New rules regarding the governing of drones, or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) goes into effect from today, i.e. Monday 29th August, 2016. Called Small UAS Rule (Part 107), it was finalised back in June. The rules are applied on drones as well as for their pilots, for drones flown for both pleasure and business. The rules include nationwide licensing requirements for pilots and a ban on nighttime operations.
According to the FAA rules, 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. Drone operators must also be at least 16 years old and qualify for flying certificates.
“The current FAA scheme requires commercial drone operators to spend months waiting for an exemption and to employ a pilot with a manned aircraft license from the FAA. Those high barriers to entry have prevented many companies from exploring the benefits of drones in their industry, and have been a source of frustration for business owners for years,” DJI, the world’s biggest commercial drone-maker, explained in a June statement.
According to the new rules, such drones can be used in fields like construction, surveying, firefighting, agriculture, search and rescue, conservation, film and video production, academic research, and countless other fields. The new rules also allow for waivers from Part 107. Operators will need to apply for waivers if they want to fly drones at night, above 400 feet and other kinds of operations.
FAA estimates that the new rules could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.
Back in June, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said: “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. But this is just our first step. We’re already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations.”