Droning On: Drone use prohibited at Sheppard

It is important for base residents and local community members to understand the Sheppard Air Force Base Instruction 13-204, which states remotely operated aircraft operations are not authorized on or near Sheppard. The airspace used by the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, is one of the busiest airspaces in the nation. Drones not only pose a risk to the manned flight operations of the military, commercial and civilian aircraft, but also to the individuals on the ground.

It is important for base residents and local community members to understand the Sheppard Air Force Base Instruction 13-204, which states remotely operated aircraft operations are not authorized on or near Sheppard. The airspace used by the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, is one of the busiest airspaces in the nation. Drones not only pose a risk to the manned flight operations of the military, commercial and civilian aircraft, but also to the individuals on the ground.

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

As the holiday season comes to a close, Sheppard reminds base and community members who have an unmanned aircraft, or drone, to remember the rules and safety measures when flying.

It is important for base residents and local community members to understand the Sheppard Air Force Base Instruction 13-204, which states remotely operated aircraft operations are not authorized on or near Sheppard.

The airspace used by the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, is one of the busiest airspaces in the nation. Drones not only pose a risk to the manned flight operations of the military, commercial and civilian aircraft, but also to the individuals on the ground.

For those planning to operate their drone, the Federal Aviation Administration has published the following guidelines:

  • Fly below 400 feet.

  • Remain clear of obstacles.

  • Keep the aircraft within line of sight.

  • Remain clear and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations.

  • Do not fly within five miles of an airport without proper clearance from the control tower.

  • Do not fly near people or stadiums.

  • Do not fly an unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds.

  • Do not be careless or reckless with the unmanned aircraft. Doing so could result in fines for endangering people or other aircraft.

In December of 2015, the FAA mandated a requirement to register small unmanned aircraft weighing from .55 to 55 pounds, to include payloads such as cameras. Under this rule, owners must register at www.faa.gov/uas/registration prior to the first flight outdoors.

Any micro-UAS system weighing less than the FAA registration minimum must still abide by the above guidelines.

For current information on where unmanned aircraft can be flown safely, the FAA offers the B4UFLY app that is available for iOS and Android smartphones

B4UFLY is an easy-to-use smartphone app that helps unmanned aircraft operators determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly.

Key features of the B4UFLY app include:

  • A clear "status" indicator that immediately informs the operator about the current or planned location. For example, flying in the Special Flight Rules Area around Washington, D.C. is prohibited.
  • Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator
  • A "Planner Mode" for future flights in different locations
  • Informative, interactive maps with filtering options
  • Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information