New FAA Drone Rules to Have Limited Impact on Business Users
NEWS ANALYSIS: The newly released registration rules are aimed at private drone users, but they may provide guidance on what to expect for commercial drone use.The Federal Aviation Administration has released its long-awaited rules for registration of drones and other unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), but the new rules are written to apply to private users, not businesses. But there are important reasons to be aware of the requirement for drone registration, including the fact that another set of impending rules, this time for commercial use, could be a lot like the rules released on Dec. 14. It's also likely that at least some drone operations contractors will buy consumer drones and use them commercially, so you should be aware of the rules for registration for your own protection. The registration rules go into effect on Dec. 21. After that operators of drones weighing more than 250 grams (8.8 ounces) but less than 55 pounds must obtain a registration number from the FAA website. The rules apply to current UAS operators and to those who get drones or other unmanned aircraft after that date. Current owners of model airplanes have until February to register.
According to Zachary Ludens, an attorney with Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, which works with companies to figure out how to deploy UASs legally, the new registration rules deserve attention. "It is telling what the FAA is likely doing in other spaces as well," he said. He said that it's possible that the FAA may allow commercial users to have a single registration for all of its drones, for example.