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FAA and their proposed rules on drones



At the moment, there are no worries about what you can do with your drones, as no (new) rules have been set in stone just yet (as long as you don’t do anything crazy). Even better for hobbyists, the current proposed rules are targeting “commercial drones” under “55lbs”.

Basically, commercial drone operators that operate drones under 55lbs will have to take an aeronautical knowledge test once every 2 years to obtain an operator certificate that allows them to fly. This test will educate them on the current rules and regulations of their drone usage.

Rules will include the restriction of the drone to no more than 500 feet from the ground, and no faster than 100mph (which speed shouldn’t be a problem given today’s drone technology if you consider quadcopters and alike). You also have to maintain a visual (line of sight) of the drone at all times and fly during the day.

These limitations will however cripple the plans of companies such as Amazon, who have been pushing for the capability of using drones to deliver parcels as an alternative to using ground shipping agencies. Such a practice would not allow them to keep a constant line of sight. Given, the idea of companies using a method like this to deliver products still sounds quite a bit far fetched until computers become much more intelligent in both object recognition and predicting behavior of both themselves and the objects around them.

There will also be restrictions to federal agencies and their use of such technology to collect information. For example, due to privacy concerns, any personally identifying information the drone collects can only be stored for no more than 180 days from time of collection.

These rules and limitations may take a year or two before they reach the law books, and still have plenty of time to be tweaked and disputed. Hopefully if any tweaks come, they are for the better vs defining further limitations (especially to consumers with smaller drones).

Once the rules do go live, they will also have a better idea of what they want to do with smaller consumer drones. At the moment though, that hasn’t been the focus of the proposition.


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Designer, Editor and Reviewer for Poc Network, ProAudio and Mobile Nations.

James enjoys spending most of his time as an audio engineer and technician for the live music industry when he isn’t running around the office here juggling an intense workload. He can also be found frequently in the nearby mountainous ranges, scrambling rocks and rappelling down large sections.

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