Earlier this month, Elaine L. Chao, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, announced two upcoming proposals at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. These proposals, created by the Federal Aviation Administration, would update the regulations regarding the operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones. The proposed rulemaking would amend the current drone regulations in 14 CFR Part 107. The rules aim to further reduce risks to public safety and national security.
The first proposal regulates the flight of small drones at night, which is not currently allowed by the FAA without a waiver. The rule would permit night flight without a waiver provided that "the operator has received appropriate training, completed approved testing, and if the drone is equipped with anti-collision lighting." The proposal also amends the current ban on flights over people. The rule would allow drones to fly over people without a waiver depending on the level of risk to people on the ground.
The second proposal asks for the public's response to questions regarding safety and security as they relate to UAS and the National Airspace System. This includes the threat of drone flight to other aircraft, to people on the ground, and to national security.
The full proposals will be posted in the Federal Register. See the register for directions on submitting comments or recommendations. Comments are accepted for 60 days after publication.
Interested in learning more about Drone Law? Register for our upcoming CLE. The class will cover current drone regulations, including Pennsylvania’s first set of criminal penalties for the unlawful use of unmanned aircraft.