Fears have been raised of forceful actions against Bundy Ranch protestors after a month of temporary flight restrictions were imposed Friday by the Federal Aviation Administration over airspace near Mesquite, Nev. At the prompting of the Bureau of Land Management invoking disaster/hazard regulations, an FAA Notice to Airmen advised yesterday. Despite reports that BLM may be standing down, the situation is still tense as protestors, including Oath Keepers and other supporters, including militia groups, remain on scene.
The airspace definition includes a center NAVAID latitude of : 36º46'24"N, a longitude of 114º11'13"W, a radius of three nautical miles and an altitude from the surface up to and including 3,000 feet, and is effective from April 11 through May 11. The point of contact for the temporary restrictions is listed as “BLM,’ and the cited authority is the Code of Federal Regulations “Temporary flight restrictions in the vicinity of disaster/hazard areas.”
“No pilots may operate an aircraft in the areas covered by this NOTAM (except as described),” the notice declares. “Only relief aircraft operations under direction of BLM are authorized in the airspace.”
With the potentially explosive situation developing in the area, the situation is quickly becoming reminiscent of the federal siege at Waco 21 years earlier, particularly noting how the Branch Davidians hung a banner pleading “God help us: We want the press” as the government kept the media at a manageable distance from Mount Carmel for reasons if its own.
Adding to the FAA “mystery” is a helicopter photo from The Las Vegas Review Journal showing a helicopter at the scene with numbers that some speculate have been altered, and that do not appear on the FAA registry. Combined with documentation of FBI helicopters being masked by private entity front group registrations, the situation cries for further oversight and scrutiny, including close monitoring of all aerial operations.
Whether the temporary flight restrictions will be lifted now that the BLM is reportedly standing down from enforcing a court order remains to be seen as this developing story continues to unfold.