Drone Regulations Delayed to 2015

As expected by many, official drone regulations have not been issued yet, for as late last year, reports said, rules governing the use of both commercial and personal drones would be delayed to this year, 2015.

The Obama administration is on the verge of proposing long-awaited rules for commercial drone operations in the U.S., but key decisions on how much access to grant drones are likely to come from Congress next year, the NY Daily News reported. Another related news, quoting an AP report said the FAA wanted to release its proposed rules before the end of last month, but Congress wanted to make key decisions about these: “Federal Aviation Administration officials have said they want to release proposed rules before the end of this month, but other government and industry officials say they are likely to be delayed until January,” the story reports. “Meanwhile, except for a small number of companies that have received FAA exemptions, a ban on commercial drone flights remains in place. Even after rules are proposed, it is likely to be two or three years before regulations become final.”

There is also a report saying that drone regulations won’t be ready until 2017: In a hearing last month, FAA official Peggy Gilligan told a congressional House, “We all agree that the project is taking too long.” The panel — run by the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — was convened to address provisions of the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2012 specific to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones. Those provisions set forth a timeline for the FAA to integrate drone usage into the National Airspace System, and the agency has been falling behind. The panel featured testimony from Gilligan, the Department of Transportation’s Assistant Inspector General for Aviation Audits Matthew Hampton, and Gerald Dillingham, the director of civil aviation for the Government Accountability Office, among others. Most notably, Dillingham testified that “the consensus of opinion is the integration of unmanned systems will likely slip from the mandated deadline until 2017 or even later.”

The delay naturally frustrates interested drone users, among them are hobbyists and professional drone pilots keen on drone photography services.

Aerial photography prices for services  in real estate marketing, especially for moderately priced places these days are getting to be affordable, thanks to the use of relatively inexpensive drones.

Critical observers say that one FAA proposal that will definitely kill the nascent drone industry (which any future commercial activities will be based on and, currently, is mostly comprised of hobbyists) is a rule to that would require a drone operator to have pilot’s license. And that’s not a currently-not-existing, special, “drone operator” license. The FAA means an actual pilot’s license with all its requirements. This is indeed too restrictive and unrealistic. One needs to go through the effort and expense of taking flying lessons in a real airplane and pass a flying test… all to be able to operate something you can’t actually fly in. That’s like having to learn and be licensed on how to drive a semi rig in order to operate a remote controlled toy car.

“We want to follow the rules,” said A.J. Jolivette, chief executive of Terosaur, a drone firm in Huntington Beach. But if the rules are too strict, he said, it will cause people to “go around the regulations.” See more here

“Any drone regulations to be passed, hopefully, the soonest time possible, should be in support of the development of the drone industry, benefiting drone manufacturers and consumers alike, and importantly too, assuring everyone’s privacy as well as safety in the skies,” James Davis, publisher of The Droneologist said.


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