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FAA Releases New Rules for Small Drone Operation

6.21.2016

The FAA has released its long-awaited new rules for small drone operations. These regulations apply to the use of any unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing less than 55 pounds for any reasons other than for hobby or recreational purposes. The rules, of course, apply to operating small drones as a part of your photography business. They'll take effect in August. 

As expected, the finalized rules are very similar to those proposed by the FAA in February. According to the new rules, you'll no longer be required to obtain an exemption from the FAA or hold a manned aircraft pilot’s license to offer drone photography services. Instead, you will be able to become a certified UAS operator (or “remote pilot in command”) by passing a computerized knowledge test at an FAA-approved testing center.

FAA-certified small UAS operators will be required to meet specified criteria (minimum age, English language proficiency, health requirements, etc.), follow instructions for maintaining and inspecting the aircraft, and stay within FAA-specified operational limitations.

Operational limitations include but are not limited to:

  • Daylight-only operations
  • Operations in Class G airspace only without permission from air traffic control (in Class B, C, D, or E with permission)
  • Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level
  • Maximum airspeed of 100 mph
  • UAS may not operate directly over any person not directly involved in the operation

Read the complete regulations from the FAA: http://www.faa.gov/uas/media/RIN_2120-AJ60_Clean_Signed.pdf

A summary of the rules: http://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf

FAA press release: https://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=20515

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