After announcing a multi-city domestic drone research project with the aim of establishing a regulatory framework for domestic drone use, the FAA has finally released new guidance and are asking for public comment.
The full framework and an executive summary are now available for interested parties to read and submit public comment on. The White House also released a densely worded press release announcing the framework existed as part of its Friday newsdump. The public comment period is a short 60 day window.
Based on an initial read of the rules, it appears that the multi-city research effort has yielded some positive results. The FAA recognizes the variety of drones in the market already, from the government-grade “Reaper” variety to the cuddlier Quadcopter of droning while drunk fame. A traditional pilots license won’t be required for most of the domestic drones that are popular with hobbyists. Airworthiness will also not be a requirement.
The age limit requires pilots to be at least 17 years old.
The TSA will also have to vet an individual who wants to be a drone pilot, and a basic test on aviation principals will be required.
There are some vague requirements about how to handle flying a drone outside the pilot’s line of site. The way these provisions are written may require drone pilots to also use a spotter or limit where and when they fly drones. There is also a self-assessment rule, which says that a drone pilot shouldn’t fly if they know they have a physical or mental disability, this could potentially use some additional clarification if someone is found to be using a drone to stalk someone else, for example.
For interested individuals, the public comment form is available here. Don’t drone and drink.