JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas --
Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or SUAS, otherwise known as drones, are a popular gift during the holiday season. Flying drones can be a great way to explore your local area, but they can also threaten military operations.
Recreational drone use is strictly prohibited on all Joint Base San Antonio installations, except with documented approval, generally starting at the installation commander level.
“We don’t want drones interfering with Air Education and Training Command’s busy flight operations, causing damage to Air Force property, or injuring personnel during recreational drone use,” said Cory Sivertson, AETC SUAS program manager. “While recreational drone use is prohibited on JBSA installations, there are countless locations within the San Antonio area that recreational drone operations are authorized.”
Along with installation command approval, additional Air Force Special Operations Command, Headquarters Air Force, and Federal Aviation Administration approvals are also required to operate drones in Department of Defense airspace, according to Sivertston.
“Before flying drones in any location, no matter how big or small the drone, you need to visit the FAA’s DroneZone website at https://faadronezone.faa.gov/#/. Once there, you’ll find information on how to register your drone, as well as all FAA-required training,” Sivertson said. “Additionally, drone operators are encouraged to download the ‘B4UFLY’ app at https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/where_can_i_fly/b4ufly/ as a tool to help recognize any airspace restrictions and requirements.”
Whether you're a novice drone pilot or have many years of aviation experience, rules and safety tips exist to help you fly safely, outside of Department of Defense airspace.
For more information on operating drones legally, the difference between recreational and certified drone pilots, and how to determine where you can fly your drone, go to https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/.
For questions on drone operations on DOD installations, email firstname.lastname@example.org.