Park Authority

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

Kirk Kincannon,
Executive Director

Model Aircrafts and Drones


Cancelled: The Park Authority Board Committee of the Whole Discussion on February 28, 2018

Effective February 23, 2018, the Park Authority Board Committee of the Whole’s discussion of unmanned aircraft (UAS) scheduled for Wednesday, February 28 has been deferred.

Two recent legislative bills in the Virginia General Assembly, House Bill 638 and Senate Bill 526, would prohibit political subdivisions such as the Park Authority, from regulating privately owned, unmanned aircraft within their boundaries. Accordingly, the Park Authority Board’s discussion has been deferred until the legislation is resolved and its potential effect on a future recreational UAS program known.

We apologize for the short notice of cancellation, and have reached out to those who expressed an interest in attending. Please pass the word along to anyone we may have missed. Also, please continue to watch this page for updates as these bills continue to move through the General Assembly. Your comments and questions are welcome at



Thank you to all who attended the public meeting on December 11, 2017 and who provided comments – by phone, email, social media, and in person. In the coming weeks, the project team will be considering this new information and presenting its recommendations on Lake Fairfax and Popes Head Park to the Park Authority Board.

In your feedback, we heard that there is desire for new places to fly UAS and the benefits, from recreation, to STEM education, to institutional and commercial uses. However, such a program must consider public safety; how others use our parks; any impacts to wildlife and habitat; and how UAS use affects the surrounding neighbors.

Next Steps

The project team will review all comments received and present its recommendations to the Park Authority Board in February. If any additional outdoor use is recommended and endorsed by the Park Authority Board, our staff will work closely with our partner organizations to minimize any identified issues, with the primary goal of providing a safe, sustainable, and respectful program. The Park Authority is planning to introduce a series of UAS-related classes and programs later this year at indoor locations and may make limited, scheduled use of outdoor locations, if appropriate.

Please continue to visit this page for additional information on UAS in the park system as it becomes available. If you have questions, please contact us at

Again, thank you! Your participation has given us greater insights into this new and emerging technology, and how we might better serve our communities.


As unmanned aircraft systems (“drones”) have surged in popularity, county parkland has become an in-demand location for this emerging technology. Currently, drone pilots may take off and land at Poplar Ford Park under a partnership with Northern Virginia Radio Control, a model aircraft organization.

The Park Authority undertook a study in 2017 to determine how it could provide new opportunities for drone users while ensuring public safety, protecting its lands and natural resources, and continuing to provide quality recreational experiences and programming for all park visitors.

The Park Authority is considering expanding drone use to one or two additional sites in the coming year. Sites would be operated in partnership with a qualified club or organization, with locations and schedules carefully chosen to minimize impacts to existing park activities and resources. Public input is a key part of this selection process. Parks currently under consideration are Lake Fairfax Park and Popes Head Park.

For More Information

Drone pilots are expected to abide by all applicable laws, Federal Aviation Administration requirements, and Park Authority regulations. More information for pilots can be found at:

FAA – Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Know Before You Fly

For additional questions, please contact the Park Authority’s Public Information Office at 703-324-8662 or

Poplar Ford Park

6704 Bull Run Post Office Road
Chantilly, VA


Flying time is daily from 9 a.m. to sunset

Radio controlled model aircraft use at Poplar Ford Park is an approved use by the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA). The Northern Virginia Radio Control Club (NVRC) and the FCPA share a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) giving permission to NVRC to use this site for radio controlled model aircraft use. Anyone desiring to participate in radio controlled model aircraft use must be a member of NVRC or an invited guest in compliance with the rules of the MOA.

All users shall comply with the Field Rules or are subject to loss of the privilege of participating in radio controlled model aircraft activities. The RC model aircraft use area is closed to non-participants during hours scheduled for flying. For your own safety please keep out of the area.

A Board of Governors administers the agreement between NVRC and FCPA. The representatives are:

NVRC - Mark Franke

FCPA - Troy Miller

Citizen Representative - Hal Strickland

NVRC Safety Officer – Patrick Dunlap

Supporting Documents