JB-MDL is a No Drone Zone

JB-MDL has updated its small Unmanned Aircraft System/drone policy per direction of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, with the help and concurrence of the FAA, has prohibited the use of all personally/privately owned small UAS anywhere on the Joint Base. This prohibition includes but is not limited to “back yard toys”, radio controlled model aircraft, rockets, as well as the popular copter-style aircraft. The new guidance bans all private use of the device on base effective immediately. 

In the past, some privately owned recreational drones and aircraft were allowed in limited areas of the installation with ATC permission and under strict-guidelines, however, updates from the SECDEF and the FAA have prompted the complete ban on and around military installations to ensure safety of those on the ground and in the air, as well as complying with base for protection security requirements. This includes all military housing areas, regardless of proximity to the flight line. 
Additionally, even if not within the confines of the installation, the FAA has imposed drone flight restrictions within approximately 5 miles of the airfields associated with the installation. Refer to the UAS Facility Map and Hobbyist Rules for more information.
Know the Rules BEFORE You Fly!
WARNING: Operation of unofficial drones discovered within the base perimeter may be subject to seizure by local or base authorities, as well as the operator being subject to legal action and potential penalties. The policy's goal is to protect military aircraft and personnel from the additional risks posed by airborne devices on active airfields, as well as reduce the security risks of drone cameras in secure areas.
Government and Mission Essential UAS Usage

JB-MDL Leadership recognizes there are emerging UAS mission requirements for organizations on the Joint Base. As such, the 87th Air Base Wing and 305th Air Mobility Wing Commanders have established a UAS Working Group. One of the primary lines of effort for the Working Group is to facilitate the development and authorization of legitimate UAS programs, both for installation organizations as well as those organizations and businesses in surrounding communities.

While the emergence and evolution of unmanned aircraft have provided huge increases in capabilities in so many areas, it also has vastly increased hazards and threats to manned aviation and installation security. As such, significant restrictions have been imposed by the DoD and FAA on their use. These restrictions are complex and are very situationally dependent.

If your organization has a legitimate mission requirement to develop a UAS program or only a one-time requirement, contact the UAS Working Group for assistance.


JB-MDL UAS Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q: I live in Falcon Courts North. There are some nice fields very near my house. Can I fly my drone there? It is outside the installation boundary and not near the airfield. 

     A: That depends. First, that is private property, even though you are not intending to land there. Secondly, that area is still in FAA Controlled Airspace, starting at the surface. Even if you have permission from the land owner, you would still need authorization from the FAA to operate your drone. Take a look at the UAS Facility Map for more insight.

  • Q: Do I have to register the model aircraft or drone I own?

     A: Yes, if it weighs more than 250 grams ( approximately 9 ounces or 0.55 pounds). It does not matter if you are flying recreationally or for the commercial/civil purposes. Additionally, you must comply with the operations and safety requirements spelled out in FAA Part 107 and Advisory Circular 91-57B.

  • Q: Do any hobby shops provide UAS flight training for free?

     A: Yes. Many hobby shops offer flight instructions with the sale of a multi-rotor. In addition many of the Academy of Model Aeronautics 2400 clubs also offer free flight training. To find a club near you, visit www.modelaircraft.org


Have a question to ask? Submit it HERE.



JB-MDL UAS Facility Map

The graphic above shows some extremely important information regarding UAS restrictions and operations around the Joint Base. Both drone hobbyists and commercial operators must be familiar with the various aspects of the information within this example image means.

First, and most important, the red shaded area, which is coincident with the installation boundaries (to include the housing areas) has been deemed by the DoD and the FAA as an area that falls under the Special Security Instruction that implements the No Fly Zone. As such, there can be no drone activity within the red shaded area unless extensive and specific requirements are met.

Secondly, it is important to emphasize that there are even operating restrictions for hobbyists outside the installation boundary. Take a look at the red squares containing numbers ranging from 0 to 400. The boxes are 1 nautical mile square and the number in the box is an altitude (in feet) above the ground. These boxes all fall within what is called Class D Controlled airspace. It is controlled airspace from the surface up to approximately 2,500 feet above the ground. It is meant to protect manned aircraft operating within the traffic pattern of the airfield. The FAA recognizes that safe UAS/drone operations may be able to be conducted at points farther away from the center of the Class D airspace (outside the red shaded area) and are willing to grant authorizations for drones to operate up to the altitude shown in the boxes. This authorization can be obtained in Near-Real-Time through a web-based application called LAANC, which stands for Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability. Users can also download an app for their smart phone for ease of operations.

Quick References
  • B4UFLY: A free FAA-sponsored app for smartphones that assists in determining if it is safe to operate a drone based on current location. This is a must-have app for all operators, especially near high use airspace.
  • LAANC: A web-based system for drone operators to get near-real-time approval to operate in some areas of controlled airspace.
  • Register My Drone: All drones, even hobbyist drone, if they weigh more than 250 grams (0.55 lbs.) must be registered with the FAA before they can be legally operated. Additionally the registration number must be visibly displayed on the drone.
  • FAA Drone Zone: A robust website that is a launching pad for many topics of interest for sUAS operators.
Points of Contact

Primary (305 OG/CD)

(609) 754-6468



If personnel see a drone flying within the confines of JB MDL or within the restricted flight areas outside of the installation (as shown on the UAS facility map) notify the JB MDL Emergency Communications Center at (609) 754-1730/1731.