FAA Issues Rules for Commercial Drone Use

Rules include requirement for UAS operators to obtain remote pilot certificate.

FAA Drone
New rules have been set for the commercial operation of drones that weigh less than 55 pounds.FAA

The FAA announced today it has finalized a set of rules for the routine commercial operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing less than 55 pounds, including a provision requiring the operator to obtain a “remote pilot certificate.”

Under the new rule, drone pilots must be at least 16 years old and possess such a certificate with a small UAS rating. Operators must pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate.

The rules also include provisions for keeping UAS in the operator’s visual line of sight as well as restrictions for height and speed. The FAA will also set limits on operating UAS at dusk and prohibit flights over unprotected people on the ground.

“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.”

The agency doesn’t regulate privacy issues concerning the use of UAS, but the registration and certification process will include guidelines and education about privacy “best practices.”

The FAA says the rules, which take effect in August, are necessary in order to safely integrate UAS into the United States’ airspace, and could boost the nation’s economy, creating more than 100,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

The full Part 107 rules document can be read here.