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Click here to view Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS/Drone) technology provided by Alliance Risk Group

On February 15, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released draft regulations for the commercial operation of lightweight unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – also known as drones. To view the summary, click here:

According to a February 16 article by Bart Jansen on USA Today website, the highlights of the draft rules are as follows:

  • Drone operators will not be required to obtain a pilot’s license
  • Drones weighing up to 55 pounds are allowed to fly within sight of their remote pilots during daylight hours
  • The unmanned aircraft system must stay below 500 feet in the air and fly less than 100 mph.
  • People flying drones would need to be at leas 17 years old, pass an aeronautics test and be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration
  • A microUAS option allows operations in Class G airspace, over people not involved in the operation, provided the operator certifies he or she has the requisite aeronautical knowledge to perform the operation.

According to Jansen, “The FAA asked for 60 days of public comment on its proposal for commercial drones, but industry experts expect the analysis of comments could take 18 months or longer before the rules are completed.”

That same day, the Washington Post published a blog regarding unmanned aircraft systems by Larry Downes stating, “The draft regulations released Sunday, February 15, originally scheduled for 2011, must now go through a lengthy notice and comment process before being finalized. In 2012, Congress ordered the FAA to integrate commercial drones safely into U.S. airspace by 2015, a deadline the agency is certain to miss by at least a few years.”

While some have been discouraged by the slow pace of bureaucracy, industry stakeholders were encouraged by the “minimally burdensome rule” for commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems that the FAA will adopt in their regulatory approach. In addition to drone technology used in conjunction with law enforcement and surveillance operations, it will provide major benefits to agriculture, entertainment, transportation, ecology and emergency services. The use of commercial drone technology is expected to become a multi-billion dollar industry.

In response to the January 27 incident where a drone landed at the White House, President Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, that while safety is a paramount concern, he sees great potential with drone technology in many industries including farming and conservation. “Similar to cyber space, these (unmanned aircraft systems) technologies can empower individuals in ways you couldn’t imagine 10 or 15 years ago.”

On March 6, CNN broadcast what it touted as the “first-ever FAA-authorized use of drone for news gathering.” Click here to view video taken of the Edmund Pettis Bridge as part of the 50 year commemoration of the civil rights march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama.

For more information on UAS technology at Alliance Risk Group, contact