aerial view of Washington DC
In my opinion this is the best single Part 107 article yet. Props to Editor Betsy Lillian.

The unmanned aircraft systems industry is still celebrating the arrival of a set of federal rules to govern commercial operations. Likewise, the consensus among those in the industry is that this step, albeit a groundbreaking one, certainly does not tie up all loose ends. However, stressing its willingness to be more flexible, the agency is opening the door to these flights through what will be an online portal for entities to apply for additional waivers to operate under these and other parameters not prescribed in Part 107.

Under the new rulemaking, Part 107, which won’t take effect until late August, the FAA closed the door on operations taking place at night, beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) of the operator and directly over people.

For other industries, such as real estate and photography/cinematography, the rules could pose little problem, considering their operations typically do not expand beyond the provisions of Part 107.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), for example, considers the rules a “win for the industry.”

Speaking on the lack of permitted BVLOS operations, Michael Drobac, senior policy advisor at law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and spokesperson for the Small UAV Coalition, notes, “The whole concept of an unmanned aerial vehicle or system is that it’s autonomous.”

For Akin Gump partner John Marciano, who specializes specifically in the UAS, power and financial industries, the rulemaking brings much-needed clarity.

“From a financing standpoint, we’ve been completely unable to do anything without any regulations.” From Marciano’s perspective, the fact that there finally will be a clear set of rules is a big milestone in and of itself.

“It didn’t go just to where people thought it would go,” Drobac says, noting, in particular, the positives of the FAA’s removing the manned pilot license requirement and, instead, requiring operators to obtain a remote pilot certificate in a way that is “as accessible and user-friendly as possible,” he says.

Looking back, Gretchen West, senior advisor at law firm Hogan Lovells and co-founder of the recently established Commercial Drone Alliance, says she did not anticipate that the FAA’s rules would be “this friendly to the industry.”

“But quite honestly,” she says, “I didn’t think the industry would be quite this big.”

As noted in the admittedly exuberant headline, this is the best of this week’s flurry of Part 107 articles. What appears above is a severely truncated version – I recommend you follow the link and enjoy the full article which brings together an exceptional group with a sure grasp of the issues.



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