DOT & FAA Finalise 107 'Small UAS' Rule

Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 18:08

The Federal Aviation Administration announced the new category of rules for drones weighing less than 55 pounds. The long-anticipated rules would mean drone operators will be able to fly without special permission, a break through in this specific class.

“This rule is just a first step along a path of full integration of drones into the national airspace system, and the first page of a new chapter for aviation technology,” said Jason Miller, an Obama economic adviser.

Currently, commercial operators have to go through the time consuming and expensive process to apply for a waiver (333 Exemption) from rules that govern manned aircraft.

Since 2014 the FAA has granted more than 6,100 waivers and another 7,600 are waiting for approval. Many more small companies have been using drones without FAA permission, say industry officials.

The rules effectively lift the lid on flights by other potential operators who have held off using the technology — real estate agents who want bird’s-eye videos of properties, ranchers who want to count cattle, filmmakers who want to employ aerial photography, research scientists and a multitude of other businesses.

“This is a watershed moment in how advanced technology can improve lives,” said Brendan Schulman, a vice president at DJI, the world’s largest civilian drone-maker.