Saturday, December 26, 2015

What You Need to Know About the FAA’s Proposed Drone Regulations

What You Need to Know About the FAA’s Proposed Drone Regulations

The Federal Aviation Administration has finally outlined their long-awaited droneregulations, and we now have a clearer picture of what we can and can’t do in the skies. If you’re one of the millions of amateur pilots who was worried about the government grounding your quadcopter for good; you can relax. The new rules will actually make your flights a lot smoother.
Unless you want to use a drone to make money.

Nothing Changes for the Average Consumer

Thankfully, small consumer drones will still be considered as model aircraft under the FAA’s proposed regulations. There will be no need for licensing, training, or even identifying yourself to purchase or operate a drone. This means anyone who wants a drone can have one without worrying about breaking the law.
This doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want with a drone. The FAA already hasguidelines in place for recreational flyers that are meant to keep you (and the community) safe. But as long as you keep your drone below 400 feet and away from obstacles, these guidelines are relatively easy to follow.
While the proposed rules won’t impact the average consumer, anyone who wants to use a drone for commercial reasons will have to fly through some hoops just to get off the ground. Not only will private companies be required to have pilots pass flying tests and get certified by the FAA, but they also won’t be allowed to make deliveries.

Commercial Drones Will be Under a Microscope

Under the proposed regulation, anyone who wants to fly a drone for commercial reasons must be 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge exam, and earn a Federal Aviation Administration Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operator certificate. If that sounds complicated that’s because it is. And because these tests will be administered every 24 months in order to maintain a license, it could deter a lot of businesses from flying.
Operating Limitations
  • A small UAS operator must always see and avoid manned aircraft. If there is a risk of collision, the UAS operator must be the first to maneuver away.
  • The operator must discontinue the flight when continuing would pose a hazard to other aircraft, people, or property.
  • A small UAS operator must assess weather conditions, airspace restrictions, and the location of people to lessen risks if he or she loses control of the UAS.
  • A small UAS may not fly over people, except those directly involved with the flight.
  • Flights should be limited to 500 feet altitude and no faster than 100 mph.
  • Operators must stay out of airport flight paths and restricted airspace areas, and obey any FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs).
These rules may seem like common sense but keep in mind the FAA has never imposed such restrictions. And when you consider the FAA is expecting 7,000 companies to be flying drones within three years, it’s imperative for the government to implement safety guidelines – especially if these companies are going to be flying drones over our heads.

Drone Regulations with the Future in Mind

Surprisingly, the FAA was quite lenient with their proposed regulations – at least for consumers. And unless you don’t need to fly out of sight (i.e. making deliveries), it’s still fairly reasonable to operate a drone for your business. Photographers, farmers, and constructions workers stand to benefit the most from the new rules.
The FAA designed these rules to be flexible enough to change in the future. Drones are an emerging industry and setting aviation safety guidelines at this stage is crucial for its success. It may not be possible to do anything you want with a drone, but that doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen.
Even the FAA agrees.
“Technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace and this milestone allows federal regulations and the use of our national airspace to evolve to safely accommodate innovation.”
 – Anthony Foxx, Transportation Secretary

Drones are Going Mainstream

The proposed ruling by the FAA is a milestone for drones because it means the government finally acknowledges their potential. President Obama’s recent presidential memorandum that calls for more transparency on government drones is proof of that. It may be a while before Newegg Air delivers to your doorstep, but it won’t be long before drones hovering in the sky is commonplace.
The Drone Age is finally here.

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