Enlarge / Does this really look like good drone flying weather?NASA
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The Federal Aviation Administration and the Academy of Model Aeronautics have issued a joint statement warning drone operators to not fly in the vicinity of Hurricane Matthew rescue and recovery operations by first responders.
“Any unauthorized drone or model aircraft operations that interfere with disaster relief efforts are subject to civil penalties of up to $32,140 per violation and possible criminal prosecution,” the AMA noted in a release published today. While the FAA has not yet issued any temporary flight restrictions in Florida or other areas affected thus far by Hurricane Matthew, nearly all of the population centers on Florida’s east coast (and much of the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina) are already covered by “notification required” restrictions for drones because of nearby airports, helipads, and national parks.
The FAA has also issued a notice classifying the location of any “special sporting event”—including Major League Baseball playoff games, NFL and NCAA football games, or any other sporting event at a location with a seating capacity of over 30,000 people as “National Defense Airspace,” banning all flights (and other airborne activity) within three nautical miles.
These areas are much smaller than the flight restrictions posted for this year’s Super Bowl in San Jose, which was given a 32 nautical mile radius no-fly zone—covering practically all of the San Francisco Bay area.
If you fly – they can’t save lives.
Flying #drones around aircraft assisting w/#HurricaneMatthew response efforts is dangerous and illegal. pic.twitter.com/hCn9XpJlqK
— The FAA (@FAANews) October 7, 2016