The FAA – at the request of the Department of Defense – has established airspace restrictions over 133 military facilities. The agency says that the move will “address national security concerns about unauthorized drone operations.” Some operators have expressed frustration over the additional restrictions, but the effect of the restrictions on civilian operations should be minimal.
Vic Moss, an award winning photographer and licensed commercial drone pilot says that operators don’t need to be overly concerned about the announcement. Moss, who flies professionally in locations across the country, says that operators should take a moment to look at a map and see what the actual effect is. Moss is referring to the FAA’s interactive map, which can be found here. “It will save you a ton of agony and frustration,” suggests Moss on the UAV Legal News and Discussion Facebook page, which he moderates. “Go to the link, zoom in to your area, and toggle the UAS Flight Restrictions on and off. You’ll notice it affects very little flyable area.”
“There is nothing wrong with this,” says Moss.
While sensitive to some operators’ concerns that the new locations represent unchecked expansion of airspace restrictions, other droners comment that there should be no legitimate commercial operations over military bases anyway, unless contracted for by the military.
The specific restricted locations are detailed in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) – UAS NOTAM FDC 7/7137.
“U.S. military facilities are considered “sensitive” as they are vital to the nation’s security. The FAA and the Department of Defense have agreed to restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the facility’s lateral boundaries,” says the FAA announcement. “There are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within these restrictions, and they must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA. The restrictions are effective on April 14, 2017.”
“Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.”