Yesterday, on a Sunday, right after Valentine’s Day, in the middle of a holiday weekend, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration decided to announce the long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), governing the operation of drones under 55 pounds (25 kilograms). We’ve been watching the FAA take swings at commercial UAS rules for a while, usually cringing as they do, even as commercial drone operators desperately plead for reasonable procedures under which they can legally run their businesses.
The worry has always been that the FAA would attempt to over-regulate, requiring things like airworthiness certificates for drones and pilot’s licenses for drone operators and all manner of other restrictions that would make it a lot harder for people to use UAS. It seems that the FAA has been listening, though, and the agency’s proposed rules for UAS show a level of openness, restraint, and general not-that-bad-ness that’s a pleasant surprise.
Having said that, there’s still a lot of important stuff to understand whether you fly big-ish or small-ish drones. We have all the proposed rules, along with some analysis of the sticking points of the current proposal, after the jump.