FAA Finalizes Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

2016-06-21

FAA Finalizes Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Today, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has finalized the firstoperational rulesfor routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”), opening pathways towards fully integrating UAS into the nations airspace. These new regulations work to harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives.

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, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. We look forward to working with the aviation community to support innovation, while maintaining our standards as the safest and most complex airspace in the world.

According to industry estimates, the rule could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.

The new rule, which takes effect in late August, offers safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations.

The rules provisions are designed to minimize risks to other aircraft and people and property on the ground. The regulations require pilots to keep an unmanned aircraft within visual line of sight. Operations are allowed during daylight and during twilight if the drone has anti-collision lights. The new regulations also address height and speed restrictions and other operational limits, such as prohibiting flights over unprotected people on the ground who arent directly participating in the UAS operation.

The FAA is offering a process to waive some restrictions if an operator proves the proposed flight will be conducted safely under a waiver. The FAA will make an online portal available to apply for these waivers in the months ahead.

With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach that balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAAs mission to protect public safety, said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. But this is just our first step. Were already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations.

Under the final rule, 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. To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, an individual 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 qualifying under the latter provision, a pilot must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and must take a UAS online training course provided by the FAA. The TSA will conduct a security background check of all remote pilot applications prior to issuance of a certificate.

Operators are responsible for ensuring a drone is safe before flying, but the FAA is not requiring small UAS to comply with current agency airworthiness standards or aircraft certification. Instead, the remote pilot will simply have to perform a preflight visual and operational check of the small UAS to ensure that safety-pertinent systems are functioning property. This includes checking the communications link between the control station and the UAS.

Although the new rule does not specifically deal with privacy issues in the use of drones, and the FAA does not regulate how UAS gather data on people or property, the FAA is acting to address privacy considerations in this area. The FAA strongly encourages all UAS pilots to check local and state laws before gathering information through remote sensing technology or photography.

As part of a privacy education campaign, the agency will provide all drone users with recommended privacy guidelines as part of the UAS registration process and through the FAAs B4UFly mobile app. The FAA also will educate all commercial drone pilots on privacy during their pilot certification process; and will issue new guidance to local and state governments on drone privacy issues. The FAAs effort builds on the privacy best practices the National Telecommunications and Information Administration published last month as the result of a year-long outreach initiative with privacy advocates and industry.

Part 107 will not apply to model aircraft. Model aircraft operators must continue to satisfy all the criteria specified in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (which will now be codified in part 101), including the stipulation they be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes.



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Northrop Grumman Aims To Take On Predator

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After decades of enjoying a virtually uncontested lead in the medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial systems (UAS) market, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems may finally be facing some competition.

The Terminators: drone strikes prompt MoD to ponder ethics of killer robots

2011-04-21
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Analysis of unmanned aircraft in combat urges Britain to establish policy on 'acceptable machine behaviour'.
The growing use of unmanned aircraft in combat situations raises huge moral and legal issues, and threatens to make war more likely as armed robots take over from human beings, according to an internal study by the Ministry of Defence.

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While few would dispute that unmanned air systems have transformed military aviation during the past decade, it is looking increasingly certain that the coming 10 years will see huge change in unmanned air vehicles themselves. It would not be excessive to call the next couple of years a genuine watershed in the development of UAVs.

UCAS-D is on track with X-47B

2011-02-19
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February 4, 2011The Northrop Grumman-built U.S. Navy X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft successfully completed its historic first flight at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Unblinking eye in the sky

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The next generation surveillance package for the Air Force's MQ-9 Reaper drones, named for Medusa's stony glare, will provide an unprecedentedly broad view of the battlefield spanning time and space

Sikorskys Optionally Piloted Black Hawk

2011-02-18
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The crew, at the end of their duty time, switch the helicopter to unmanned mode and disembark. The Black Hawk searches for and connects to the nearest ground control station, accepts the preprogrammed mission and takes off to find and pick up its first load.

China Developing Armed/Recon UAVs

2011-02-18
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China is ramping up production of unmanned aerial vehicles in an apparent bid to catch up with the U.S. and Israel in developing technology that is considered the future of military aviation.
Western defense officials and experts were surprised to see more than 25 different Chinese models of the unmanned aircraft


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