Are You Complying with New FAA Drone Regulations?

Are You Complying with New FAA Drone Regulations?

Drone operation, for both commercial and recreational purposes, has become quite popular. In Florida, drones have been used to sell homes, take aerial views of our area, produce movies, and record events.  Drone racing might soon become a common sport and there have even been rumors about a drone “obstacle race” in the Sunshine State. As drones become swifter, more manageable and more ubiquitous, their commercial potential exponentially increases, and businesses from insurance to delivery companies are taking serious note.  And so is the Federal Aviation Administration which has just released new drone regulations.

Previously, commercial drone operators were required to follow the same rules as larger vessels, like hot air balloons. However, on June 21, 2016, the FAA issued a special new set of regulations for drones. This set of rules regulates commercial drones weighing less than fifty-five pounds.  Among other things, the new FAA drone regulations establish that:

  • Drone flights during daylight or twilight hours are permitted, as long as the drone has anti-collision lighting.
  • Flight up to a maximum altitude of 400 feet above the ground, or higher if your drone remains within 400 feet of a structure, is allowed.
  • Drones may fly at a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour (87 knots).
  • The drone may carry an external load as long as it is securely attached and the load must not adversely affect the flight or control of the drone.
  • Drone operators may use the aircraft (in some areas) to transport property for compensation or hire within state lines as long as the entire drone, with its attached cargo, weighs less than fifty-five total pounds.
  • Waivers of most restrictions can be requested if the operator can show that the proposed operation can be conducted safely.

In addition to the above operational requirements, drone operators or “pilots” must obtain certification. To fly a drone, the operator needs a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating. You may also operate a drone under the direct supervision of a person who holds the certificate.

The drone pilot certification may be obtained by persons of at least sixteen years of age who:

  • pass an initial aeronautical test at an FAA testing center or,
  • already have a Part 61 pilot certificate (other than a student pilot certificate), have completed a flight review in the previous twenty-four months, and have take a small unmanned aircraft training course from the FAA.

Additionally, the operator must ensure that the drone is safe before flying it by simply performing a preflight visual and operational check of the drone to ensure all the safety features are functioning.

Journeying through the administrative processes to register and operate your drone is quite complex and can be overwhelming. If you are interested in purchasing or operating a drone, éClat Law law can help you navigate both federal and state requirements to assure your safety and the safety of the public.  Give us a call!