Category Archives: Regulations

U.S. announces drone registration requirement

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

The task force will be composed of 25 to 30 diverse representatives from the UAS and manned aviation industries, the federal government, and other stakeholders.  The group will advise the Department on which aircraft should be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk, including toys and certain other small UAS.  The task force also will explore options for a streamlined system that would make registration less burdensome for commercial UAS operators.

The task force may make additional safety recommendations as it deems appropriate.  Secretary Foxx directed the group to deliver its report by Nov. 20.

“Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” Foxx said.  “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”

Every day, the FAA receives reports of potentially unsafe UAS operations.  Pilot sightings of UAS doubled between 2014 and 2015.  The reports ranged from incidents at major sporting events and flights near manned aircraft, to interference with wildfire operations.

“These reports signal a troubling trend,” Huerta said.  “Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules and remain accountable to the public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly.  When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.”


South Korea to prevent drones from being operated near airports

The South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport reported that they started a program to ban drones from being operated near airports.

In partnership with a Chinese drone maker DJI the ministry will prevent drones from being operated within a 2 kilometer radius of South Korean airports.

DJI is a Chinese drone manufacturer that accounts for around 80 percent of the South Korean drone market.

The ministry stated that when users upgrade their drones’ operating system the program which controls the drones will prevent the drone from being operated near the 15 South Korean airports. The ministry plans to expand this change to other drone makers.

The government also plans to hold safety trainings for drone operators.

CAA updates guidance on drone operations in UK airspace

The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published an updated version of its guidance document “Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in UK Airspace” (CAP722).

Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in UK Airspace – Guidance, is intended to assist those who are involved in all aspects of the development of drones/UAS to identify the route to certification, outline the methods by which permission for aerial work may be obtained and ensure that all requirements are met by the UAS industry. The document highlights the safety requirements that have to be met before a UAS is allowed to operate in the UK.

UAE drafting new regulations to prohibit drone use near airports

The United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is drafting regulations and criteria for using drones in UAE skies.

The move comes Dubai Airport was briefly closed last month as a result of unauthorised use of recreational drones near the airport.

According to Arabian Business, under the regulations, drones are divided into three categories – low capacity drones (not exceeding 25kg in weight), mid-capacity drones (ranging from 25 kg to 150kg), and advanced capacity drones, exceeding 150kg. The licensing rules of the three categories of aircrafts will be laid down for individuals, companies, and the governmental sector.
The rules and regulations of drone use and operation will include directives prohibiting their use near airports, populated communities, and individuals as well as restricted areas. Furthermore, drones must be kept within the vision span of the user, and personal use must only be conducted at authorised facilities. Cameras and telecommunication devices are only allowed with the permission of authorised agencies.


FAA proposes new drone regulations, limiting flights to daylight and visual-line-of-sight operations

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a framework of regulations that would allow routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, in today’s aviation system, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future technological innovations.

The FAA proposal offers safety rules for small UAS (under 55 pounds / 25 kg) conducting non-recreational operations. The rule would limit flights to daylight and visual-line-of-sight operations. It also addresses height restrictions, operator certification, optional use of a visual observer, aircraft registration and marking, and operational limits.

The proposed rule also includes extensive discussion of the possibility of an additional, more flexible framework for “micro” UAS under 4.4 pounds (2 kg). The FAA is asking the public to comment on this possible classification to determine whether it should include this option as part of a final rule.

The proposed rule would require an operator to maintain visual line of sight of a small UAS. The rule would allow, but not require, an operator to work with a visual observer who would maintain constant visual contact with the aircraft. The operator would still need to be able to see the UAS with unaided vision (except for glasses). The FAA is asking for comments on whether the rules should permit operations beyond line of sight, and if so, what the appropriate limits should be.

Under the proposed rule, the person actually flying a small UAS would be an “operator.” An operator would have to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and obtain an FAA UAS operator certificate. To maintain certification, the operator would have to pass the FAA knowledge tests every 24 months. A small UAS operator would not need any further private pilot certifications (i.e., a private pilot license or medical rating).

