The FAA has announced new rules for the small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry that will go into effect in August 2016.
These regulations (Part 107) apply to non-hobbyist drones that weigh less than 55kg, fly below 400 feet and at speeds below 100mph.
Under the new rules, UAS pilots will no longer require a manned aircraft license but instead can gain certification from the FAA. The FAA will manage a written in-person UAV-specific test at multiple testing centers. Additionally, an FAA airworthiness certification of a drone is not required. This opens the door for many more people to pilot UAVs and has been linked to the potential for over 100,000 new jobs to be created over 10 years.
Previously all commercial UAV operations required a Section 333 exemption which was a lengthy process that could take many months. Part 107 eases many of these restrictions and also provides a new online portal to request further exemptions. UAVs are still restricted to flying within the operator’s visual line of sight, not directly over people and only during daylight.
Alta Devices welcomes this new ruling as a positive step in establishing a clear regulatory framework that will help accelerate the uptake of UAV technology in emergency services, agriculture, communications, construction and many other industries. Manufacturers in these and many other industries are evaluating the use of our solar cells as a way to extend UAV flight endurance and we look forward to continuing to work with them.
New rules (PART 107) are listed here: https://www.faa.gov/uas/