The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed regulations that would allow “routine” use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, for applications, including in filmmaking.
At this point, drones can’t be used in U.S. airspace without a regulatory exemption. In recent months, the FAA granted such exemptions to several aerial production companies, but Hollywood and other industries have been hoping for new rules.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking outlines safety rules for drones under 55 pounds 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.
Calling the proposal a “critical milestone” and “long overdue,” Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said in a statement: “UAS technology has largely remained grounded while many prospective users wait for the regulatory framework to catch up. This is a good first step in an evolutionary process that brings us closer to realizing the many societal and economic benefits of UAS technology. … It’s important that the final rule enables the many civil and commercial uses for UAS technology in a safe and responsible manner and without being unnecessarily restrictive.”
The public may comment on the proposed regulations for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. Public meetings are being planned.
The proposed rule also includes the possibility of an additional framework for “micro” UAS under 4.4 pounds.