The FAA has added several Department of Defense facilities to its recently released list of facilities where drone operations are restricted, as well as modified some boundaries of existing facilities on the restricted list.
At the request of the Department of Defense, and federal security and law enforcement agencies, the FAA has been using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 99.7 – “Special Security Instructions” – to address the potential threat posed by malicious drone operations by establishing Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) specific airspace restrictions over select, national security sensitive locations.
Information on the FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which defines these restrictions, and all of the currently covered locations, can be found on the FAA’s website. The FAA site provides an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data, and other important information.
In response to recent requests by federal agencies, the FAA is establishing new or modifying existing restrictions on drone flights up to 400′ within the lateral boundaries of the following four sites:
- Naval Support Activity Monterey, Monterey, California (new)
- Naval Air Station Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas (new)
- Naval Support Activity Orlando, Orlando, Florida (new)
- Naval Support Activity South Potomac, Indian Head, Maryland (boundary change)
These changes, which have been highlighted by FAA NOTAM FDC 8/9176, are pending until they become effective June 1, FAA officials note.
FDC 8/9176–SECURITY SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS (SSI) PERTAINING TO UNMANNED ACFT SYSTEM (UAS) OPS OVER MULTIPLE LOCATIONS NATIONWIDE. THIS NOTAM SUPPLEMENTS FDC 7/7282, AND DESCRIBES THE CHANGES MADE TO THE UAS-SPECIFIC SSI AIRSPACE DEFINED BY FDC 7/7282 AND IMPLEMENTED PURSUANT TO 14 C.F.R. 99.7 FOR NATIONAL SECURITY SENSITIVE LOCATIONS. THESE CHANGES INCLUDE THE ADDITION OF NEW COVERED LOCATIONS AND THE REVISION OF SOME PRE-EXISTING INDIVIDUAL SSI AIRSPACE. THE UPDATED LIST OF AFFECTED AIRSPACE AND ASSOCIATED PROTECTED LOCATIONS, AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION ARE PROVIDED AT THE FOLLOWING FAA WEBSITE: UAS.FAA.OPENDATA.ARCGIS.COM. SEE FDC 7/7282 FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION ON THESE SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS.
01 JUN 04:00 2018 UNTIL 15 JUN 04:00 2018.
Note that 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, FAA officials say.
Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.
The FAA is continuing to consider additional requests by federal agencies for UAS-specific airspace restrictions using the FAA’s § 99.7 authority as they are received.