This Sunday, the FAA and DOT finally released their proposed rules for commercial use of drones weighing 55 pounds or less in our national airspace. The good news? No pilot’s license or flight school will be required to operate a drone commercially. The bad news? The formal rulemaking process has just begun and we will have to wait until at least 2 years until the proposed rules become final. Until the final rules go into effect, which will probably not be until 2017, anyone who wants to operate a drone commercially and legally will still have to submit a Section 333 petition for exemption.
Highlights of the Proposed sUAS Rules:
- No pilot’s license or flight school required
- 500 foot altitude limit
- Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission
- Pass an aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
- Visual observer not required
- No ATC permission necessary to operate in Class G airspace
- No airworthiness certification of the aircraft
Here is the full text of the proposed Rules: FAA sUAS NPRM
In addition, President Obama released his Memorandum on privacy relating to domestic use of drones
Let Antonelli Law Help you Draft Your Public Comments
Now is the time to make your voice heard. Once the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register sometime in March or April, industry and the public will have just 60 days to submit public comments on them. The FAA is required to consider all the public comments about the proposed rules and allow the public to participate in any hearings. The agency may make adjustments to the proposed rules based on the public feedback it receives. Sometime in 2016 or 2017 it will issue the final rule, which will have the force and effect of law.
If there are issues that you strongly support or oppose in the proposed rules, or that you believe should be in the rules but are not, you should be filing comments. We can help you articulate your concerns in a way that will maximize your impact. Antonelli Law’s UAS Co-Counsel, Mark Del Bianco, has 30 years of experience in federal agency rule-making proceedings. For more information or to speak with Mr. Del Bianco, telephone us at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below.