New Federal Commercial UAV (Drone) Laws

Sep. 1, 2016

New federal commercial UAV law took effect in the United States, Monday, August 29. The new regulations are designed to minimize risk to aircraft, people and property on the ground, and will not affect recreation usage. Here are some of the changes:

  • Commercial flyers will need a remote pilot certificate and a Transportation Security Administration background check.
  • All drones must be registered before they are flown.


Waivers: Restriction waivers can be applied for when operation does not quite comply with this regulation, however, you will still need to prove flight will be conducted safely under the waiver.

Airspace Authorization: UAVs can be operated in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace without prior air traffic control authorization, but operation in other airspaces need air traffic approval. Applications should be submitted at least 90 days prior to flight in controlled airspace.

Aeronautical Knowledge Test: Testing centers can now administer the aeronautical knowledge test required under this regulation. After passing the test, you must complete an FAA Airman Certificate and/or rating application to receive your remote pilot certificate.

These regulations will mean a boom for the geospatial industry especially as new sensor and drone technology improves. How do you envision UAVs affecting the industry? Write your comments below.

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