In what is probably the biggest (and best) news of 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration has finally made a decision on how to integrate drones into the national airspace.
Rather than rehash the gory details, here are some basics and a summary – as well as links to other articles and announcements.
Here is an announcement from DJI – the largest manufacturer of Camera Drones.
Up until now, business use of drones was difficult – only hobby use (no payment received) was allowable under the existing rules. This meant that farmers, photographers, surveyors and other uses were off-limits to anyone except a special few – you needed to be a actual REAL pilot and apply to the FAA for a specific license.
The New Rule
The new rule opens up the skies to most all of us! Budding drone pilots will have to meet some basic requirements and take a test to prove their knowledge. To qualify for business use:
1. The person actually flying a drone must be at least 16 years old
2.To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, an individual must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center
3. The TSA will conduct a security background check of all remote pilot applications prior to issuance of a certificate.
4. Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only – Daylight operations only. Other conditions such as not flying over people, maximum speed, etc. will apply.
5. Certain types of accidents must be reported.
The Rule will go into effect in 60 days (mid-August, 2016).
Get Ready for the Boom
This is the ruling that has been awaited for a year or more and will result in BILLIONS of dollars of new economic activity. Buckle your seat belts – Uncle Sam has finally come around and the gears of our economic engine are about to be engaged.