Commercial Droners: Button Up Big Time for These Strict New Drone Laws
The FAA's new drone regulations limit night flying and place a heavy emphasis on sightlines.
Gone are the days of drone piloting with abandon, of honeymooning with your drone into the wee hours of the night. Yesterday, the FAA announced new regulations that are significantly less lax than those that preceded it. If you operate a drone, you're going to want to listen carefully.
The FAA's new 624-page rulebook dictates that most small commercial drones may only fly during daylight hours. Additionally, operators are required to get certified every two years—a process that includes passing an aeronautics test and a background check by the TSA.
Some of the new rules have interesting caveats. Although drones must remain within sight of operators, the FAA states that it is also acceptable for the aircraft to remain within sight of an observer who is in communication with the actual operator. And drones cannot fly higher than 400 feet—unless you fly them within 400 feet of a tall building or tower.
USA Today drew up some useful infographics to help make sense of the rules:
Check out all the best drone shots from 2016 in one video.