Drone entrepreneurs face “colossal mess” under planned FAA law

Gigaom

The FAA’s long-awaited rules for drones are finally ready, and they spell bad news for the many businesses and organizations that had hoped the agency would give up its hard-line approach to unmanned aircraft.

The rules are intended to replace current ones that let hobbyists use drones (which can weigh as little as two pounds) but forbid commercial use — such as news photography or search-and-rescue — without a special waiver that the FAA rarely grants. The new rules will open the door to more business uses but, according to the Wall Street Journal, the planned law includes serious restrictions such as:

  • Requiring drone operators to have the same commercial pilots’ license as those required for airplanes
  • Applying the same rules to all drones under 55 pounds, including the popular Phantom models that weigh under 3 pounds
  • Allowing only daytime flights within direct sight of the operator, and that remain under 400 feet

The planned rules…

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