SAFB officials break down drone flying restrictions

Source: KAUZ
Source: KAUZ

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE (KAUZ) - Some shoppers say drones are a popular gift to give during Christmas.

Officials at Sheppard Air Force Base wants to let the public know flying drones too high in restricted areas can end up costing them money and endanger airmen.

"The FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] has put out a restricted area around the base that does not allow for drones to be flown on the base," SAFB Airfield Operations Flight Commander Captain Hollis Troxel said.

There are a couple of restrictions when flying within five miles of the base. Drone pilots can only go 400-feet in the air and they have to notify SAFB before they take off. That is just in case the drone loses control.

"At the speeds that these guys are flying at it's going to be very difficult for them to avoid those types of things. It would be similar to trying to avoid a bird in flight," he said.

He said does not know the damage a drone will cause a jet is unclear but said he just knows it will not be good.

"It depends on where it would hit. it depends on the size of the drone," Troxel said.

Anyone who violates the rules could pay up to $13,000 fines or spend up to a year in jail. There is an app drone pilots can use called B4UFLY that will let users know where and how they can fly their new toy.

The app shows you a map of the restricted areas nearby so drone pilots can let tower post commanders in these restricted areas, like SAFB, know how high you will fly. The app provides a phone number to alert them.

WFPD Sgt. Harold McClure said so far there have not been any reports of drones flying over the base. Capt. Troxel suggested drone pilots fly them at Lucy Park.

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