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FAA Announces New Flight Restrictions

Posted on April 07 2017

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) recently sent out notice of new flight restrictions around military bases. While there was already an NFZ in place around military bases, and common sense would dictate not flying a drone near a place where people get paid to shoot stuff, the FAA sees the need to make it abundantly clear that people need to steer clear. Below is the full text of the email.

FAA: "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established airspace restrictions over 133 military facilities to address national security concerns about unauthorized drone operations. The specifically restricted locations are detailed in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) – UAS NOTAM FDC 7/7137, and may be viewed online via an interactive map here

The Agency is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) § 99.7 – Special Security Instructions – to establish these restrictions. The relief provided under § 99.7 is limited to requests from the Department of Defense and U.S. federal security and intelligence agencies based on national security interests. 

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. 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. 

For more information about these restrictions, including frequently asked questions, please visit the FAA’s UAS website."

What is a NOTAM?

A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight. NOTAMS are usually issued to airmen for reasons such as:

  • hazards such as air shows, parachute jumps, kite flying, lasers, rocket launches, etc.
  • flights by important people such as heads of state (sometimes referred to as temporary flight restrictions, TFRs)
  • closed runways
  • inoperable radio navigational aids
  • military exercises with resulting airspace restrictions
  • inoperable lights on tall obstructions
  • temporary erection of obstacles near airfields (e.g., cranes)
  • passage of flocks of birds through airspace (a NOTAM in this category is known as a BIRDTAM)
  • notifications of runway/taxiway/apron status with respect to snow, ice, and standing water (a SNOWTAM)
  • notification of an operationally significant change in volcanic ash or other dust contamination (an ASHTAM)
  • software code risk announcements with associated patches to reduce specific vulnerabilities

Or sometimes just to inform people that some permanent flight restrictions have changed or been added, such as in this case.

NOTAM TEXT

FDC 7/7137..FDC SECURITY..SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS FOR UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM (UAS) OPERATIONS FOR MULTIPLE LOCATIONS NATIONWIDE APRIL 14, 2017 APRIL 13, 2019 LOCAL.

PURSUANT TO 49 U.S.C. § 40103(B)(3), THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) CLASSIFIES THE AIRSPACE DEFINED IN THIS NOTAM AS 'NATIONAL DEFENSE AIRSPACE'. OPERATORS WHO DO NOT COMPLY WITH THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES MAY FACE THE FOLLOWING ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS:

  1. THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT MAY PURSUE CRIMINAL CHARGES, INCLUDING CHARGES UNDER 49 U.S.C. § 46307.
  2. THE FAA MAY TAKE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION, INCLUDING IMPOSING CIVIL PENALTIES AND THE REVOCATION OF FAA CERTIFICATES OR AUTHORIZATIONS TO OPERATE UNDER TITLE 49 U.S.C. §§ 44709 AND 46301.

PURSUANT TO 14 C.F.R. § 99.7, SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS (SSI), ALL UAS FLIGHT OPERATIONS, INCLUDING PUBLIC, CIVIL, AND MODEL AIRCRAFT, ARE PROHIBITED WITHIN THE AIRSPACE OVER SELECT NATIONAL SECURITY SENSITIVE FACILITIES, SURFACE TO 400 FEET AGL, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED FOR BELOW. THE LIST OF SELECTED FACILITIES, DEFINITIONS OF THE ASSOCIATED AIRSPACE IN WHICH UAS OPERATIONS ARE PROHIBITED, DESIGNATED FACILITY CONTACTS, AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION ARE PROVIDED AT THE FOLLOWING FAA WEBSITE:
HTTP://UAS.FAA.OPENDATA.ARCGIS.COM.

UAS OPERATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED WITHIN THE DEFINED SSI AIRSPACE IF IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS LISTED BELOW:

  1. THE UAS FLIGHT OPERATION HAS BEEN PRE-APPROVED BY THE DESIGNATED FACILITY CONTACT BASED ON CRITERIA ESTABLISHED BY THE SPONSORING FEDERAL AGENCY IN COORDINATION WITH THE FAA; OR
  2. IF THE UAS FLIGHT OPERATION IS CONDUCTED IN DIRECT SUPPORT OF AN ACTIVE NATIONAL DEFENSE, HOMELAND SECURITY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, FIREFIGHTING, SEARCH AND RESCUE, OR DISASTER RESPONSE MISSION, AND PRIOR NOTIFICATION HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO THE DESIGNATED FACILITY CONTACT; OR
  3. IF THE UAS FLIGHT OPERATION IS CONDUCTED IN DIRECT SUPPORT OF A SIGNIFICANT AND URGENT GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST AND IS APPROVED BY THE FAA’S SYSTEM OPERATIONS SUPPORT CENTER (SOSC) IN ADVANCE OF ENTERING THE DEFINED SSI AIRSPACE; AND
  4. THE UAS FLIGHT OPERATION COMPLIES WITH ALL OTHER APPLICABLE FEDERAL AVIATION REGULATIONS.

IF YOU HAVE GENERAL QUESTIONS REGARDING UAS OPERATIONS, PLEASE REFER TO WWW.FAA.GOV/UAS/CONTACT; OR CONTACT THE FAA VIA EMAIL AT UASHELP@FAA.GOV OR PHONE AT (844) FLY-MY-UA.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS REGARDING THESE UAS SSI, PLEASE REFER TO THE FOLLOWING FAA WEBSITE: HTTP://UAS.FAA.OPENDATA.ARCGIS.COM; OR CONTACT THE FAA’S SOSC AT (202)267-8276.

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