Planes Are Absolutely Not Allowed to Fly Here
When you're up in an airplane, you likely don't notice exactly how you get from point A to point B. Leave that up to the pilots. Luckily for everyone, they know that part of keeping passengers safe is steering clear of no-fly zones.
No-fly zones are areas where aircraft aren't allowed to be. Flying into them can cause a lot of problems. Some no-fly zones are obvious and exist for security or safety reasons, but others might surprise you.
The airspace restriction over Area 51 is unlimited, meaning no aircraft, whether military, commercial or civilian aircraft, may travel through the area at any elevation short of outer space itself. Perhaps just off of Earth's boundaries is where the UFO's hover. Area 51's airspace is more restricted than even the capital’s.
US Disney Parks
Airplanes cannot get within 3,000 feet above both of Disney's parks in the US — Disneyworld and Disneyland. These restrictions began after the 9/11 attacks, but they didn't become permanent until 2003. These places attract too many large crowds too frequently, so they were made into a no-fly zone to deter terrorism..
One of the most renowned historical sites in the world is Machu Picchu, a former citadel of the Incan Empire. In 2006, the government of Peru began banning airplanes from flying over it for safety reasons. Around 2,500 tourists visit this UNESCO world heritage site daily.
Tibet is a strict no-fly zone, but not for the reason you might think. Its elevation at 16,000 feet means it isn't safe for aircraft to fly over it. While commercial aircraft fly well above this range, the margin for error is slim to none here, making it hazardous airspace.
After 9/11, the US capital's airspace became some of the most restricted in the world. The entire capital is pretty much off-limits to aircraft flying at 18,000 feet and below. There is an outer boundary that allows aircraft that have been identified and cleared to pass overhead, but that's it.
Buckingham Palace is not only a historical landmark in the UK, but also where the monarch resides when in town. The building serves as the entire monarchy's headquarters. It's such an important place that the airspace above the palace has been established as a no-fly zone to keep it secure.
Kennedy Space Center
It should come as no surprise that the airspace over NASA's Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Florida's Merritt Island constitute a no-fly zone up to 5,000 feet. When rockets are launching, the restricted airspace is sometimes adjusted from 5,000 feet to unlimited.
The Taj Mahal has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1983. Built between 1632 and 1653, it's likely the most recognized work of Indian architecture in the world. A no-fly zone was established in its airspace in 2006 by the Indian government to make sure the building and the huge crowds of visitors it draws every year remain safe.
The whole city of Budapest isn't off-limits for air traffic — it's just the ancient inner city of Pest and the Buda Hills, much of which are a UNESCO world heritage site. These areas are home to the Hungarian Parliament Building, St. Stephen's Basilica and Buda Castle. The Hungarian Parliament Building specifically requires the strict no-fly zone for security reasons.
Paris is a no-fly zone for drones only. For other aircraft, Paris' airspace is open. The French drone laws are strict, and enforcement has gotten stricter because of the number of drones used for leisure purposes. The intention is to protect the city, residents, visitors and landmarks.
Cuba does not have restricted airspace specifically, but any unscheduled foreign aircraft are banned from entering Cuban airspace unless the government permits entry beforehand. The Cuban military takes this ban seriously and does not hesitate to take down aircraft that violate their rules.
Lionel Messi’s House
How is it possible that a soccer player got the airspace near his house restricted? As it turns out, he wasn't the one to do it. The area, Castelldefels, is a protected environmental region in Spain. Lionel Messi's home just happens to be close by.
Camp David has been a presidential retreat and meeting spot since FDR. Located in Maryland, the compound — technically named the Naval Support Facility Thurmont — often hosts presidents and their families along with other high-profile guests. It's a high-profile spot, which means they can't just have random aircraft flying over it.
The Super Bowl
A temporary no-fly zone during Super Bowls is always instated to protect the huge crowds that attend. The restricted airspace generally applies to a roughly 30-mile radius around the stadium where the Super Bowl is being held.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
In 1948, President Harry Truman signed an executive order stating that the pristine, million-acre wilderness in Minnesota along the Canadian border known as the Boundary Waters was a no-fly zone. To this day, planes cannot fly lower than 4,000 feet over it.
