The US Federal Aviation Administration released their proposed rules for small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) for 60-day public review.
The proposed rules allow commercial operations for UAS that weight less than 55 pounds, fly lower than 500 feet, remain within sight of the operator, and don’t operate at night.
Additionally, the operator must have an as-yet undetailed license and the device must have a certification, also un-detailed.
Excerpting from IEEE/Spectrum:
- Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).
- Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the operator or visual observer.
- At all times the small unmanned aircraft must remain close enough to the operator for the operator to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.
- Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly involved in the operation.
- Daylight-only operations (official sunrise to official sunset, local time).
- Must yield right-of-way to other aircraft, manned or unmanned.
- May use visual observer (VO) but not required.
- First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement but can be used as long as requirement is satisfied in other ways.
- Maximum airspeed of 100 mph (87 knots).
- Maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level.
- Minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from control station.
- No operations are allowed in Class A (18,000 feet & above) airspace.
- Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission.
- Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without ATC permission.
- No person may act as an operator or VO for more than one unmanned aircraft operation at one time.
- No careless or reckless operations.
- Requires preflight inspection by the operator.
- A person may not operate a small unmanned aircraft if he or she knows or has reason to know of any physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of a small UAS.
- Proposes a microUAS option that would allow operations in Class G airspace, over people not involved in the operation, provided the operator certifies he or she has the requisite aeronautical knowledge to perform the operation.
BOTTOM LINE: Properly registered commercial drone activity is allowed to fly lower than 500 feet and within line of sight during daylight hours. Thus Amazon, DHL and other commercial delivery plans are not allowed at the present time.