New rules from the Federal Aviation Administration will soon restrict drone flights over military bases across the country.
The updated regulations prohibit flights above 133 Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps facilities, mostly located in the South and along the East Coast. When they go into effect on April 14, drone operators will have to get special permission from the FAA or the military to fly within 400 feet of each restricted area.
The FAA says it approved the new restrictions under a provision that allows the Department of Defense and other federal agencies to restrict flights over areas that are vital to the nation's security. Unlike some temporary restrictions, such as those over natural disasters or major events, the military base prohibitions will be constantly in force.
To see if your next drone flight might be affected, you can check out the FAA's interactive map of the newly-restricted locations. Some restricted areas, such as Fort Hood in Texas and Quantico in Virginia, extend for several square miles, while many Air National Guard facilities and naval air stations are much smaller.
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Once the new restrictions go into effect, drone operators who violate the airspace restrictions could face civil penalties and criminal charges.
The rising popularity of drones has prompted a flurry of new FAA regulations in recent years, as the agency seeks to prevent drone pilots from interfering with manned aircraft and other hazards in the sky. Models under 0.5 pounds are exempt from many of the rules, although remote-controlled aircraft that light generally aren't drones, since they tend to lack GPS stabilization and automated flight features.
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