New FAA Rules Make It Much Easier to Legally Operate a Drone

Feds Give Google Permission to Begin Testing Delivery Drones
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This morning the FAA published its updated rules, entitled Part 107, which just made it a lot easier for businesses to operate drones.

Up until this point, any business or commercial operator (for instance, photographers, media companies, and farmers aerially inspecting their fields) had to have a pilot’s license to fly a drone without running into legal issues.

Pilot’s licenses are difficult to obtain, requiring one to go to pilot school and log a certain amount of hours flying an actual aircraft, which is a lot scarier than flying a drone remotely from the safety of the ground.

Instead the FAA is now mandating that commercial drone operators pass a knowledge test and acquire a drone certificate. This a cheaper and much simpler regulation which paves the way for everyone from academic researchers to facility inspectors to own and operate drones.

The big exception to these lightened restrictions is drone delivery. Delivery companies like Amazon still won’t be able to implement their ambitious plan of running a massive autonomous fleet of delivery drones because the FAA still requires them to be piloted by people who are within seeing distance of the drones. For Amazon’s plan to make financial and logistical sense, individual operators would have to run dozens of drones at once over long distances.

Some other rules that the FAA clarified in Part 107 are that drones must be flown during daytime, stay below 400 feet in the air, weigh less than 55 pounds, and can reach a top speed of 100 mph.

All in all, many business owners have voiced their approval of the FAA’s eased regulations. We can definitely expect to see a lot more drones in the air in the near future.

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