The FAA has proposed regulation on "non-recreational" Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or more commonly and *inaccurately called drones. This is big news for car types who like to use these cheap aerial camera platforms to get what used to be very expensive shots.

The good news is that the proposed regulation is mostly common sense stuff:

  • A small UAS operator must always see and avoid manned aircraft. If there is a risk of collision, the UAS operator must be the first to maneuver away.
  • The operator must discontinue the flight when continuing would pose a hazard to other aircraft, people or property.
  • A small UAS operator must assess weather conditions, airspace restrictions and the location of people to lessen risks if he or she loses control of the UAS.
  • A small UAS may not fly over people, except those directly involved with the flight.
  • Flights should be limited to 500 feet altitude and no faster than 100 mph.
  • Operators must stay out of airport flight paths and restricted airspace areas, and obey any FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs).

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Operators (who will need to be 17 years or older) will also need to pass an exam to get certified and re-certify with the FAA every 24 months. Whats of interest to car people is that they will have several restrictions that will limit their use to motorsports events:

  • Visual range only
  • No higher than 500 feet
  • No faster than 100 mph

Its been speculated before that these types of system will put skilled helicopter pilots out of the movie business, but from the sounds of these limitations, I feel safe in saying now...as I did then...that these craftsmen will likely have a continued roll for a long time to come.

Read the press release here