FAA changes rules for commercial drone use

Most importantly, larger drones need to be registered with the FAA.

The first major regulations governing civilian drone operations in the US took effect Monday and permit anyone 16 or older to fly for hire if they pass a written knowledge test and background check. The test costs about $150 but may vary by location. And flying drones over people - prohibited under current rules if those people aren't directly participating in the operation - would be relevant to the construction industry, he said.

According to the FAA someone broke those rules back in July after a drone flying at 1500 feet had a close call with an aircraft 2 miles away from the Niagara Falls International Airport.

On the first day the rules were in effect the FAA had already granted 76 exemptions, majority to companies that want to fly drones at night, Huerta said. His company sells drone services such as bridge inspections and also offers training courses. American businesses have been pushing for regulations to be set in place so that they can take advantage of the technology for a variety of uses such as agriculture, delivering packages, filmmaking, and more. So far, all responders to that thread have passed.

Some drone users were curious how similar the FAA-provided 40-question sample exam was to the actual exam. User Joet responded: "The practice tests did NOT cover everything in the actual exam", and included a list of included topics before warning of "some trick questions". He had an interest in drone photography, but before the FAA announced its new rules he didn't think it was feasible for him to qualify under the agency's waiver program.

"Everyone was pretty much in a frenzy trying to figure out how to study for the test", Speicher said.

Testing centers nationwide can now administer the Aeronautical Knowledge Test required under Part 107, as defined by the FAA. How did it go?

Carbondale farmer Laura McBride said her family bought a drone to survey farmland in late 2014, but the drone has been collecting dust for most of that time because nobody in the family had a pilot's license.

FAA official say the new rules are "designed to minimize risks to other aircraft and people and property on the ground".

  • Joey Payne