Here are the ten most important parts of the new proposed rule which would apply only to "small" drones:
- “Small” UAS is defined as an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 lbs.
- Flights must remain under 500 feet of altitude.
- Flights are restricted to less than 100 mph.
- Flight must be within “visual line-of-sight” only. No remote operation guiding an aircraft by only looking through a smart-phone screen on the ground.
- Flights may not fly over bystanders (except for the operator).
- Flights must occur in daylight hours only.
- Operators must certified by the FAA prior to flying. (More on the “operator” requirements coming in a future post.)
- Small UAS must yield to all other aircraft and avoid reckless or careless operation.
- Operators are limited to flying one UAS at a time.
- The operator must conduct pre-flight inspection prior to take off.
For those ready to take to the sky, remember that these are only "proposed" rules. The current regulatory framework is still in place--meaning commercial drone use is still illegal. The FAA is awaiting public comments on these proposed rules. After it receives and responds to those comments, the FAA will publish final small UAS regulations. If you are or wish to fly small UAS in the future, you should review the proposed rule and submit your comments to the FAA.
Send comments before April 24, 2015 to:
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12–140
West Building Ground Floor
Washington, DC 20590–0001