FAA Finalizes Rules For Commercial Drone Operation
June 22, 2016 at 4:21 AM (PT)
The FAA has finalized its rules for commercial drone use, dropping the requirement of a pilot's license and instead establishing a certification program along with other operational restrictions.
The rules, which take effect in late AUGUST, will require those flying drones to be at least 16 years old and have a remote pilot certificate with a small drone rating (or be supervised by someone with a certificate), and follow safety regulations for drones weighing 55 pounds or less; pilots must keep the drones within their line of sight and no more than 400 feet above ground, and drones with anti-collision lights may fly during twilight. Pilots will also have to undergo an aeronautics safety test once every two years. The new rules, which will apply to news gathering operations like radio and TV stations using drones for coverage, do not address privacy concerns, although the FAA said that it will address the issue and will provide guidelines in the registration process and the agency's mobile app.
“We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary ANTHONY FOXX. “We look forward to working with the aviation community to support innovation, while maintaining our standards as the safest and most complex airspace in the world.”
“With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach that balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAA’s mission to protect public safety,” said FAA Administrator MICHAEL HUERTA. “But this is just our first step. We’re already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations.”