.

Academy of Model Aeronautics Executive Director Dave Mathewson says this means 14 clubs in the area can resume flights.