FAA Establishes New Restrictions on Drone Operations over DOJ and USCG Facilities

FAA Establishes New Restrictions on Drone Operations over DOJ and USCG Facilities

Federal security partners have “requested” that the FAA use its existing authority (under 14 CFR §99.7) to address concerns about drone operations over national security sensitive facilities via temporary Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) specific flight restrictions.  You may be aware that the FAA has put in place restrictions over several facilities already, but are now adding more to the list of drone operations restrictions.

There are several methods available to find the information on the current and new flight restriction areas.  One main source of information is the FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which defines these restrictions, and all of the currently covered locations, which can be found on the FAA website. To ensure the public is aware of these restricted locations, this FAA website also provides an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data, and other important details via the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app. Additionally, broader information regarding flying drones in the National Airspace System, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAA’s UAS website.

In cooperation with Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the FAA is establishing additional restrictions on drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of the following federal facilities:

  • United States Penitentiary (USP) Tucson near Tucson, AZ
  • USP Atwater near Atwater, CA
  • USP Victorville near Victorville, CA
  • USP Florence High near Florence, CO
  • USP Florence ADMAX near Florence, CO
  • USP Coleman I near Sumterville, FL
  • USP Coleman II near Sumterville, FL
  • USP Marion near Marion, IL
  • USP Terre Haute near Terre Haute, IN
  • USP Big Sandy near Inez, KY
  • USP McCreary near Pine Knot, KY
  • USP Pollock near Pollock, LA
  • USP Yazoo City near Yazoo City, MS
  • USP Allenwood near Allenwood, PA
  • USP Canaan near Waymart, PA
  • USP Lewisburg near Lewisburg, PA
  • USP Beaumont near Beaumont, TX
  • USP Lee near Pennington Gap, VA
  • USP Hazelton near Bruceton Mills, WV
  • United States Coast Guard (USCG) Baltimore Yard, MD
  • USCG Base Boston, MA
  • USCG Base Alameda, CA
  • USCG Base Los Angeles/Long Beach (LALB), CA
  • USCG Base Elizabeth City, NC
  • USCG Base Kodiak, AK
  • USCG Base Miami, FL
  • USCG Base Portsmouth, VA
  • USCG Base Seattle, WA
  • USCG Operations System Center (OSC) near Martinsburg, WV

These changes are detailed in FAA NOTAM FDC 8/8653 and will become effective on June 20. The only drone flights allowed will be those which are coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.

This marks the first time the FAA has placed specific flight restrictions for unmanned aircraft (UAS), or “drones,” over Federal Bureau of Prisons and US Coast Guard facilities. The FAA already has in place similar flight restrictions over military installations that remain in place, as well as over ten Department of Interior facilities and seven Department of Energy facilities.

Operators who violate the flight restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.  The FAA states that more facilities may be added after additional considerations and requests from the DOJ and other government facilities.

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