MIAMI — The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have released new rules today related to the use of non-recreational unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”).
According to a press call with Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Michael Huerta, administrator of the FAA and White House staff, the operators of non-recreational drones up to 55 pounds (25 kg.) will no longer need a waiver from the pilot’s license to fly their aircraft.
“We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief,” Secretary Foxx said.
According to the new rule, which takes effect in late August, the person actually flying a drone must be at least 16 years old and have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate, and must pass the same security vetting as manned-aircraft pilots every 24 months.
The UAVs will not require special permission to fly during the day while staying at least 5 miles (8 km.) away from airports, flying below 400 feet and always in sight of the operators. The new regulations also address height and speed restrictions and other operational limits, such as prohibiting flights over unprotected people on the ground who aren’t directly participating in the UAS operation.