Most commercial airlines cannot fly over Antarctica for several reasons. During the Reagan administration, the FAA created a rule that twin-engine aircraft can only fly where there is an airfield within 60 minutes. This is for safety reasons in case of emergencies. As such, Antarctica is basically a no-fly zone.
The Bush Family Compound
The area of Walker's Point Peninsula located in southern Maine houses the Bush family compound in a town called Kennebunkport. This house has been in the Bush family for over 100 years, and flying over it is not allowed.
Portlaoise Prison in Ireland
The Portlaoise Prison in Ireland is a maximum-security prison that was built in the 1830s. It is one of the oldest prisons in Ireland, and the complex is now a strict no-fly zone. No aircraft of any kind, including drones, are allowed in its airspace.
The Tower of Silence in Mumbai, India
The Tower of Silence in Mumbai, India is a circular structure designed for dead bodies to be eaten by scavenger birds. Originally, this was a spiritual ritual dating back to around 5 BC to keep death from being exposed to the sacred elements of earth and fire. It continues today.
George Washington's House
The logic behind restricting planes from flying closer than 1500 feet above George Washington's house in Mount Vernon is to prevent damage. The wooden house, built between 1758 and 1778, is already not in the best condition due to its age.
Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel
In the Old City of Jerusalem is a plaza surrounded by brick walls. Inside the walls is Temple Mount, a holy site for practitioners of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The entire area of the Old City is a strict no-fly zone. All aircraft are forbidden in this airspace at any height.
The Parthenon was built at the peak of the Athenian Empire's power, between 447 BC and 432 BC, in Athens, Greece. It was a temple to the Greek goddess Athena. Miraculously, the ruins of this structure still exist today. Unsurprisingly, air traffic is prohibited below 5,000 feet around the Parthenon.
Pantex Nuclear Facility
The airspace above the high-security, nuclear Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas is a no-fly zone. The mission of the plant is to make sure the United States' stockpile of nuclear weapons is safe, reliable and secure. Part of doing that means not allowing airplanes to fly over it.
Finland's Nuclear Power Plants
Finland has two nuclear power plant facilities located in Olkiluoto and Loviisa. Their airspace is restricted below 6,500 feet within about a two-mile radius of the plants. The idea behind these no-fly zones is the protection of the reactors inside the plants.
Naval Base Kitsap
Naval Base Kitsap is located near Seattle, across Elliott Bay. It is the largest naval facility in the Northwest and the third-largest in the US. It maintains submarines, ships and ballistic missiles. Because of these factors, it has been established as a no-fly zone for security reasons.
Right outside of Crawford, Texas lies the Bush family ranch, known as Prairie Chapel Ranch. George W. Bush is the current owner and has been since the late 1990s. In recent years, the ranch has been established as a no-fly zone, since aside from the Bush family, many foreign dignitaries also visit the place.
Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, has several large no-fly zones. Constitution Avenue in Northeast Islamabad is off-limits to all aircraft, including drones because of the presence of the Parliament House, the residences of the president and prime minister, the Supreme Court and various nuclear labs and complexes.
Colombo City, Sri Lanka
The airspace around Sri Lankan territory and territorial waters was declared an air defense identification zone in 2007. Since then, prohibited or restricted areas within that zone are banned for aircraft. The only exception is if air defense clearance from the Sri Lanka Air Force has been given prior to entering.
Hungary's National Parks
The skies above all of the National Parks in Hungary, as well as a couple of holiday resorts, are restricted airspace. This is part of the country's conservation effort. The airspace restrictions began in 1996 on behalf of the Hungarian government.
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay
The US Navy Atlantic Fleet houses its nuclear-powered Trident submarines at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. Aircraft are not allowed to fly over the area below 3,000 feet. Additionally, the base is home to guided missiles and ballistic submarines as well as the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic.