FAA establishes UAS flight restrictions over US DoD facilities

17 August 2018 (Last Updated August 17th, 2018 12:44)

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set new flight restrictions on the operations of the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones, over Department of Defense (DoD) facilities.

FAA establishes UAS flight restrictions over US DoD facilities
A drone in flight. Credit: Peter Linehan / Flickr.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set new flight restrictions on the operations of the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones, over Department of Defense (DoD) facilities.

The US agency is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 99.7, ‘Special Security Instructions’, in order to address concerns related to drone flights over national security-sensitive regions.

In collaboration with the US DoD, the FAA is establishing temporary flight restrictions specific to the operations of drones.

The additional restrictions are applicable on drone flights up to 400ft within the lateral boundaries of three different federal sites in the country.

“However, there are a few exceptions that enable UAS operators to fly their drones within the restricted areas.”

The three US facilities are the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) West, NGA Next West and NGA Arnold near St Louis, Missouri.

Highlighted by the US FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) FDC 8/9176, the modifications in the airspace restrictions are pending until they become effective on 30 August.

However, there are a few exceptions that enable UAS operators to fly their drones within the restricted areas.

In order to get the permission, drone operators need to coordinate with the individual facility and / or the US federal agency.

Operators who violate airspace restrictions might be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.

In May, the US FAA modified specific airspace restrictions on drone operations over four US sites, which included naval support activity facilities in Monterey in California, Orlando in Florida, and South Potomac in Indian Head, Maryland, as well as Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas.