New Rules for Drones Will Launch Aug. 29

A drone's-eye-view provides a unique perspective of a jobsite.

A drone’s-eye-view provides a unique perspective on a jobsite.

The growing number of builders using drones on the jobsite will want to keep an eye on the new rules being issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) if they want to avoid potential fines.

The new rules (aka “Part 107“) go into effect Aug. 29 requiring small commercial drone operators (or “non-hobbyists”) to obtain a remote pilot certificate, or be directly supervised by someone who has such a certificate.

According to the FAA website:

To qualify for the certificate, you must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate. If you are qualifying under the latter provision, you must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and must take an FAA UAS online training course. The Transportation Security Administration will conduct a security background check of all remote pilot applications prior to issuance of a certificate.

If you’ve got several hours to kill and a burning desire to know the specifics, you’re welcome to read the FAA’s 624-page rulebook. If not, here are some of the other basic provisions in addition to obtaining the certificate.

The unmanned aircraft must:

  • Weigh less than 55 lbs.
  • Remain within the pilot’s visual line of sight
  • Operate only in the daylight
  • Not exceed a ground speed of 100 mph
  • Not exceed an altitude of 400 feet above ground level or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a structure

For the pilot, he or she:

  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • May only operate one aircraft at a time
  • May only operate the aircraft from a moving vehicle if in a sparsely populated area

More information and educational materials are also available on the FAA website to help prepare applicants for the test. Go to the FAA website where you’ll see a list of PDF resources regarding the “Small UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) Rule.”

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  1. ChrisM says:

    Good news is that there are many drones under the weight limit that would trigger registration. Many of these now feature advanced flight features like altitude and position hold. That means inexperienced pilots, especially kids, can get into drone flying at an earlier age and with less frustration. Drones like the Parrot Mambo are around $100 and do not require FAA registration. It’s fast, nimble, and extremely stable. The included app can limit its flight characteristics, making it less likely for an inexperienced pilot to overcorrect while flying.

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