55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 10, 2021
Anyone who wishes to request permission to operate commercial sUAS on Offutt must meet certain requirements. This includes certifying and registering the sUAS as well as following requirements set by the FAA. (Courtesy Graphic)
As the popularity of commercial, off-the-shelf remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, continues to increase, a policy has been established to ensure the safety and security of resources and personnel on base.
These small aircraft, which are designated as small unmanned aircraft systems, or sUAS by the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration, are unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds.
“As we start to see more and more of these types of systems being purchased and flown, we know the potential mishaps and security related incidents also goes up,” said Lt. Col. Michael Cheatham, 55th Security Forces Squadron commander. “Therefore, we wanted to publicize the policy that governs the use of these systems on base to make sure everyone is aware of the potential ramifications of disobeying this policy.”
The wing commander’s policy states that all sUAS for hobby or recreational use is prohibited on base. This includes the main base, Capehart Chapel, the Rising View housing areas, the Ehrling Bergquist Clinic. Base Lake, and wing leased spaces at Lincoln Airport.
Additionally, the FAA explicitly prohibits sUAS operation over airports and security sensitive airspace, for which Offutt main base is designated, and the FAA further restricts operations in surrounding areas. Penalties for violations can be severe. More information can be found at: https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/where_can_i_fly/airspace_restrictions/
“Our priority is the safety and security of the installation,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Brauer, 55th SFS Operations NCO in-charge. “As sUAS become more commonplace, we must increase public outreach to prevent risk from untrained or unaware users who could inadvertently pose a threat to military operations or safety of flight.”
Anyone who wishes to request permission to operate commercial sUAS on Offutt property or leased spaces at Lincoln must meet certain requirements along with gain approval by the 55 WG/CC. This includes certifying and registering the sUAS as well as following the federal requirements referenced at the following link: https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/fly_for_work_business.
Finally, commercial and government sUAS operators should note that an FAA waiver must be approved 90 days prior to sUAS utilization on Offutt main base. The form can be found here. https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/part_107_waivers/
If you have further questions or concerns, please call 55th SFS at (402) 232-2889.