On Aug. 29, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) new operational rules for commercial operators of drones officially went into effect, lessening restrictions on how broadcasters and other operators can use drones.
The new rules, applying to those drones 55 pounds and under, allow broadcasters to fly near crowds (but not over them), and don’t require broadcasters to receive prior approval to fly drones in uncontrolled airspace, without air traffic control permission.
Drones still must be in the sight line of operators at all times, and while most drone usage at night is prohibited, the FAA is granting waivers to that restriction, where appropriate. Drone operators will have to complete an Aeronautical Knowledge Test along with acquiring a FAA Airman Certificate or Rating Application before operating the drones. Previously only a certified pilots license would do to operate a drone for commercial use.
“People are captivated by the limitless possibilities unmanned aircraft offer, and they are already creating business opportunities in this exciting new field,” Anthony Foxx, secretary for the department of transportation, said in a statement. “These new rules are our latest step toward transforming aviation and society with this technology in very profound ways.”
FAA administrator Michael Huerta added: “The FAA’s role is to set a flexible framework of safety without impeding innovation. With these rules, we have created an environment in which emerging technology can be rapidly introduced while protecting the safety of the world’s busiest, most complex airspace.”