How does Casey Neistat fly drones in Manhattan?

Casey, a well-known YouTuber, complies with NYC’s stringent airspace laws while posting his daily vlogs, which often include drone pictures over Manhattan. Although the city is essentially a no-fly zone and there may be difficulties adhering to building separation regulations, Casey’s regular use of drones indicates he handles these legalities with skill. Given the FAA’s customary response timeframes, it seems improbable that he gets approval for each vlog. But if Casey’s acts are illegal, why has not the FAA taken legal action given his prominence and 12.5 million subscribers? This begs the question: is he making use of legal loopholes, abiding by the law more successfully than is believed, or is the FAA handling his case differently than it is?

1 Like

gmylUNkeIGw can be seen on YouTube.

Here you go. About two or three years ago, I watched this documentary about him flying about and everything.

1 Like

As far as I know, New York City has strict laws for taking off and landing, but the city doesn’t control the airspace. According to the B4UFLY app, most of downtown is a “clear for takeoff” area, while midtown and the Upper East/West Sides have mixed 0-400 foot Class B airspace zones.

I haven’t watched his videos much, but in a recent one, he has some questionable shots flying over the East River. There is a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) or Exclusion Zone there, but I can’t find a clear answer on whether drones are banned or technically allowed. It seems it’s not as restricted as the no-fly zone in Washington, DC. B4UFLY doesn’t mark the area in red but does mention the restriction if you click on the river. Similarly, the FlySafe app doesn’t show it as restricted, but its information isn’t always reliable. So, it’s a bit of a gray area.

And I’m not sure what you mean by “separation requirements from buildings.”