Unmanned Aviation Systems

Legal Waypoints for hiring a Drone

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could get a drone to take a photo or video of our [you fill in the blank: construction project; outdoor wedding; home for sale; public concert; football game; cell tower; farm field …].”  A quick search online finds several local drone operators claiming they are ready, willing, and able to meet your needs.  Sounds easy enough, but here are some questions you should be asking before you hire a drone operator:

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FAA streamlines UAS flight – bridge to new rules

Life for UAS operators just got a bit easier.  The FAA has issued a bridge between the current cumbersome system of Section 333 exemptions with airspace block specific Certificates of Authority (COAs) and the eventual final form of the recently released “new rules” that are still in the comment period.

The interim policy does not tract the technical parameters of the proposed new rules.  Instead the bridge seeks to grant a blanket COA for UAS operators who have a valid exemption under Section 333 so that the operator no longer needs an individual COA for a specific block of airspace.  The blanket COA will have more restrictive technical parameters than the proposed new rules.

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FAA’s Proposed UAS Rules – a missed opportunity.

The FAA issued the much awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems on February 15, 2015.  The proposed rules are described by the trade associations and other industry commentators as “flexible”, “a good first step”, and “lenient”.  This is mostly good news for those seeking to use drones in a commercial setting – keeping in mind the rules are just proposed at this time and are not currently in force.  Today you still cannot fly a drone for commercial use without an FAA exemption.  So far the FAA has granted only 24 Section 333 exemptions from a total of 342 application requests.

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RELEASE THE DRONES – Commercial UAVs Take-Off

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) moved quickly to appeal an unexpected decision that opens a legal window you can fly a commercial drone through.  It seems the FAAs historical accommodation for hobby model aircraft has aligned with the lack of regulations for the commercial use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to free the drones – at least for a while.

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – tech outpaces law

Nearly a day goes by without a news story about aerial drones performing extraordinary feats of skill as they buzz overhead from place to place.  Whether it’s delivery of medicine to remote locations, inspecting hard to access bridges or assisting first responders in emergencies, the manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are turning concepts into reality.  Commercialization of UAV technology is not a pie in the sky promise for some future decade.  The technology is here today and poised for take-off.  That is as soon as the UAV industry and the FAA get a grip on the wide array of concerns that are keeping commercial UAVs from taking flight.

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