The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has imposed a temporary ban on the flights of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones over three facilities operated by the US Department of Defense (DOD) due to security reasons.

The facilities include National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) West, NGA Next West and NGA Arnold, all situated near St. Louis, Missouri.

The ban has been imposed under the Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 99.7 – ‘Special Security Instructions’ at the request of FAA’s federal security partners.

Scheduled to be effective on 30 August, the ban will restrict drone flights up to 400ft within the lateral boundaries of the three facilities.

FAA said in a statement: “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.”

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

The newly imposed restrictions were published through a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) released by FAA.

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In a separate development, FAA and the US wildland fire agencies have warned the drone operators not to fly their vehicles anywhere near a wildfire.

According to the agencies, flying an unauthorised drone near a wildfire interferes with the firefighting operations and could endanger people’s lives.

FAA acting administrator Dan Elwell said: “If you own a drone, DO NOT fly near or over a wildfire.

“It’s against the law, and firefighting aircraft could be grounded, disrupting time-critical firefighting efforts. Your hobby is not worth another person’s life.”

Violation of laws related to wildfire suppression, law enforcement, or emergency response efforts could lead to civil penalties of more than $20,000 and potential criminal prosecution.