The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finally come up with proposal of rules that will allow access to the sky to small commercial drones even though most of these rules were already leaked earlier this weekend. These rules have been described as straightforward as and “more lenient than expected”. However, the strictness of the rules seems to make it almost impossible to have the drones operate the way certain companies like Amazon had envisioned.
The basic rules apply to the drones less than 55 pounds. The pilots are required to pass a knowledge test in order to obtain newly developed drone operating license, which can be kept valid only through taking recurrent tests every 24 months. A pilot has to be at least 17 years & can fly a drone only at daytime & must keep an eye on the drone at all times.
Commercial drones will be flying under 500 feet with a speed no more than 100 mph. Drones have to be registered with FAA & visibility must be over 3 miles. Flight over people are, however, prohibited
In his announcement recently, Michael Huerta said, “We have tried to be flexible in writing these rules.
“We want to maintain today’s outstanding level of aviation safety without placing an undue regulatory burden on an emerging industry”.
However, as said earlier, the rules may make it impractical to operate any delivery drones like the ones Amazon had proposed. Amazon’s vice principal of Global Public Policy, Mr. Paul Misener said in an email, “the FAA’s proposed rules for small UAS could take one or two years to be adopted and, based on the proposal, even then those rules wouldn’t allow Prime Air to operate in the United States.
“The FAA needs to begin and expeditiously complete the formal process to address the needs of our business, and ultimately our customers. We are committed to realizing our vision for Prime Air and are prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need.”
It will still take a long time before these proposed rules become a reality & may even change before they do so.