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06.22.2016 FAA Issues Final Rule for Businesses to Use Drones By: Kevin D. Pomfret & Robert E. Korroch

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued its final rule on how businesses may use small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), often referred to as drones. The rule, which will be commonly known as Part 107, is expected to take effect in late August, will make it much easier for the wide range of businesses that wish to use UAS in their operations. For example, the FAA will no longer require operators of UAS to be certified pilots. Instead, operators will be required to pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at FAA-approved sites and apply for a remote pilot certificate or be directly supervised by someone with a remote pilot certificate. In addition, businesses will not be required to go through the lengthy Section 333 exemption process for routine operations.

Another important development is that the final rule also allows businesses to seek waivers from current restrictions, such as beyond visual line-of-sight operations, nighttime operations, and operations over people not participating in the activity. These waivers will be issued on a case-by-case basis and likely will serve as the foundation for future rules allowing broader and more permissive operations.

A copy of the FAA press release with links to the final rules and a helpful summary can be found here