What You Need to Know About the Proposed sUAV Rules

Over the weekend, the FAA took a huge step towards legalizing commercial drone flights. When releasing the proposed rules for small Unmanned Aerial Systems, we were thrilled to hear FAA Administrator Michael Huerta say that the FAA and DOT are committed to building the most flexible regulatory system in the world.

At PrecisionHawk, we are confident that these proposed rules are appropriately aligned with the needs of our clients. This is great start for the integration of safe and reliable systems into the US Airspace.

For your information, we have compiled some of our takeaways as well as a list of relevant documents [below] that will assist in your understanding of this NPRM. Always feel free to contact us at info@precisionhawk.com with additional questions. We are excited about what this step forward will mean for all the commercial industries that we work in.

While there are still some items we plan to address in our feedback to the FAA, such as VLOS [visual line of sight] and day-only operations, we are pleased with the majority of the proposed rules such as:

  1. No airworthiness certificate required: This was unexpected, but a very positive addition to the proposed rules.
  2. No pilot’s license required-only a written knowledge test: This is important and something we were hoping for. We specifically built our framework  with ‘ease of use’ at the forefront of our mind.
  3. Ability to fly up to 500 ft with aircraft up to 55lbs: We believe this is the optimal height for capturing the most accurate data for orthomosaic stitching.


Here are a few other ‘good things’:

  • No spectrum or radio communication requirement
  • No exemption application process will be required: However, we will remain committed to safe operations in compliance with our internal safety guidelines.
  • May Use Visual Observer (VO), but not required: Sending out one operator instead of two, which has been a requirement to date, is more economically efficient.
  • Operators may be 17 year olds and up: Allowing companies the ability to use entry level employees or interns to perform flights also owing to economic advantages.


How can you get involved?

The public will have 60 days to provide comments on the proposed rules. Feedback from commercial markets, that many of you all work in such as agriculture, energy and insurance, will be invaluable to shaping a rule we can all benefit from. Be assured that we are working with colleagues across the industry to push for regulations that can keep up with this rapidly evolving technology.