Saturday, 21 February 2015

FAA Rules for Drones


The much awaited rules for flying of drones for commercial uses have finally been unveiled by FAA. Here are some of the key points in this respect:

  • These shall weigh less than 55 pounds, must stay below 500 feet and must fly at no more than 100 miles per hour.
  • People who fly it shall be at least 17 years old. They shall pass an aeronautical test. And, they have to be vetted by TSA.
  • Drones have to fly within sight of operator and during daylight only.
  • FAA knowledge tests have to be passed every 2 years.
  • In case of risk collision, drone operator shall manoeuvre away first.
  • It shall not fly over people, except those who are directly involved in its flight operations.
  • Must not come to airport flight paths and observe restrictions of airspace, permanent or temporary.
  • No object shall be dropped from the drone from air.
  • Operating in reckless and careless manner shall not be allowed.
  • Operator shall perform pre-flight inspection to check whether there are proper communication links between the control station and the drone.
  • Though FAA is not mandating that the UAS shall be subject to airworthiness testing, it might apply to UAS that have FAA mandated components. However, it is the responsibility of the operator to ensure that it is safe before flying it.
Though these rules have been hailed by the community of drone lovers, there are still some concerns regarding their use. The FAA is also expected to pay more attention to the three contentious issues outlined below and frame regulations covering these concerns. These issues are:
  1. Relaxing the ‘Line of Sight’ rule so that these can be used more profitably for commercial purposes.
  2. Asking the drone manufacturers to implement geo-fencing in order to delineate the area where the drones can fly. These will act like limits to the flights of drones.
  3. Develop stringent privacy protection mechanisms so that the individual privacy is not breached with their usage.

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