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FAA restricts drone operations over certain military bases

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The Federal Aviation Administration announced April 7 it is using its authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations to address national security concerns about unauthorized drone operations over 133 military facilities which also includes Fort Knox.

This is the first time the agency has instituted airspace restrictions that specifically apply only to unmanned aircraft, popularly known as “drones.” The authority under § 99.7 is
limited to requests based on national
security interests from the Department of Defense and U.S. federal security and intelligence agencies.

However, Fort Knox has already had a policy in place since Nov. 8, 2016 stating that privately owned unmanned, remote controlled,
and model (drone/quad- copters) aircraft are not authorized to operate over any portion of the Fort Knox military reservation.

The FAA added in their release that U.S. military facilities are vital to the nation’s security, and that they and the Department of Defense have agreed to restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of these 133 facilities. The restrictions will be effective Friday. 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 airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.

The FAA is considering additional requests from federal security and intelligence agencies for restrictions using the FAA’s § 99.7 authority as they are received.

Editor’s note: Catrina Francis contributed to this story. n