Drones and unmanned aerial aircraft for personal and professional use are booming in popularity, and as they do so, regulations to match this growing fleet are becoming more common. Small unmanned aircraft (UAS) have developed rules via Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) orders only recently. However, keeping up with these ongoing policies is critical for anyone involved in UAS mapping, as well as general UAS users. On August 29th, 2016, Part 107, or the New Small UAS rule, formally came into effect. On staff, ACA has two expert UAS users adept at all of the rules and highly-functional in all of the unit’s critical systems.
The exact specifications of the rule were explained in a whopping 624-page publication released by the FAA in conjunction with the Department of Transportation (DOT). But before you clear out your fall reading list to absorb this magnum opus, below are some highlights and vital things you should know in regards to this newly adopted set of rules. Anyone working with UAS technology needs to have these rules in mind, and this is particularly true of professionals in UAS fields. It should be noted that many of the things covered in Part 107 were already on the books. These guidelines are an expansion of previous regulations in some ways.
Important Part 107 rules:
- Aircraft must be registered with the FAA if under 55-pounds. UAS over this limit need a separate N-number registration.
- Pilots must be 16 years or older and have passed an FAA aeronautical test. Check out this website for more information on the test.
- Flight restrictions include:
- No UAS flying over 400-feet.
- Nighttime flying is restricted, with dusk and dawn being the cutoff time frames.
- The UAS must be in the visible range to operator, even in the case of 1st person onboard camera technology.
- The maximum UAS speed is 100 m.p.h.
- UAS under part 107 are not allowed to fly over citizens not participating in an activity related to the UAS.
- UAS must be made available for inspection upon request by the FAA.
- Accidents must be reported within 10 days if there is property damage, outside of the UAS, above $500, or any injury to person (s).
- There are waivers available for some uses of UAS that fall within the rules of part 107. Check with the FAA for more details.
- Part 107 is taken very seriously. Failure to register UAS under part 107 leads to civil fines through the FAA up of to $27,500 and criminal fines, as well as possible jail time, up to $250,000.
Industry estimates, cited by the FAA, predict that UAS technology may generate $82 billion dollars within the U.S. economy over the next decade, as well as add 100,000 jobs. With these figures in mind, and the expanding field of UAS mapping, it would be wise to continue to keep up with regulations and policies as they evolve.
ACA is a full survey services firm which also includes certain aerial mapping. Our two on-staff UAS experts add to an elite team and offices nationwide; ACA can assist with many logistical aerial issues and questions. Contact us today for more information at 407-851-7880, or you can contact us online.