The New FAA Rules for Drones

Author: Stockpile Reports

The New FAA Rules for Drones | Blog | Stockpile Reports

The FAA recently announced new safety regulations for small unmanned aircraft systems (under 55 pounds) conducting non-recreational operations.

The proposed UAS rules limit flights to daylight and visual line-of-sight operations. It also addresses height restrictions, operator certification, optional use of a visual observer, aircraft registration and marking, and operational limits.

These new rules don’t affect recreational users, or ‘hobbyists’. They are still free to pilot their model planes around their backyards. The policy for recreational use has not changed.


Under the proposed rule, the person actually flying a small UAS would be an “operator.” An operator would have to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and obtain an FAA UAS operator certificate. To maintain certification, the operator would have to pass the FAA knowledge tests every 24 months.

Operators are required to maintain a visual line of sight of a small UAS. The rule would allow an operator to work with a visual observer who would maintain constant visual contact with the aircraft. The operator would still need to be able to see the UAS with unaided vision (except for glasses).

We at Stockpile Reports are very excited with this progress from the FAA, which encourages safety and responsible use. Imagery from UAS, or ‘drones’ will benefit mining, construction and aggregates industries, and should support rapid turnarounds for on-demand volume measurements here in the USA.

Stockpile Reports currently utilizes drone imagery from certified fliers in Australia and generates measurement reports for our clients ‘down under’. Drones are called RPAs in Australia, which stands for “Remotely Piloted Aircraft.” The guidelines for RPA usage have been in place for some time, and continue to be revised due to increased popularity of usage and various safety incidents.

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