Saturday, July 2, 2016

Drones Are Here To Stay

The FAA recently updated rules on the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the U.S. airspace. This is a definite recognition of the magnitude of drone use in the U.S. by professionals as well as non-professionals and also helps to clear up some of the rules that have thus far been in place, rules that some thought were far too stringent in some cases. You can read more about the past attempts by the FAA to manage drones in the U.S. airspace and read past blog posts we've added about the topic here, here, here, and here

FAA airspace system

The New Small UAS Rule (part 107) clears up how drones may be utilized by individuals. For the most part there are no gigantic changes (no, the government ain't comin' fer yer drones) except that stipulations are now better laid out for professional drone use. The weight limits are still in place, rules allowing fun flying haven't really changed, and you still need to register your drone. Drone operators can now apply for a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate, which you might think of as a driver's license for drones. Makes sense, right? Those beleaguered souls at the FAA have had a rough time of managing this quick introduction of thousands upon thousands of aircraft into our shared airspace. We think they've done a great job of stepping up to the task. Remember, the FAA works to ensure 100% safety for all. Think about what that means; all air travel, the nation's airspace, all airplanes (and now drones) big and small, are expected to operate safely 100% of the time. And they hit that goal day in and day out. 99% is just not good enough. The old trope holds true: If 99% were good enough then four plane landings daily at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago will be unsafe, etc. etc.

FAA part 107 updates, a breakdown

You can read more about getting started with the new rules HERE. We all have plenty of time to implement them as they go into effect on August 29th, 2016. For those of us using drones for outreach, education, and research it's imperative that we lead the way in staying abreast of new information while demonstrating solid safety practices. Have fun and we'll see you in the skies!

Text: Kevin Gidusko
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