New Drone Rules Take Effect Monday
The FAA’s new rules that will allow widespread use of small drones for commercial purposes take effect next Monday, Aug. 29. The rules require operators of commercial drones to have a pilot certificate or pass an FAA knowledge test to ensure they understand airspace restrictions and other relevant rules. They also must be at least 16 years old and will be subject to vetting by the TSA. The drones are restricted to airspace below 400 feet and must weigh 55 pounds or less. Operators must keep their drone within visual line of sight, and fly only during daylight hours, although twilight flying is allowed if the drone has anti-collision lights.
The regulations also prohibit flights over unprotected people on the ground who aren’t directly participating in the UAS operation. The FAA is offering a process to waive some restrictions if an operator proves the proposed flight will be conducted safely. “With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach that balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAA’s mission to protect public safety,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “But this is just our first step. We’re already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations.”