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FAA restricts drone operations over DOJ and DOD facilities

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At the request of its federal security partners, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) § 99.7 – “Special Security Instructions” – to address concerns about drone operations over national security sensitive facilities by establishing temporary unmanned aircraft system (UAS) specific flight restrictions.

Information on the FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which defines these restrictions, and all of the currently covered locations, can be found at the UAS Data Display System, which provides an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data, and other important details.

Additional, 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 Defense (DOD), the FAA is establishing additional restrictions on drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of the following Federal facilities:

• Federal Correctional Institution Allenwood Medium in Allenwood, PA
• Federal Correctional Institution Beaumont Medium in Beaumont, TX
• Federal Correctional Institution Butner Medium I in Butner, NC
• Federal Correctional Institution Butner Medium II in Butner, NC
• Federal Correctional Institution Coleman Medium near Sumterville, FL
• Federal Correctional Institution Florence in Florence, CO
• Federal Correctional Institution Forrest City Medium in Forrest City, AR
• Federal Correctional Institution Hazelton near Bruceton Mills, WV
• Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc in Lompoc, CA
• Federal Correctional Institution Oakdale I in Oakdale, LA
• Federal Correctional Institution Oakdale II in Oakdale, LA
• Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg near Hopewell, VA
• Federal Correctional Institution Pollock in Pollock, LA
• Federal Correctional Institution Terre Haute in Terre Haute, IN
• Federal Correctional Institution Tucson in Tucson, AZ
• Federal Correctional Institution Victorville Medium I in Victorville, CA
• Federal Correctional Institution Victorville Medium II in Victorville, CA
• Federal Correctional Institution Yazoo City Medium in Yazoo City, MS
• Federal Detention Center Honolulu in Honolulu, HI
• Federal Detention Center Houston in Houston, TX
• Federal Detention Center Miami in Miami, FL
• Federal Detention Center Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA
• Federal Detention Center SeaTac near Seattle, WA
• Federal Medical Center Carswell near Fort Worth, TX
• Federal Medical Center Fort Worth in Fort Worth, TX
• Federal Medical Center Rochester in Rochester, MN
• Metropolitan Correctional Center Chicago in Chicago, IL
• Metropolitan Correctional Center New York in New York City, NY
• Metropolitan Correctional Center San Diego in San Diego, CA
• Medical Center for Federal Prisoners Springfield in Springfield, MO
• Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn in Brooklyn, NY
• Metropolitan Detention Center Guaynabo in Guaynabo, PR
• Metropolitan Detention Center Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA
• Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD
• Fort Gordon near Augusta, GA
• Fort Lee near Richmond, VA
• Holston Army Ammunition Plant near Kingsport, TN
• McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, OK
• Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, VA
• Joint Base McGuire near Trenton, NJ
• Pearl Harbor Naval Defense Sea Area in Honolulu, HI

These changes, which have been highlighted by FAA NOTAM FDC [9/2586], are pending until they become effective on February 26. 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.

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

The FAA is continuing 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