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by   -   November 22, 2016
Drone in flight. Credit: CC0 Public Domain
Drone in flight. Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Over the last couple of years, we have seen an increase in state regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). A recent report published by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) titled “A Guide to State Laws Impacting UAS/UAV Operations” identifies the restriction of operations near critical infrastructure among the leading trends in state regulation of UAS. Notwithstanding the emergence of state regulation in this field, the enactment of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act, 2016 (the “Act”), indicates that Congress intends to vest the authority to protect critical infrastructure from UAS with the FAA. In light of this development, states that have enacted laws or are considering regulating in this field, should consult with the FAA in order to promote a unified national framework that addresses local concerns.

by   -   October 25, 2016
Drone flying over a field.
Drone flying over a field.

On July 15, 2016, Congress enacted the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act (the “Act”), which among other things, directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a process to enable applicants to petition the FAA Administrator to “prohibit or restrict the operation of an unmanned aircraft in close proximity to a fixed site facility.” Congress tasked the FAA with establishing a process for designating fixed site facilities no later than 180 days from the date of enactment. Below is an outline of the key problematic provisions in Section 2209 and a proposed path forward for establishing a process that meets the Congressional directive while not unnecessarily restricting industry.  

by   -   June 21, 2016

Aeryon_SkyRanger_drone_UAV

This morning, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released the highly anticipated rules governing the operation of small UAS (sUAS) for commercial purposes.  The new rules are scheduled to take effect in late August – until that time, commercial operators may continue to operate under Section 333 exemptions.  As expected, Part 107 generally follows the proposed rules that were contained in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that was issued by the FAA in February 2015.

DC Drone Day 2016 at Walt Good Field on May 7, 2016. Photos by Dan Gettinger.
DC Drone Day 2016 at Walt Good Field on May 7, 2016. Photo by Dan Gettinger.

By Dan Gettinger

On May 7, 2016, a group of model aircraft hobbyists gathered at Walt Good Field in Boyds, Maryland to celebrate the D.C. Drone Day. The small airfield, situated some 22 miles outside of Washington, D.C., where rows of suburban housing developments transition abruptly to farmland, is home to D.C. Radio Control, a 65-year-old association of local hobbyists and a charter club of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). Across the country, other model aircraft clubs took part in similar events to mark the second annual International Drone Day.

by   -   December 16, 2015

Register_Now_Drone_FAA_UAV_UAS

The FAA has ruled that everyone who flies a drone must register. Since an estimated 700,000 drones are expected to be sold in the U.S. for the holiday gift-giving season, the registration process is streamlined and will be online as of December 21.

Washington_ADIZ-FRZ_No_Fly_ZoneWith the holiday season approaching, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that up to one million new drones will be entering U.S. airspace, creating potentially dangerous situations for unmanned and manned aircraft. A new study released by The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College offers a comprehensive examination of incidents involving drones and manned aircraft in the national airspace over the past two years.

by   -   November 24, 2015

Task_Force_Registration_Drone_DOT_FAA

After the Task Force agreed that it was outside the scope of their objectives to debate or discuss the DOT Secretary’s decision to require registration, they undertook to develop and recommend a registration process that ensures accountability and encourages a maximum level of compliance. Here are their recommendations.

by   -   October 30, 2015
October 19, 2015. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announces unmanned aircraft registration requirement.
October 19, 2015. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announces unmanned aircraft registration requirement.

Following informal reports on Friday, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) officially announced yesterday the creation of a task force that will guide the development of a registration process for recreational UAVs. Until now, only commercial drone users were required to register their aircraft with the FAA. The task force, comprising representatives from government and industry stakeholders, has until November 20 to deliver its report. UPDATE 30/10/2015  FAA announces UAS Registration Task Force members. 

by   -   October 21, 2015
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (South Korea). Source: Minseong Kim via Wikimedia Commons
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (South Korea). Source: Minseong Kim via Wikimedia Commons

The South Korean government funded Samsung $14.8M to develop and manufacture industrial robots; the US FDA just gave approval to Corindus Vascular Robotics for a new medical device; and the US FAA set up a task force and put them on a tight deadline to figure out how to register drone owners.

by   -   September 21, 2015
Quadrocopter drone
Quadrocopter drone

In May 2014, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began accepting petitions for exemptions to operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) commercially in civilian airspace. As of 1 September 2015, 1,407 of 2,650 petitions have been approved.

by   -   September 1, 2015

drone_target_law_mark_arrow_UAVLast week, the California state Assembly approved Senate Bill 142 which, if adopted, would restrict drone operators from flying below 350 feet above ground level (AGL) over real property unless they obtain the owner’s permission. The Bill passed on a 43-11 vote and will proceed to the Governor who will have an opportunity to veto it. Although the intent of the Bill – the protection of privacy – merits pursuit, the Bill as amended on June 30th is problematic in multiple respects and should be denied passage.

by   -   March 17, 2015

Sky_Futures_FAA_Exemption_SUAV_Coalition

Sky-Futures, a UK-based company offering drone inspection services to the global oil and gas industry, through their Houston office, was awarded an FAA exemption allowing their drones to fly in US air space.

by   -   March 3, 2015

Here is a breakdown of the Canadian approach to risk management for nighttime flights…

Various aspects of the anticipated proposed small UAS (sUAS) regulations that were released by the FAA draw inspiration from Canada’s approach to regulation.

photo: FAA
photo: FAA

This past Sunday the FAA held a conference call to announce its highly anticipated small UAS (sUAS) regulations. Sunday morning might strike as odd timing, however it’s likely that the timing had to do with the leak of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regulatory Evaluation, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which I wrote about here. Below is a summary of the critical aspects of the proposed regulations from the FAA summary (the proposed rules have not been made available at the time of writing).



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