The new rules went into effect Monday, August 29, 2016
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has announced the finalization of its first “Operational Rules” for the routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (better known as “drones”). The announcement opens the pathway towards a better and more comprehensive integration of drones within the nation’s airspaces. According the FAA, the main purpose of these new rules, are to spur further innovation, increase safety measure, promote scientific research and to save lives.
“We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We look forward to working with the aviation community to support innovation, while maintaining our standards as the safest and most complex airspace in the world.”
Some things to know about the new rule…
The new regulations, formerly known as Part 107, now regulate all unmanned aircrafts weighing under 55 lbs. Some of the most important changes that come with the new regulations include a ban on nighttime waivers as well as new licensing requirements for drone operators. The new regulations do allow for waivers of certain provisions for those operations that do not quite fit under the new rule’s provisions. The waiver is not automatically granted, however, and must be applied for on the FAA website.
Highlights of the new “Operational Rules” which go into effect today include:
- Provisions aimed at minimizing risk to other aircrafts, people and properties on the ground;
- Regulations requiring pilots to keep drones within the visual line of sight;
- What type of operations are allowed during daylight versus twilight and when anti-collision lights are needed;
- The height, speed and other operational limits required to flight drones for commercial purposes including the prohibition of flights over unprotected people on the ground who are not directly participating in said drone operation.
“With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach that balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAA’s mission to protect public safety,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “But this is just our first step. We’re already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations.”
Of most importance to the general public, however, is to note that Part 107 will not apply to model aircraft. Model aircraft operators must continue to satisfy all the criteria specified in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (PDF) (which will now be codified in Part 101), including the stipulations relating to the operation of a model aircraft only for hobby or recreational purposes.
What effect will the new Drone Rules have on insurance?
While still a relatively new line of insurance, the drone market is forecasted to be close to a $5 billion dollar industry by 2021 according to a white paper published by AssurexGlobal. The new rules will likely put in to focus the real need for drone insurance, by both hobbyists and non-hobbyists alike.
The insurance industry, which itself is embracing the use of drone technology for both its claims and adjusting needs, should take note that with the implementation of these new rules, insurance policies which can respond to the growing demand for drone insurance should be readied in order to take advantage of this burgeoning field.