US Moves Toward Opening Skies For Commercial Drones

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The U.S. air safety regulator is drafting rules to permit small drones to be used for commercial purposes, a step toward allowing remote-control planes and helicopters to be deployed for everything from TV news coverage to monitoring crops.

The FAA told Reuters that rules for small drones are “being drafted and will be issued for comment later this year.”

This comes after a long term ban had been placed on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

Finalizing the regulations, however, could take several years, in part because they involve numerous FAA offices and other agencies, such as the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security.

“Until the final rule is issued, which is going to be years from now, the exemption process is the only game in town,” Ellett said.

Twelve companies have petitioned the FAA to be exempt from the commercial drones ban,

Including, film companies, Drone maker Trimble Navigation Ltd and Yamaha Motor Corp.

“Rules for small drones are likely to require the remote-control pilot and the plane to be certified under standards unique to small UAS. The planes also must weigh less than 55 pounds (25 kg), stay within the line of sight of the pilot, and keep at least 5 miles (8 km) away from airports.”

“Media companies are particularly keen on drones since they are cheaper than manned aircraft and can provide a wider range of footage. As drones gain in sophistication, news organizations are eager to use them to supply a richer picture of unfolding events, from weather catastrophes to burning buildings and protests.”

“It doesn’t take a lot of skill to get cinema-grade footage of an event for ,000 or less,” said Matt Waite, founder of the Drone Journalism Lab and a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


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“US Moves Toward Opening Skies For Commercial Drones”