First, the announcement from the FAA:
FAA Establishes Restrictions on Drone Operations over DOJ and USCG Facilities
At the request of federal security partners, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been 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 on our 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. A link to these restrictions is also included in the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app.
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 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, which have been highlighted by FAA NOTAM FDC 8/8653, are pending until they become effective on June 20. 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.
So, why do I call this a “useless solution”?
Well, look at the problem this “solution” addresses.
There are headlines almost weekly of someone using a drone to drop contraband into prisons. Unless I am mistaken, it’s already illegal to transport contraband into a prison, regardless of the method used, so what the hell good is a new rule going to do?
And the USCG bases? Show me a Coast Guard base that doesn’t have a heliport or even runways for fixed-wing aircraft! Most of those bases in this new rule are already less than, and in some cases adjacent to airports in Class-B airspace. In other words, it’s already illegal to fly your drone there.
So, why would anyone with an ounce of common-sense think that a new rule is needed? What is the Coast Guard afraid of?
This new rule is nothing more than pandering to someones drone hysteria.