MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. --
McConnell Air Force Base is reminding individuals that the installation is a no-drone zone. The safety and security of the Air Force mission and individuals vital to the mission is crucial to the completion of McConnell’s objectives, and a clear airspace is a key component of that safety.
Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or drones, policy saw a change under the direction of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense in August 2016. There is no private use of sUAS on and around military installations.
“Society has seen an enormous increase in the use of sUAS devices over the last few years,” says Robert Sanderson, 22nd Security Forces Squadron chief of operations support. “The [Federal Aviation Administration] had to rapidly implement rules to manage the aircraft systems.”
The drone ban policy extends to base residents, dependents and guests of McConnell personnel. The policy’s goal is to protect military aircraft and personnel from the additional risks posed by airborne devices on active airfields and to reduce the security threat of drone cameras in secure areas.
“We encourage everyone to report any suspicious activity in and around the installation,” said Sanderson. “With the counter-drone scenario, we ask the public to use the acronym ‘DRONE’ to identify and report any suspicious aircraft systems to [McConnell’s] security forces.”
D-Direct attention: Attempt to locate the individual holding a controller or device that appears to be operating a drone by looking outward and upward to windows, balconies or rooftops.
R-Report incident: Immediately report the activity to security forces by any available means and request supervisor response. If you suspect the operator is off-base, notify local law enforcement and the Office of Special Investigations immediately.
O-Observe: Maintain visibility of the drone while also looking out for damage to facilities or injured individuals. Note that battery life is typically 20 to 30 minutes for multi-rotor devices.
N-Notice Features: Make a note of the type (fixed-wing or multi-rotor), size, shape, color, payload and activity of the device.
E-Execute Appropriate Action: Once a report is received, security forces will follow established protocol in response to the drone activity.
Please report on-base drone activity to the 22nd SFS at 316-759-3976. Specific guidelines for the proper use of drones are listed on the FAA website here. Regulations for areas on or around the base are also located on the FAA website.