National Model Aviation Day on Governor's Island

This is a past event

122 people went

Every 3rd Saturday of the month

Governer's Island

Governer's Island · New York City, NY

How to find us

We will be assembling at the Ferry Terminal at 8:30 and departing on the 10:00a ferry. See details below for further info

Location image of event venue



This month's fly-in is more than fun, it's civic minded. Thanks to the kind folks at The Trust For Governor's Island, we have been invited to fly over the island. What a beautiful site and with amazing backdrops of NYC, Statue Of Liberty, etc.

Ferry Service begins at 10:00a - we may be able to get some golf cart type transport on the island but don't count on it.

There will be specific parts of the island for us to fly above and around but be warned there will be other people enjoying the island while we are there. There will be a mandatory ceiling of 200 feet and no flight over the monument area of the island.

I will be posting further info in advance of this event.

With all the negative press about our hobby/profession/passion, this is an opportunity for our group to demonstrate what safe, responsible UAS activity is all about.

There will likely be press/media there so bring your 'A' game! Also working to invite members of the NYC legislature in the hopes of influencing policy decisions.

We are the ambassadors of UAS in NYC!


MORE INFO as of 08/03/2015

thanks for everyone's excitement, suggestions, and questions. As you might imagine this is an important event. With the recent negative press around UAS and stupid people doing stupid things with drones around JFK, the leadership team is going through some flaming hoops to ensure that we have a safe and fun event.

After consideration and discussion, we agree that this is not a flying event for beginners. Some of you have asked that very question, which we respect and are grateful for. If you feel that flying in potential high winds in a very restricted and monitored area is not what you are up to please don't make this event your proving ground.

We do encourage beginners to come and learn from our more experienced members. Anyone that has been to our fly-ins knows how helpful and friendly we are. We are also in need of volunteers to act as safety officers and software checkers. A great opportunity to get involved.

As stated before, we will be maintaining a 200ft ceiling with a radius of 250m. The monument area at the northern tip is a National Park and prohibited from being overflown. The island has several helicopter air routes running by the east, west and south and the Wall St heliport immediately due north. We request that no one fly beyond the land perimeter of the island out of respect to manned aviation.

There will be a mandatory aircraft geo fence check on the Manhattan side prior to boarding the ferry. If your aircraft does not have the ability to create a ceiling and perimeter via GPS, it will not be permitted on the island. Operators must show safety officers their settings of 200ft ceiling and 250m perimeter in order to board with a drone.

By coincidence, National Model Aviation Day is August 15th - what better way to celebrate it!

Here is a link with more information - donations go to The Wounded Warrior Project:

UPDATED INFO 8/10/2015

Some updates on how the event will unfold:

Due to the high turnout expected we will be issuing lanyards and wristbands. Wristbands will be color coded and denote a particular takeoff and landing zone on a map that will be provided at check - in on the NYC side of the ferry.

Check-in will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. There are a limited number of flight slots per location. A wristband and lanyard indicate that your aircraft has been checked and you are assured of at least one flight on the island. Note that we have added an hour to the event's duration to accommodate more flying.

Each flying site will be color coded and coordinate to the color of your wrist band. Time permitting you may be able to fly at another spot but only after everyone with the original color tag has flown. Your lanyard tag will be marked by safety officers to indicate you have had a turn in the air and at which station.

Actual flying sites on the island will be determined after scouting takes place end of day tomorrow.

We are currently instituting a "Snooze, You Lose" policy. You must be checked in, have a wrist band and lanyard, and be on the 10:00a ferry in order to fly at this event. This does not apply to spectators. We currently do not have the man power to have someone stay on the Manhattan side to check in late comers.

This may change based on actual turnout but this is the policy at the moment. Please do not board the next ferry with your drone expecting to fly on the island. You will experience the wrath of those that arrived early!

Please have your aircraft ready to be powered up (no props) and your smartphone app open to show your failsafe as "return to home", your altitude ceiling at 200ft or the metric equivalent, and a range of 250m. No exceptions.


