FAA Drone Regulations

Christian Wiesenberg

Drones, otherwise known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), have been a hot topic over the past several years. November 18, 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that any, “device used for flight in the air, large or small, are subject to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governing rules.” The FAA proposed regulations are an attempt to curb issues associated with drone usage, such as invasion of privacy, personal injury, destruction of property, and violation of FAA U.S. airspace regulations. As of December 21, 2015, drones that weigh less than 55 lbs are to be registered with the FAA.

The FAA has proposed UAS regulations that would affect Recreational operators, Commercial operators, and Public Entities. The proposed regulations require a recreational drone operator – who is 13 years or older – to register their drone if that drone’s weight is between 0.55 lbs and 55 lbs. A drone operator would be required to pass an FAA-approved aeronautical test before operating their drone. Commercial operators would be required to obtain an FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) and meet the same licensing and registration requirements as a recreational operator. Both recreational and commercial operators would be limited to an elevation of 400 feet and keep their drone within eyesight at all times on property designated for that flight - not flight in open public airspace. Lastly, public entities which include publicly funded universities, law enforcement, fire departments and other government agencies, are the only operators who can receive a COA for public airspace UAS aircraft operations.

For more information on FAA proposed drone regulations visits: https://www.faa.gov/uas/nprm/