New Rules For Commercial Drones Could Expand Local Opportunities

By Philip A. Vanno
Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Remote-controlled flying drones are growing in popularity. And now, thanks to changes in commercial drone law, we could see them being used for even more services, like product delivery.

Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y.

If you never thought you’d live to see the day when an order of chicken riggies could be delivered to your doorstep by a remote-controlled flying drone, you could be in for a surprise.

Changes to a Federal Aviation Administration law that went into effect at the end of August have eased restrictions on the commercial use of small unmanned aircraft and could be altering the way local businesses and agencies utilize them.

Previously, operators had to apply for special waivers from the FAA to use drones for business, which could — depending on the situation — be a time-consuming and expensive process.

Commercial operators also no longer will be required to obtain a pilot license, but will have to pass a written test.

“The current FAA scheme requires commercial drone operators to spend months waiting for an exemption and to employ a pilot with a manned aircraft license from the FAA,” a spokesperson for worldwide commercial drone maker DJI said in a statement.

“Those high barriers to entry have prevented many companies from exploring the benefits of drones in their industry, and have been a source of frustration for business owners for years.”

While they still need to apply for waivers if they want to fly drones at night, higher than 400 feet or in other specific situations, the rule changes will allow the unmanned aerial vehicles to more easily be used for an aerial perspective on things such as construction, surveying, agriculture, firefighting, search and rescue, conservation, academic research, film and video production.

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