|Back in February, we learned the Loudon County Emergency Management
director was able to purchased a small drone with grant money. There
were high hopes for the use of the drone from missing persons searches
to monitoring hazardous spills to search and rescue missions. Alas, it
doesn't appear that's going to happen.
While you or me or any ten year
old could fly our drones pretty much how we wanted to, the FAA
regulations on government operation of even small drones, is so onerous
and the permits and costs so high, it pretty much prohibits a small
county like ours from operating a drone. I understand the drone is up
for sale now.
So I guess for now, we'll just have to keep handling emergency
situations the old fashion way.
Anybody want to buy a barely used drone?
Below are some of the new rules.
Drones must be under 55 pounds
Flights must take place during daylight hours
Flights must take place within visual line of sight of the
Operators may work with a visual observer, but the operator
still must be able to maintain visual line of sight
The drone must be registered and aircraft markings are required
Operators must be 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge
test, hold an FAA UAS operator certificate, and pass a TSA
Aeronautical knowledge testing must be renewed every 24 months
(no private pilot license or medical rating would be required)
Operators must ensure their aircraft is safe for flight, but
there are no burdensome airworthiness standards or certification
requirements (a preflight
inspection conducted by the operator, checking communications links
and equipment will be sufficient)
Operators must report an accident to the FAA within 10 days of
any operation that results in injury or property damage
No operations are allowed in Class A (18,000 feet & above)
airspace. Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed
with the required ATC permission, Operations in Class G airspace are
allowed without ATC permission
The new rules will not apply to model aircraft if those
operators continue to satisfy all of the criteria specified in Sec.
336 of Public Law 112-95, including the stipulation that they be
operated only for hobby or recreational purposes
The proposed rule maintains the existing prohibition against
operating in a careless or reckless manner. It also would bar an
operator from allowing any object to be dropped from the UAS