UAS Military Flight Restrictions FAQ

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DoD) recently announced airspace restrictions over 133 military facilities to address national security concerns. These new restrictions, outlined in NOTAM FDC 7/7282, apply to all model aircraft, sometimes referred to as drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

The restrictions begin Friday, April 14, 2017 and will remain in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The flight restrictions apply to specific locations on military property for all model aircraft operations up to 400 feet. Operators who violate these restrictions are subject to enforcement action including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.

For over eighty years, AMA members have safely operated model aircraft in the national airspace by following strict community-based guidelines. Our history includes a great relationship with the military through our large military membership base, military partnerships, and collaborative efforts. AMA flying sites and events, including many National Championships (Nats) dating back to the 1940s, have been safely and responsibility conducted on military property.


Photo Caption: 1969 Nats at the Naval Air Station in Willow Grove, PA. Building Delta Darts with kids. [Source: National Model Aviation Museum Archives, #0001 AMA Collection]

To preserve our safety record and commitment to national security and the military, it is important that we all follow the new restrictions. Below have provided a few answers to commonly asked questions related to these UAS flight restrictions.

Q: I fly near, but not on military property, am I affected by this announcement?
A: No, the restrictions affect select military sites only and do not apply beyond military property lines.

Q: My club flying site or event is located on military property, is my site affected?
A: Most likely no. The new military restrictions are not blanket no-fly zones encompassing all military property. Most restrictions only apply to specific, sensitive areas or critical infrastructure within military property. Most likely your flying site is outside these high security areas. Nevertheless, we recommend you confirm if your site is affected by visiting the FAA interactive map. You may notice your flying site location has a red/pink striped overlay, this indicates you are operating on military property and not necessarily within the new UAS flight restricted area. The newly announced UAS restrictions are marked with completely filled reddish-pink overly as seen below.

MilitaryUASCaption: FAA Interactive Map showing UAS restricted airspace inside Eglin AFB. [Source: Visualize It See FAA UAS Data on a Map]

Q:  Does this flight restriction only apply to drones, multirotors, or models with cameras?
A:  The restrictions apply to all civilian model aircraft or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), not just drones, multirotors, or models with cameras. Any model aircraft operator who violates these restrictions is subject to enforcement action.

Q:  Are there any exceptions to the new military restrictions?
A:  The specific military sites were carved out by the DoD and the FAA to protect national security. If you have a pre-existing flying site or need permission to fly model aircraft within a restricted area, please contact the AMA Government Relations Team at 765-287-1256 x227.

As always, if you have questions, please contact AMA at 765-287-1256.

Thank you,
AMA Government Relations Team