Heads up: if you fly a camera drone commercially, the FAA’s new rules just went into effect. Announced back in June 2016, the rules govern how small commercial drones must be operated.
A small drone is any unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that weighs under 55 pounds. Here’s a summary of some of the main rules:
To fly and shoot with your camera drone commercially, you’ll first need to pass a test for a remote pilot certificate. Once that’s under your belt, you’ll need to ensure that the drone stays within your line-of-sight at all times — with unaided vision using the naked eye.
Time-wise, you can only fly during daylight hours. If your drone has anti-collision lighting built in, however, you can fly until “civil twilight, which is 30 minutes before official sunrise or 30 minutes after official sunset.
Minimum weather visibility must be 3 miles, and you can only fly your drone 100 miles per hour and up to an altitude of 400 feet above ground level (or above a structure).
Here’s the official FAA document with the full list of rules, in case you’d like to make sure you’re covering all of them:
The new rules are formally known as “Part 107.” If you’d like to get around any of the restrictions, you can request a waiver on the FAA’s website.
“People are captivated by the limitless possibilities unmanned aircraft offer, and they are already creating business opportunities in this exciting new field,” says FAA Secretary Foxx. “These new rules are our latest step toward transforming aviation and society with this technology in very profound ways.”