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FAA restricts drone operations over NGA facilities

August 15, 2018  - By
Photo: FAA

Photo: via the Federal Aviation Administration

In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is establishing restrictions on drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) facilities.

The temporary flight restrictions — specific to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) — apply to three NGA facilities in or near St. Louis:

  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) West
  • NGA Next West
  • NGA Arnold

In June, the FAA responded to federal agency requests and restricted drone operations over penitentiaries and Coast Guard bases.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 99.7 — “Special Security Instructions” — to address concerns about drone operations over national security-sensitive facilities.

The changes, which are highlighted by FAA NOTAM FDC 8/7350, are pending until they become effective on Aug. 30.

Only a few exceptions permit drone flights within these restrictions, and they must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.

Operators who violate the flight restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.

To ensure the public is aware of restricted locations, the FAA website also provides an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data and other important details. The restrictions also are depicted in the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app. Broader information regarding flying drones in the National Airspace System, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAA’s UAS website.

The FAA continues to consider additional requests by eligible federal security agencies for UAS-specific flight restrictions using the agency’s § 99.7 authority as they are received. Additional changes to these restrictions will be announced by the FAA as appropriate.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.