The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week finalized operational rules regarding the use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or more popularly known as drones). The rules, officially released on June 21, clarify flying-certification requirements for non-hobbyist UAS operators.
To date, the FAA required that commercial drone operators apply via the so-called Section 333 waiver, limiting award of those waivers to applicants with a pilot’s license. The new rule, Part 107, still requires that applicants complete a formal test of their aeronautical knowledge at an FAA-approved testing center, but do not require the operator to undergo formal flight training.
The Part 107 rules apply to drones weighing less than 55 pounds and require that the vehicle remains in line-of-sight to the operator, plus flights can only occur during daylight hours (read the FAA summary of the rules here). The new rules will go into effect in August 2016. The FAA announced it will be creating an online portal for processing flight waivers in the coming months.
The FAA press release estimated that the new rule could generate $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next ten years. The real estate industry has been active in pushing for adjustments to previous regulations regarding operators working with drones other than for a hobby, unsurprising given the opportunities aerial drone footage represents to market, document and analyze land and other real estate holdings.
Image credit: Hexactopter drone at sunset (Ed Schipul/Flickr)