In response to recent requests by federal agencies, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is establishing new or modifying existing restrictions on drone flights near several U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) sites.
The FAA says it 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 drone-specific airspace restrictions over select national security-sensitive locations.
The FAA has made changes to or established restrictions for drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of the following four sites:
- Naval Support Activity Monterey in California (new)
- Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas (new)
- Naval Support Activity in Orlando (new)
- Naval Support Activity South Potomac in Indian Head, Md. (boundary change)
Information on the FAA Notice to Airmen NOTAM, which defines these restrictions and all of the currently covered locations, can be found here. A link to these restrictions is also included in the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app.
The agency notes there are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within these restrictions; they must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA. Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges, the FAA adds.
The FAA is continuing to consider additional requests by federal agencies for drone-specific airspace restrictions. Previously, the FAA has announced drone flight restrictions for Department of the Interior landmarks, Department of Energy facilities and other military facilities.