FAA Issues Proposed Drone Rules

On February 15, 2015, the FAA issues the first insight into the use of commercial drones. The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration today proposed a framework of regulations that would allow routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in today’s aviation system, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future technological innovations.

As predicted, the FAA is limiting the use of the UAS similar to recreational UAS but, the operator must be certified and the aricraft must be registered.

A summary of the proposed rules includes:

  • Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs.
  • Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only
  • Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly involved in the operation.
  • Daylight-only operations
  • First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement
  • Maximum airspeed of 100 mph
  • Maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level
  • Pilots of a small UAS would be considered “operators”
  • Operators would be required to pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center
  • Obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating
  • The aircraft must be registered with the FAA and display the assigned aircraft number.