China Lake announces guidelines for drone flights

NAVAL AIR WEAPONS STATION CHINA LAKE – Flying drones for recreational purposes can be a lot of fun, as long as rules and safety precautions are followed.

The city of Ridgecrest is located within several airspace areas, each falling under different Federal Aviation Regulations for recreational drone use. Three specific areas require additional attention.

If you are north of Ridgecrest Boulevard you are in airspace designated as Restricted-2505. If you are west of Downs Street you are also located in restricted airspace, called Restricted-2506. Before attempting to fly your drone in these areas, you must contact the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Public Affairs Office at 760-939-3511.

If you are north of Bowman Road but south of Ridgecrest Boulevard, you are in airspace designated as Class Delta, which is associated with Armitage Airfield at NAWS China Lake.

Before flying your drone in this area you must notify the base operations office at 760-939-5475 during working days and the base Command Duty Officer at 760-608-7004 if it is a Flex-Friday, holiday or the weekend.

Regulations within this airspace include no flight above 400 feet in addition to standard Federal Aviation Authority regulations.

Regardless of where you fly within the local area, you must always abide by all FAA regulations. To help drone users safely operate their aircraft anywhere in the United States, the FAA has published guidelines on recreational drone use. See www.faa.gov/ uas/.

In order to accommodate authorized base patrons, NAWS China Lake allows the use of personal drones at Satellite Lake on the installation, with Satellite Lake the only authorized area for use at China Lake. While drone pilots fly drones in this designated area, they must adhere to safety measures and be familiar with NAWS China Lake Instruction 3715.1.

Notify Base Operations at 760-939-5475 if you are flying your drone at Satellite Lake during a work day and the Command Duty Officer at 760-608-7004 if it is a Flex-Friday, holiday or the weekend.

You should never fly your drone near other aircraft, and your drone must remain in your line of sight at all times. Always ensure that you know the latest policies and rules, that you never fly over groups of people and that you keep your drone grounded during disasters, such as wildfires, to avoid interfering with mishap responders.

For more information on drone flight within the United States, check the B4UFLY app for any restrictions. You can locate this app at www.faa.gov/uas/ where_to_fly/b4ufly/.

The app helps drone pilots safely operate their drones by providing no-drone zones around your GPS location.

The app also provides a flight planning function so that drone users can ensure safe and successful flights.

To ensure the safety of everyone, please report suspicious drone activities on or near the base to the NAWS China Lake Police Department at 760-939-3323.

For more information on drone operations aboard the installation, contact NAWSCL Public Affairs Officer Margo Allen at 760-939-1683.

Story First Published: 2018-06-01