Houston, TX—On June 21, the Federal Aviation Administration released “Part 107”, a new set of rules to govern the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems or drones by commercial entities. Prior to these rules any commercial entity flying a UAS, including engineers, surveyors, real estate agents, insurance adjusters, photographers, etc. had to have a pilot’s license and a FAA 333 permit. These updated regulations relax many of the restrictions currently in place for commercial operators, allowing for more cost effective and simpler operations to get a UAS in the air, legally.
These new, less strict rules benefit engineering firms like Haag Engineering Co. and our clients by making it easier to utilize small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—commonly called “drones” —for a variety of aerial mapping and data collection applications. Haag was granted a Section 333 exemption by the FAA in July 2015.
“The new Part 107 rules will help us better utilize UAS’ on our client’s behalf,” said Kevin Kianka, Haag’s Director of BIM/Modeling Program. “UAS technology allows us to obtain or preserve key information from potentially dangerous or difficult to access sites.”
The new rules keep many of the existing limitations to UAS Operations, including daylight operations only, flight altitudes below 400 feet, and a maximum UAS weight of 55 pounds. In addition there is a new limitation setting a maximum UAS speed of 100 miles per hour. Removed is the requirement for a Visual Observer and a 500 foot buffer to persons, structures and vehicles. The limitation for a buffer has been replaced with a limitation that the UAS may not fly directly over persons not directly participating in the operation. In addition operations in Class G airspace are allowed without Air Traffic Control Approval (ATC), however operations in Class B, C, D, and E airspace require ATC permission.
The requirements for Pilots in Command (PIC) of the UAS have also been relaxed. Previously the PIC needed a FAA issued Pilots license (Sport or higher). The new requirements allow individuals to obtain a remote pilot airman certificate through an initial aeronautical test (at an FAA facility) or being vetted by the TSA and being at least 16 years old. Additionally, Pilots with FAA licenses (Sport or higher) may obtain a remote pilot certificate. As of today, the course has not been deployed, but expect it to be released sometime in July with a heavy attendance for the first several months.
The Part 107 regulations will go into place in August, 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register, opening the skies for many individuals and organizations during that time.
See the FAA announcement and Part 107 Rules here: http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=20515
Contact Haag at 281-313-9700 to discuss using UAS technology on your project. View full announcement here.