Drone Laws and Regulations
Of all the new trends in businesses, one of the most peculiar and least charted is drones. Be it for entertainment, hobby, delivery, or photography, these high flying devices are soaring in usage. They have become so prominent that it has caused a spree of new rules put out by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that will be taking effect in the near future. So, with safety and new rules, what hurdles do you need to pass to fly a drone? Is there any difference depending on what you want to do with it? Where can you fly without running into trouble?
In the process, it is important to determine what you wish to use your drone for, as there are more requirements on businesses than there are on hobbyists. In determining which one you are, it's important to think about how, or if you can benefit from the use of your drone. A good example may be if you use a drone to survey your garden you grow for your own personal use to determine how badly it may need to be watered, compared to doing the same for a farm, or for produce you would sell. For both hobbyists and professionals, it's required that the person register a drone that weighs between 0.55 and 55 pounds, and abide by certain safety measurements while flying (e.g., keeping the drone within line of sight, only in daylight, below 400 feet, and away from large gatherings of unprotected people or restricted areas). However, for business operators, there are three main requirements in addition to registration: a Section 333 certification that determines the drone is "safe" for commercial uses (now only if the drone would weigh over 55 pounds at takeoff); a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization clearing the desired use of the drone for uses in certain areas (e.g., airports) and; a pilot with FAA certification now with some specifications in the new rules. The piloting rules especially are a welcome change as a pilot can be anyone age 16 or older, who can pass an aeronautical knowledge test, is in proper condition to operate a drone, and is proficient in English.
There are additional requirements on where a person can fly, and what he/she can use his/her drones for. As with any other aircraft, drones would be prohibited from entering Temporary Flight Restriction areas, or TFRs, which can be seen online as posted by the TSA. These areas usually encompass areas where sporting events occur, or with large gatherings of people. This is partially due to safety, as it is agreed that some drones, due to the high-spinning speed of the propellers, may pose a safety risk if they were to crash. However, with the new rules, there are certain parts that can be waived, such as the requirements for daylight operation, visual line of sight, operation over people, and operation of multiple small drones.
Yet, safety is not the only reason for restriction on drone uses. Privacy has also emerged as a pressing interest restricting where someone can fly, as laws in California have moved to prohibit the use of drones to invade on privacy. Other legislators expanded this by including language in a bill that includes trespass of a person's property by air. Other legislative bodies have implemented restrictions on use for hunting, or flights over correctional facilities, or stalking an individual.
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