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FAA proposes rules for commercial drone use

By Model Retailer Staff
Published: February 16, 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration on Feb. 15 proposed rules on the commercial use of small drones (55 pounds or less). Regulations would require operators to be certified, 17 or older, keep the craft in sight, and not fly at night. The craft must stay below 500 feet and its speed must not exceed 100 mph.


Although these rules would regulate drones less strictly than they are currently, delivery applications such as those being explored by Amazon, Google, and various small businesses are not part of the new proposal, which concerns only small, nonrecreational craft. Recreational uses also will be addressed separately.


The FAA’s announcement comes amid several recent incidents, including a small drone that crashed on the White House lawn in January. Public comment and revision of the proposed rules may last another two years.


Michael P. Huerta, FAA administrator, says, “We have tried to be flexible in writing these rules. We want to maintain today’s outstanding level of aviation safety without placing an undue regulatory burden on an emerging industry.”


At the same time, President Obama issued a memo regarding privacy issues raised by drones, calling on agencies to consult existing laws and the Constitution to set rules within the year regarding the “collection, use, retention, and dissemination of information” collected by drones.


Although delivery systems may have to wait their turn for now, commercial uses mentioned in a White House statement include “agriculture, law enforcement, coastal security, military training, search and rescue, first responder medical support, critical infrastructure inspection and many others.”

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