The U.S. commercial drone community gets back to business

Aug 2016 | No Comment

Professionals can now employ the technology without fear of running into regulatory trouble

Patrick Egan

Editor, the Americas desk for and Professor of Broadcast TV and Motion Picture Drone Production at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California

14 CFR Part 107 give’s us legal and level access to the NAS (National Airspace System). Sure, you could jump through all of the arbitrary hoops to get a Sec. 333 exemption but in reality, the best estimates had about 10% of holders being in regulatory compliance. FAR 107 put’s the onus on the drone PIC (Pilot In Command), welcome to the aviation community. As of August 29th you will able to test for a remote pilot certifi cate, fly to an altitude of 400’ AGL during daylight hours fi ve miles from an airport at speeds less than 100 miles an hour. There are other details and stipulations in AC 107- 2. I would suggest doing a search for the document or visiting

The U.S. drone folks have been operating in a gray-market blue-sky environment. The national regulatory picture has been cloudy since 2007 when the FAA issued its policy clarifi cation regarding UAS. People would claim that they were just amateurs and hobbyists innovators, or that the FAA had no jurisdiction over drones for a whole host of supposedly plausible reasons. Well, the naysaying and feigning intentions for flying and confusion is over.

We’ve heard the promise of drones and wild forecast for drone industry valuation, proliferation and salary estimates. Most of those statements and claims were unsubstantiated and were made without interviewing professionals in many of those industries that drones supposedly held the most promise. Everyone can understand and account for a plus or minus factor, but some of the estimates thrown around left a wide margin between potential and reality. The reality part challenges the licensed drone operators to prove some of the tall claims made heretofore.

Sure, many industries will benefit as drones have always held promise for self-guided data collection as well as complementing existing businesses that can add new services for their clients. Professionals can now employ the technology without fear of running into regulatory trouble. That said, the regulatory burden was always the wildcard we’d have to contend with, but now we have a rule, and it is favorable, and it is time for the commercial drone community to show what good they can do.

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