On June 21, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a fact sheet and the updated regulations in Part 107. Every drone owner and seller needs to read Part 107 .This blog entry is a basic primer.
The new rules clarify and define non-hobbyist aircraft as unmanned aircrafts (UAS), weighing less than fifty-five pounds. They are denominated as “Small Unmanned Aircrafts.” Operators MUST avoid manned aircrafts: Right of way issues always required a drone operator to yield flight path priority to manned aircraft. According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, this final rule opens "...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.” It also begins a new area of legal definition by setting the mandatory standard of operation as “…never operate in a careless or reckless manner.” Careless and / or reckless definitions vary from state to state and from one federal jurisdiction to another.
Part 107 requires an operator to:
- Maintain visual line-of-sight monitoring. Use of binoculars is not permitted to bring the visual operator within the meaning of the rule “within sight.”
- Use of “First Person View,” which requires a spotter at all times who must maintain visual contact at all times, in the form of an unaided line-of-sight visual contact.
- Small UAS operations can only be done during daylight hours. Daylight hours are defined as thirty minutes before local sunrise, up until thirty minutes after local time sunset.
- Maximum allowable altitude operation is below four hundred feet.
- Minimum visual line of sight is three miles unaided.
- Maximum speed is one hundred miles per hour.
- Height regulations apply for operations near buildings and structures (see Rule).
- You cannot fly over or above any person who is not the operator or spotter.
- You cannot operate a UAS inside a covered stationary vehicle.
- You cannot launch, land or operate a UAS from a moving vehicle in a populated area.
- Operating in a Class “G” space required air traffic control permission.
- Operating in a Class B,C, D, and E airspace requires ATC approval (See Chapter 14 in the FAA’s Pilot Handbook).
- Loads must be secured or attached.
For more information, review the additional sources below and consult with an attorney whose practice is in drone law.