The new rule also proposes operating limitations designed to minimize risks to other aircraft and people and property on the ground:

  • A small UAS operator must always see and avoid manned aircraft. If there is a risk of collision, the UAS operator must be the first to maneuver away.
  • The operator must discontinue the flight when continuing would pose a hazard to other aircraft, people or property.
  • A small UAS operator must assess weather conditions, airspace restrictions and the location of people to lessen risks if he or she loses control of the UAS.
  • A small UAS may not fly over people, except those directly involved with the flight.
  • Flights should be limited to 500 feet altitude and no faster than 100 mph.
  • Operators must stay out of airport flight paths and restricted airspace areas, and obey any FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs).

The proposed rule maintains the existing prohibition against operating in a careless or reckless manner. It also would bar an operator from allowing any object to be dropped from the UAS.

Operators would be responsible for ensuring an aircraft is safe before flying, but the FAA is not proposing that small UAS comply with current agency airworthiness standards or aircraft certification. For example, an operator would have to perform a preflight inspection that includes checking the communications link between the control station and the UAS. Small UAS with FAA-certificated components also could be subject to agency airworthiness directives.

The new rules would not apply to model aircraft.  However, model aircraft operators must continue to satisfy all of the criteria specified in Sec. 336 of Public Law 112-95, including the stipulation that they be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes. Generally speaking, the new rules would not apply to government aircraft operations, because we expect that these government operations will typically continue to actively operate under the Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) process unless the operator opts to comply with and fly under the new small UAS regulations.

In addition to this proposal, earlier today, the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum concerning transparency, accountability, and privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections for the Federal Government’s use of UAS in the national airspace system which directs the initiation of a multi-stakeholder engagement process to develop a framework for privacy, accountability, and transparency issues concerning commercial and private UAS use.

The current unmanned aircraft rules remain in place until the FAA implements a final new rule. The FAA encourages new operators to visit:

U.S. campaign urges new drone owners to fly safely

Drone industry and hobbyist groups, along with the FAA, launched an education campaign titled, “Know Before You Fly,” which provides prospective operators with information and guidance to fly safely and responsibly.

The organisations involved in the campaign are the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and the Small UAV Coalition in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In a statement, the groups said that the ease of acquiring these ‘unmanned aircraft systems’ (UAS) has led to a proliferation of unmanned flights, some of which are authorized and some of which are not.

“When it comes to unauthorized flights, many well-meaning individuals and prospective business operators want to fly and fly safely, but they don’t realize that, just because you can buy a UAS, doesn’t mean you can fly it anywhere, or for any purpose,” according to the groups.

The “Know before you fly” campaign plans to team up with drone manufacturers and distributors to inform consumers and businesses about what they need to know.

New York City Councilman wants to ban drones near airports

New York City Councilman Paul Vallone introduced a bill that would ban the private use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones within 5 miles of a New York City airport or close to schools and hospitals.

Under the proposed legislation, drones would also be prohibited from having weapons or being used for surveillance.

“New York City can regulate drones now without waiting for the FAA to update federal regulations or for a tragedy to happen,” according to Vallone.


Drone risks require more regulation, IATA chief says

The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Tony Tyler, told Reuters in an interview that the operation of drones near airports poses a risk for aircraft.

“… this is a new industry and it will have to share airspace with an existing established industry. With safety issues that it raises, there is a need for regulators to grasp this one and run with it,” he told Reuters.


FAA grants five more commercial drone exemptions

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted five regulatory exemptions for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations to four companies.

The four companies that received exemptions want to fly drones to perform operations for aerial surveying, construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections.

The commercial entities that received exemptions today are Trimble Navigation Limited, VDOS Global, LLC, Clayco, Inc. and Woolpert, Inc. (two exemptions). The FAA earlier granted exemptions to seven film and video production companies.

Secretary Foxx found that the UAS in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security. Those findings are permitted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

The firms also asked the FAA to grant exemptions from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates. In their petitions, the firms said they will operate UAS weighing less than 55 pounds and keep the UAS within line of sight at all times.

In granting the exemptions, the FAA considered the operating environments and required certain conditions and limitations to assure the safe operation of these UAS in the National Airspace System. The agency also will issue Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) that mandate flight rules and timely reports of any accident or incidents..

As of today, the agency has received 167 requests for exemptions from commercial entities.