FAA restricts airspace over Ferguson, grounding TV news helicopters


From the St Louis Business Journal:

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an order mandating that no aircraft may operate in the Ferguson, Missouri, area until 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18.
The restriction went into effect at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Only “relief aircraft operations” under the direction of the St. Louis County Police Department are allowed in the zone.
“(The temporary flight restriction) was requested by the St. Louis County Police Department,” said FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro. “The reason is to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.
“Commercial airlines flying in and out of St. Louis Lambert Airport are not affected by the (temporary flight restriction).”
The St. Louis County Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Here is the NOTAM:

So they don’t want news helicopters?

My first thought is what are they hiding?

(on edit, shrunk the screenshot down in case somebody has a problem reading it. You can go to the link at the word NOTAM to read the whole thing)


They ground the new choppers all the time when there is a crisis and they need the area cleared for police choppers or medi lift. Furguson is a tiny township, surrounded on all sides by other densly populated suburban townships. If there is an explosion or fire, it will be visable from over the neighboring communities. The police chopper needs to be able to move through the area freely, so they can monitor the crowds. The news stations are all there on the ground in full force. I don’t think it’s about “hiding”.


Thank you for this information, Allegra. All too often the news seems to report only a part of the story, in such a way as to bend people’s minds. It’s always good to get “the rest of the story”!


I seem to remember a lot of coverage from news helicopters back at the Rodney King riots in 1992. But you could be right, though, the police seem to have gotten a whole lot more militarized in recent years…shutting down all airspace could be just SOP for anything like this.

On the other hand, it could be that the police are worried about rioters attempting to fire at helicopters, that would be a different thing (and perfectly justifiable for safety-of-flight reasons).


Sounds like a smart move to me.


I think you are right, cops today are like quasi-miltary units LOL, and I imagine they learned from the rodney kind incident, now they know to ground ALL media helicopters so no footage can be aired later that they dont want getting out.

But I have to laugh at their explanation for doing such a thing…to make sure there is a safe enviroment for law enforcement???..CMON, they use this tired old excuse way too often! lol

I miss the days when there would always be that ‘hungry’ news reporter, trying to make a name for their self, and somehow get a chopper up in the air, even though they were told not to, or they find a way around it, but manage to get the shot/ story, while all the other reporters are left with nothing! I havent seen any reporters like this since the early to mid 90s though, I guess none of them are that hungry to get the story like reporters used to be…nowadays, when a story is out, all the networks have it already, no one ‘breaks’ anything wide open anymore…its all highly controlled now…what a shame, and they try to use ‘safe enviroment for police’ to get away with it…LOL is all I can do!!


In this case, the news has reported almost nothing and social media is circulating at least ten completely different version of the story, all claiming to be the Gospel truth!


From this website.

Also Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration barred aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet over Ferguson. The county police department had asked the agency to issue the ban on Monday after its helicopters were shot at “a couple of different times,” Officer Brian Schellman, a department spokesman, said.


Thank you…that is perfectly reasonable.

Sure wish the NOTAM would have cited safety-of-flight due to hazards on the ground as a rationale rather than this:



The press has freer access to Iraq than it does to the police state that is Ferguson, MO.



Everyone there is getting hit with tear gas. It’s a gas. It goes everywhere. It’s not being directly aimed at the press. The press has a reasonable concern for their own safety, just like anyone one else who happens to be down there. They local news has been down there the whole time. The county cops are more concerned about keeping people from killing and robbing each other then helping the camera man get that perfect shot.


Allegra is correct… As a pilot, I can assure you that these Temporary Flight Restrictions happen all the time. I see them every time I fly for many reasons. They put them up to provide a safe maneuvering environment for aircraft working in the area so that they can do what they need to do without getting airtraffic control permission for every little move. They also put them up over large gatherings like Disney Land, baseball games and concerts. They are very common out here in California during the fire season, so the firefighting aircraft can move around safely.


New police shooting near tense Missouri town cbsn.ws/1sVk7hD

Ferguson, Mo. – Police in St. Louis County, Missouri say an officer shot and critically wounded a suspect early Wednesday very near Ferguson, the suburb of the city of St. Louis where a fatal weekend police shooting sparked two nights of violent protests.

CBS affiliate KMOV-TV in St. Louis reports that St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said officers responded to a report of four men wearing ski masks armed with shotguns a block or two east of Ferguson, as well as reports of shots fired in the area.

When they arrived, they found more than two dozen suspects fleeing on foot, Schellman said.

At one point, an officer confronted a suspect who pulled a handgun on the officer, according to the police spokesman.

“In fear for his life, the officer shot the subject,” Schellman continued. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition. The suspect’s handgun was recovered at the scene.

Separately, said Schellman, one person was injured in a drive-by shooting in Ferguson early Wednesday.


Thank you, Allegra, for the information you have given. It’s hard to believe anything one hears these days. In light of this, I have heard that the McDonald’s in question, is boarded up and not open for business. Is this correct? If the majority of the “news” is coming from social media, it is like a game of gossip. It is best to wait and let the fires settle before coming to an opinion.

I also picked up on the news that demonstrations, as long as they were peaceful, were being allowed during the day, but where stopped by the police at night because of the vandalism. Is that true?


They have allowed the protests everyday, but then they break it up in the evening, supposedly because they got violent or because it was getting dark. I don’t know about the McDonalds. There are probabaly multiple McDonalds in Furguson so there could be two different places. According to the local news, they are pulling out the county cops tonight. Who knows what is going to happen?


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