Commercial Operators of Small Drones Must Operate Within Visual-Line-of-Sight, During Daylight Hours, at a Maximum Ground Speed of 100 mph and Height of 400 Feet Unless They Obtain Waiver
On June 21, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration finalized operational rules for commercial use of small (weighing less than 55 pounds) "unmanned aircraft systems" or drones. New rules pertaining to these drones will be found in a new Part 107 to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The rules contain certain limitations on operations including, but not limited to: (1) operations must occur within an operator's visual-line-of-sight; (2) no operations over individuals not directly participating in the operation; (3) operations must occur during daylight hours or 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset if the UAS possesses anti-collision lighting; and (4) operations must occur at a maximum groundspeed of 100 mph and at a maximum altitude of 400 feet. Many of these restrictions, however, can be waived upon an applicant showing that the UAS can be safely operated pursuant to the terms of a certificate of waiver. Further, the individual piloting the UAS must obtain or must be under the direct supervision of an individual who has obtained a remote pilot certification through: (1) either passing an aeronautical test or holding a part 61 pilot certificate with completion of a flight review within 24 months and an FAA UAS training course; (2) undergoing vetting by the Transportation Security Administration; and (3) being at least 16 years of age.