The day has finally come. The Federal Aviation Administration’s official commercial drone rule went into full effect today. The regulations were first announced on June 21.
“People are captivated by the limitless possibilities unmanned aircraft offer, and they are already creating business opportunities in this exciting new field,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These new rules are our latest step toward transforming aviation and society with this technology in very profound ways.”
The rule is designed to safely integrate the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace. It addresses commercial drones that weigh less than 55 pounds. The rule includes operating within visual line of sight during the day, regulations for twilight flights, prohibitions on flying over people who aren’t directly involved in the aircraft’s operations, and height and speed restrictions.
“The FAA’s role is to set a flexible framework of safety without impeding innovation,” said Michael Huerta, Administrator of the FAA. “With these rules, we have created an environment in which emerging technology can be rapidly introduced while protecting the safety of the world’s busiest, most complex airspace.”
Along with Part 107, the FAA is offering a waiver process where operators can request to waive some of the rules if they can demonstrate their flights safety; an aeronautical knowledge test center where operators can receive a remote pilot certificate; and authorizing different classes for operating, such as Class G, which allows operators to fly in an uncontrolled airspace without air traffic control procession.
Going forward, the FAA is looking to tackle operating over people, beyond line of sight, extended operations, flying at night, and flying in urban areas.
More information about applying for a waiver is available here.