What do federal laws say on using small drones for commercial purpose?
The federal rules governing the flight of drones, became effective on August 29, 2016 and will be administered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Generally, rules permit commercial operation of small drones weighing 55 pounds or less during daylight hours not higher than four hundred feet above the ground. The drone operator must be at least 16 years of age and have a FAA issued remote pilot airmen’s certificate. In addition, there are limitations, (like everything else) one should know about:
- The maximum ground speed may not exceed 100 mph
- If operator of the drone does not hold certificate, they must be under supervision of someone who does have the FAA certificate
- The operator may not fly drone from a moving vehicle, unless drone is being flown over a sparsely populated area.
- It is important to know that drones may not operate over any persons directly participating in the operation, and this is why it is important you seek a waiver for this rule if flying in urban area.
As of now the written test for drone pilot certificates had not been drafted, however commercial drone pilots will need a basic understanding of air-space and flight regulation, safety procedures, and flight risk management.
It is important to check that some local ordinances governing the commercial drone flights might already be in place. Generally speaking drone operators must comply with any local regulations, even if they stricter than federal rules. Keep in mind that all drones weighing more 0.55 pounds are already subject to a registration requirement where a unique number must be affixed to the drone.
Tips: If you are flying drones commercially, get your certificate, and follow the rules. Consult with your attorney and your insurers. If you hire someone to provide drone flight services, make sure the operator is certified and insured.