droneIn a welcome response to requests from many industries including the real estate industry, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a final operational rule for the use of commercial drones. You can perform an aviation search here for the full the details, but to sum it up it will be taking effect late August 2016, and the rule applies to drones weighing less than 55 pounds and requires a remote pilot airman certificate. To obtain the certificate, you must be at least 16 years old and either:
  1. Pass an initial FAA–approved aeronautical knowledge test, or
  2. Hold an existing non–student Part 61 pilot certificate, complete a flight review within the previous 24 months, and complete an FAA–provided small unmanned aircraft (UAS) online training course.
Among other restrictions, UAS pilots must keep the UAS within the visual line–of–sight, observe speed and height restrictions, and not fly the UAS over people who are not part of the UAS operation. Together with the rule, the FAA has issued an information fact sheet. This appears to be the FAA’s first step in facilitating greater drone use. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said “With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach that balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAA’s mission to protect public safety. But this is just our first step. We’re already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations.”