There are several factors affecting our time frame for the event:

The first ferry to the island departs The Battery Terminal at 10:00a. By the time we reach the flying site on the island - a map will be posted here beforehand and printed for your reference - it will be near 10:30.

There is an event going on in the "Old Town" section (no overflight) - a Jazz Age music festival with people dressed in period 1920's costume. It doesn't begin until noon but its certain that some of the people going to that event will be boarding the 10:00 ferry.

We currently have no mechanism in place for late arrivals. If you are not on the 10:00 ferry, please do not board with an aircraft thinking you can slip in. Wristbands and lanyards are what gets you to the flight line.

With so many operators interested in flying, we must state once again that this is not an event for beginners. Not sure if you're a beginner? Can you fly figure 8's, land "nose in", know what "nose in" means? We just cannot stress this enough. This is a high profile public event and a lot of important 3 letter agencies are scrutinizing from near and far.

We will be issuing lanyards to the first 70 operators that show our screeners (like the TSA but for god's sake leave your shoes on) your failsafe, RTH, flight ceiling and radius parameters on your control app or other interface.

FAILSAFE - Return to home, Flight Ceiling 200 feet, flight distance radius 250 meters or equivalent.

We will not have time to help you find the screens and make the settings - please do this in advance of your arrival at the Ferry Terminal. Have your app launched and your aircraft powered without props. Be patient and kind to all volunteers. We are here for your safety and the safety of others on the island. If you're not ready we may need to send you back in line until you are.

Flight intervals have been reduced to 10 min per turn in the air. We feel that for all the effort you are making to come to this event, it is better for everyone to get a chance to fly more but not all at once. Go get coffees for everyone, hydrate, put some sunscreen on and talk to your fellow enthusiasts. We have so much to learn from one another. Revel in the wonder of it all and then maybe fly again.

There will be demarcated flight stations with traffic cones and a spectator line for everyone else to remain behind. Operators may have one person beside them for spotting or coaching but no one else may interfere with the operator while flying.

Lastly, several of you are asking - "can I go higher than 200 feet?" No.

I scouted the island yesterday afternoon and the staff are very excited to have us do what we do best. Lets be exemplary in our behavior and observe the rules we have set.

There is no overflight of the monument area where the ferry landing and old town and fort are. Maps will clearly demarcate what is out of bounds. There is and will be a tremendous amount of manned helicopter flight at altitudes that are quite low all around the island. Please do not fly past the boundary of land on the island - if you do, you will be asked to land immediately and will surrender your wristband and lanyard preventing you from any further flight activity.

In addition you will be ridiculed by your peers and referred to as "that guy" or "that girl" for the remainder of the day and shamed publicly on the internet. Seriously, don't do it.

Please be respectful of spectators and passersby do not fly behind the flight line.

There is likely to be press/media there. Have smart things to say, and demonstrate good aeronautical decision making by keeping distance from other craft and not traversing the entire flight area - stay in your part of the sky.

Lastly, be nice and be patient - our team of leaders and volunteers has put a lot of effort in to making this a kick-ass event for no other compensation than knowing they did their part to demonstrate their passion for UAS.

See you there!


This map indicates the path of travel to take if you want to rent a bike to get around, all roads lead to us once you get past the food truck area.

Flight stations will be set up by color code. Your wrist band indicates which station you will queue up for. Wrist bands will be numbered but does not indicate the order of flight since some will arrive after others - so once again, first come first served.

The volunteer team will do their best to get to the site first and set up - your help and patience is required.

The area marked in green is where we are permitted to base our operations.

Orange indicates high density of people expected and where food and drink may be procured. Pink is no fly monument zone. This part of the island is a national park.

The area directly to the north of us is likely to have people in some spots especially as it gets later in the day. Please be conscious to not fly over/near people.

Lastly but not leastly, volunteers will be accepting your donations to The Wounded Warrior Project in conjunction with the Academy of Model Aeronautics. Please see the links below and make contribution with us or online, or both.