Drones and unmanned aerial systems continue revolutionizing the aeronautical industry. However, they do pose a very serious threat to other airborne modes of transport and the general public. Safety is the first and foremost aspect to be considered in any technology development. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken this issue seriously and passed several acts restricting the usage of drones within safe limits. The number of drone sightings that have led to temporary shutdowns of buzzing airports is rising by the day. Thus, these regulations have to be taken very seriously in order to avoid any sort of mishap. Technology is in fact here to help us rather than threaten us!
FAA passed the Reauthorization Act of 2018, specifying the restrictions and regulations for commercial drones. Recreational drones and hobbyists stayed out of these limitations until recently. The Act has now been upgraded to include regulatory rules for recreational drones as well.
FAA’s Regulations for Recreational Drones
According to the recent updates in the FAA Reauthorization Act, hobbyists can continue to fly their recreational drones in uncontrolled airspaces without any pre-required authorization from FAA authorities. But the drones have to be operated below an altitude of 400 feet. However, if they want to fly their drones in controlled airspaces, permission from the FAA is needed. Particularly within 5 miles of an airport, they need to restrict the flight to fixed spots in the controlled airspaces which will be provided by FAA authorities. They will also be marked as blue spots on the navigation maps to make it easier for the drone operators to restrict their UAVs in the given area. The drones must fly within the visual line of sight, in both controlled and uncontrolled airspaces.
FAA is currently using a system called Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) to authorize commercial drones that are required to fly in controlled airspaces. The authorities are now upgrading this system to include an authorization system for recreational drones too. As of now, operators of recreational drones do not require any certification to fly their drones. But the FAA is creating an online examination that will test the knowledge and skill of hobbyists to operate their UAVs. They will have to pass this exam and provide the authorities with proof of passing whenever requested.
What will be the use of these regulations?
Any violation of the regulations specified by the FAA will lead to strict enforcement actions. These laws have been passed with the main aim of keeping people safe from any kind of threats that drones could pose. Although these regulations will ensure the safe use of recreational drones, unware operators cannot be restricted. Moreover, these regulations will have to be shared as awareness by manufacturers with their clients.