Client Alert: New Rule for Flying a Drone for Commercial Purposes Now Effective

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Attorneys & Professionals

The new small unmanned aerial aircraft (UAS) rule, 14 C.F.R. §107 et seq., is effective as of August 29, 2016.  This rule permits the flying of drones for commercial purposes provided that the drone operations and pilot meet the requirements of the new small UAS rule. 

Some of the key operational limitations include, but are not limited to:

Some of the key pilot limitations include, but are not limited to:

The “airman knowledge test” is a comprehensive 60-question exam that covers numerous topics, including applicable regulations to drones, airspace classification, weather sources and effects, emergency procedures, radio communication procedures, drone performance, aeronautical decision making and judgment, airport operations, recommended traffic advisory procedures, and preflight inspections.  The test is now available at FAA-approved testing centers, costs $150, and takes approximately two hours to complete.  There are 22 approved testing centers throughout Ohio.  Because there is not a single collection of materials to review to prepare for the exam, it is recommended that if the hopeful pilot of the drone has no prior pilot/flight experience, the person enroll in a one-day course at an approved testing center to learn the pertinent information to pass the exam. 

Although the new small UAS rule is a step by the FAA towards using drones for commercial purposes such as photography, surveying, and site inspections, it still has significant limitations.  For example, a photographer or videographer cannot fly a drone over people, thereby presenting significant challenges in photographing or filming wedding parties or events.  It will be some time before we see FAA-approved autonomous technology for drone operations that retailers seek to utilize for the mass delivery of packages, or your pizza, to your doorstep.  For additional information, please contact Jessica Knopp Cunning.