The Federal Aviation Administration’s new rules for routine commercial use of drones became effective on Monday, Aug. 29. Outlined in June this year, and formally known as Part 107, the new regulations are intended to reduce risk to other aircrafts as well as people and property on the ground.
“The FAA’s role is to set a flexible framework of safety without impeding innovation,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “With these rules, we have created an environment in which emerging technology can be rapidly introduced while protecting the safety of the world’s busiest, most complex airspace.”
Major points of the guidelines are:
- All drones must be registered with the FAA and weigh less than 55 lbs.
- Drones must remain within visual line of sight of the pilot
- Operation is only permitted during daylight hours or “civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting”
- Maximum groundspeed of 100 mph and altitude of 400 feet above ground level
- Pilots must be at least 16 years old and are required to have a “remote pilot airman certificate” provided by the FAA
Operators can apply for a waiver of some of the limitations if they are able to demonstrate and confirm that the proposed flight will be conducted safely. According to the FAA, “the majority of the approved waivers were for night operations under Part 107.” Operators can apply for waivers at the FAA’s online portal located at www.faa.gov/UAS.
Part 107 will also require drone operators to have a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating, or be under direct supervision by someone with the certification. To qualify for the certificate, the operator must be at least 16 years old and must pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate.
See a full summary of the guidelines here.
Sources: FAA.gov, Associated Press