New FAA drone regulations allows commercial use

By Patrick Walker

Published 08/30 2016 09:24PM

Updated 08/30 2016 09:24PM

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Commercial drone use is now legal in the United States, thanks to a new set of rules issued this week by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The rules focus on safety while allowing commercial operators more freedom than before to use drones. 

"Monday is like the 4th of July in the drone industry, said Douglas Spotted Eagle, vice president of sales, and marketing for DronesPlus.  "It really is because it's an independence day."

By next year, the FAA estimates there will be 600,000 commercial drones in operation in the United States.  That's almost double the number of airplanes registered nationwide.

Spotted Eagle says the new policy is a game-changer for businesses.

"What this really means to people is we can now get vested in businesses, commercial activites," Spotted Eagle said.

On the business end, drones can be used in inspecting utilities, surveying land, commercial videography; they can be used for anything you put your mind to.

"These can cover ground so much faster, and it's like a Hoover vacuum, it sucks up data just as fast as it goes, and then we can analyze that data, according to Spotted Eagle.

Commercial flights used to require a special exemption from the FAA, such as giving a 24-hours' notice, along with having a licensed pilot operate the UAV.

However, that's no longer the case.  Drones now have to pass a special test that is required so drones can fly in an unrestricted Class-G airspace below 400 feet, and closer to airports in a semi-restricted airspace.

Under the new regulations, commercial drones are also only allowed to operate with permission from air traffic controllers.  However, they can't go faster than 100 miles per hour and flights have to be during daylight hours.

Manufacturers are continually adding features to help pilots stay in compliance with the new regulations.

"Some of the devices out there, for example this one we see in front of us, actually comes up and says 'you're in Clas B airspace, you're not legal to fly here,' and it won't let you fly," Spotted Eagle demonstrated. 

Most of the earlier rules concerning drones are still in effect.  Like flying below 400 feet within the line of sight of the operator, and not over people unless they're part of the operation.

For more on the FAA drone rules go here.

 

 

 

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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