New Drone Regulations Take Off

Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - 6:47pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 5:14pm
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(Photo by Cameo Hill - KJZZ)
An operator flies a drone in Tempe.

The Federal Aviation Administration came out with new drone regulations Tuesday. The new operational rules specify when and where commercial drones can fly. Previously if you wanted to fly a commercial drone you had to have a license for a manned commercial aircraft and getting that license could cost up to $10,000.

The new regulations require pilots 16 and older take a knowledge test which costs $150.

Matt Waite runs the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska. He expects this lower barrier to entry will mean the skies will be soon be filled with commercial drones.

“You're going to see all kinds of businesses using drones from roofing companies that want to go inspect a roof, regulators, infrastructure managers, golf course owners, farmers,” Waite said.\

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Pilots will need to keep the commercial drones at or below 400 feet above the ground and most will likely need permission from their local air traffic control authority to fly.

The FAA did not issue regulations regarding privacy, so pilots operating drones with cameras will need to be in compliance with state law. Waite thinks the increasingly crowded skies will undoubtedly lead to 1st amendment challenges as the industry takes off.

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