unmanned drone operators

Agri View: Drone Rules

Dan Agri View, General, Technology

unmanned droneEverett Griner talks about rules set for drone use by the FAA in today’s Agri View.

Drone Rules

Farmers who have been waiting for the rules to be established to operate drones can start making their plans now. Those rules are set to go into effect this month. Time doesn’t permit me to cover all of them but basically here is what you need to know to start with. You have to be sixteen years old. You must have a remote pilot certificate with small craft rating. Operation is allowed during daylight hours up until twilight. Provided your craft is equipped with lights. And you must keep you craft in within sight at all times. This is not all you have to know, but, it is the basic requirements to remain legal. It goes without saying that safety is paramount in the operation of drones. It is not a toy. It is not to be used for entertainment nor pleasure. Violating rules can carry stiff penalties, so, good luck. And, I’ll cover some other rules a little later.

That’s Agri View for today. I’m Everett Griner.

From: Federal Aviation Administration

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has finalized the first operational rules (PDF) for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”), opening pathways towards fully integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace. These new regulations work to harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives.

“We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We look forward to working with the aviation community to support innovation, while maintaining our standards as the safest and most complex airspace in the world.”

According to industry estimates, the rule could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.

The new rule, which takes effect in late August, offers safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations.

Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107)

Operational Limitations

  • Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).
  • Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS. Alternatively, the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the visual observer.
  • At all times the small unmanned aircraft must remain close enough to the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS for those people to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.
  • Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary vehicle.
  • Daylight-only operations, or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting.
  • Must yield right of way to other aircraft.
  • May use visual observer (VO) but not required.
  • First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement but can be used as long as requirement is satisfied in other ways.
  • Maximum groundspeed of 100 mph (87 knots).
  • Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a structure.
  • Minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from control station.
  • Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission.

Read more Operational Limitations and the remainder of the Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107). (.pdf)

The NEW Small UAS Rule (Part 107), including all pilot and operating rules, will be effective on August 29, 2016. For more detailed information, please see:

Need more information? Read about how to fly a UAS for your work or business.