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UAS Industry Anticipates FAA Regulations

November 26, 2014 - According to a recent Wall Street Journal article (subscription required), proposed regulations regarding commercial use of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) will require sUAS operators to possess at least a private pilot certificate and operate the devices in daylight, under 400 feet agl, and within visual line of sight. The FAA expects to release the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to the public by the end of the year. 

The speculated upcoming regulations are consistent with previous FAA rulings and provisions of Advisory Circular 91-57, which is the FAA’s guidance for operating model aircraft. The agency granted permission to six Hollywood studios to use camera-equipped sUAS for commercial purposes in September, stipulating that the operators must possess at least a private pilot certificate and fly day VFR within line of sight.

So-called “first person view” setups, which allow sUAS operators to wear a set of video goggles that display real-time streaming video from the device and create the illusion that the operator is aboard the aircraft, are prohibited for studio operators and are expected to be similarly prohibited in the NPRM.

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