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New rules for commercial drone usage go into effect today

By Jos ยท 5 replies
Aug 29, 2016
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  1. Today marks an important milestone for commercial drone usage in the U.S. as new rules by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) have officially gone into effect.

    According to the guidelines, commercial drones must weigh less than 55 pounds, fly up to a maximum of 400 feet in altitude, at a speed of no more than 100 miles per hour, and can only be operated during daytime and up to 30 minutes before sunrise and after sunset.

    Package delivery is allowed, but will largely be limited by a requirement to keep drones within visual line of sight. Other than that drones can carry packages as long as the combined weight of the drone and the load is less than 55 pounds.

    Pilots must be at least 16 years old and are required to apply for a Remote Pilot Certificate, subject to a full TSA background check, a $150 fee and passing a two-hour, 60 multiple-choice questions at one of the 686 testing centers across the United States.

    The rules are limited in scope and don't cover more complex uses of unmanned aircraft, especially at higher altitudes and beyond the sight of operators. They also don’t address key privacy and safety issues, like flying over people. But it is a step forward after years of debate and one that might help spark innovation in the industry.

    Prior to today, people needed a pilot’s license to fly a commercial drone, while business had to request special permission from the federal government for any commercial drone endeavor, a process that often took months.

    The new rules do not apply to people who are flying drones strictly for recreational purposes. The FAA has a separate set of rules for those drone operators. They don’t need a special license but they do need to register their drone if it weighs over 0.55 lb.

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  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,602   +1,889

    According to Leo McGarry, there are two things people don't want to see being made: laws and sausages.

    What lame brain came up with all those numbers?

    For one thing, 55 pounds for a drone is too much weight, and 100mph is way too fast, enough to become a menace to many things that are in the air. For another, it suggests drones cannot be used in NY after 5pm during winter months because it is dark at that point... now that is stupid.

    I'm not going through the other items, but they are just as dumb, as is the whole thing.

    Thanks God I do not live in the country that resents slavery and legislates it at the same time, "through other means". Country of freedom my a$$.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
    Panda218 likes this.
  3. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,953   +1,286

    Oh look more bureaucrats writing laws for things they have absolutely no knowledge or familiarity with about from dozens of biased "professional" inputs
    Greg S likes this.
  4. Vladislav

    Vladislav TS Rookie

    I would expect that ANY commercial device flying over my head, over children plying in a park, over my house or my car when I am driving is regulated and adheres to some principles of safety and proper engineering. Assuming that operators of drones are nice, knowledgeable people always following common sense is plain stupid.

    In not so distant past many people ridiculed the very first legislations to drive on a specific side of the road, to stick to one traffic lane when possible, to have car lights turned on after dark, to wear seat belts, and so on. The drone legislation needs to be further improved, not ridiculed out of existence.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,195   +1,868

    Reminds me that I need to go out and pick up a few more boxes of shotgun shells today .... Dove & Drone season is rapidly approaching!!!
  6. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 714   +334

    If they has been smart, they would have come up with a classification system - like they do with plane engine count and type - and based legislation on that. Instead, the FAA was stupid and set a 'hard roof' on commercial drone rules.

    At 55lb, LoS-only, and only during the day, I can only picture film and photography studios benefiting from these rules. You won't see any additional innovation from these rules. If anything, you'll see it stifled in the commercial space now that they are clearly defined.

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