On October 6, 2016 around 4pm EST, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sent out an email message warning registered drone users that they “may issue flight restrictions in the vicinity of disaster areas.”
The email goes on to state that, “anyone, including hobbyist or recreational fliers, who interferes with disaster response efforts is subject to civil penalties of up to $32,140 per violation and possible criminal prosecution.”
Read the full email message below.
DO NOT FLY NEAR HURRICANE RESPONSE EFFORTS
As a result of Hurricane Matthew, there will likely be significant recovery efforts and the FAA may issue flight restrictions in the vicinity of disaster areas. During response operations to Hurricane Matthew, authorized aircraft may be flying at very low altitudes over affected areas.
Unauthorized UAS or drone operations may prevent other aircraft from performing life-saving missions and increase the risk of mid-air collision. Anyone, including hobbyist or recreational fliers, who interferes with disaster response efforts is subject to civil penalties of up to $32,140 per violation and possible criminal prosecution.
Unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drone operators are responsible for checking applicable flight restrictions before operating and must not interfere with any aircraft assisting in hurricane disaster response operations, regardless if there is a flight restriction in place or not.
Drone operators may obtain information about posted flight restrictions by using the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app or by checking the FAA’s website: https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb/.
UAS or drone operators supporting disaster response operations must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prior to operating. Operators may seek approval by following these steps:
- The operator must secure support from a governmental entity, and the operation must directly contribute to the response, relief, or recovery effort.
- After completing step 1, the operator must contact the FAA’s Systems Operations Support Center (SOSC) at 202-267-8276 for assistance.
- After calling the SOSC, the operator must also send the request via email to email@example.com.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense