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FAA Announces New Rules for Commercial Drones


FAA Announces New Rules for Commercial Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration announced new rules to regulate commercial drones. The first of which limits most small commercial drone operations to daylight hours and require operators to get certified every two years. This is the first attempt by the GAA to regulate commercial drones and allows drone operators to operate without seeking approval.  Some of the rules that stand out are commercial drones weighing up to 55 pounds are allowed to fly during daylight hours and lower than 400 feet in the air.  The aircraft must remain within sight of the operator and the operators must be at least 16 years old and pass an aeronautics test every 24 months which get them certified by the Transportation Security Administration.

Drone operators who want to operate at night would need to demonstrate specific safety measures and seek a waiver.  The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International project that “70,000 jobs and $13.6 billion in economic impact will be created in the U.S. within three years of drones being allowed to fully share the skies”.  The FAA are researching how commercial drones can operate in congested areas.

Once June had arrived, the FAA registered

“464,591 drone operators who can fly one or more drones. Another 10,054 people registered one drone apiece for special permission for non-hobbyist operations such as for police and fire departments. An estimated 700,000 to 1 million drones were sold during the 2015 holiday season, according to trade groups”.

With the announcement of the new rules came conflict between the federal government and the states. The only way to resolve if a pending legislation is approved by the U.S. Senate that would place all authority for drone rules in federal hands. As of now, 31 states have adopted laws governing drones, with ‘18 requiring search warrants for police to use drones for surveillance, 13 adopting criminal penalties for misusing drones and 12 creating privacy protections”, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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