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Drone Propellers Aren’t the Only Things Buzzing as the FAA Releases Proposed Regulations for the Commercial Operation of Unmanned Aerial Systems

On February 17, 2015 by Schnader

In a surprise move during Presidents’ Day weekend, the Federal Aviation Administration released long-awaited proposed regulations for the commercial operation of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The draft regulations prompted a collective sigh of relief by UAS advocates, as they are significantly less onerous than feared. The sudden disclosure may have been prompted by Saturday’s apparently inadvertent posting on of a 79-page report by the FAA’s Economic Analysis Division regarding integration of small UAS into the National Airspace System (also known as the Thurston Report). That report almost immediately was removed from the government’s website, but was followed quickly on Sunday by a press conference hosted by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

The FAA is touting the proposed regulations as safe, simple and flexible. They are intended to ensure separation from all other aircraft, while mitigating risk to people and property on the ground. By making them simple and flexible, the FAA hopes to provide certainty and facilitate compliance by UAS operators. 

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