Far-reaching rule changes stand to make 2019 'year of the drone'

BOSTON, Mass., - Regulators are formulating rules that stand to affect every part of the American drone industry —and the time is now for stakeholders to make their voices heard, advise veteran aviation attorneys with the national law firm LeClairRyan. "This year is shaping up as a critical one for regulatory developments affecting operators of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)," said Mark E. McKinnon, leader of LeClairRyan's UAS practice, "so much so that 2019 could easily be thought of as 'The Year of the Drone,'" report AviationPros.com.

Mar 19th, 2019
Far-reaching rule changes stand to make 2019 'year of the drone'
Far-reaching rule changes stand to make 2019 'year of the drone'
BOSTON, Mass., - Regulators are formulating rules that stand to affect every part of the American drone industry —and the time is now for stakeholders to make their voices heard, advise veteran aviation attorneys with the national law firm LeClairRyan. "This year is shaping up as a critical one for regulatory developments affecting operators of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)," said Mark E. McKinnon, leader of LeClairRyan's UAS practice, "so much so that 2019 could easily be thought of as 'The Year of the Drone,'" report AviationPros.com.

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The Intelligent Aerospace take:

March 19, 2019-"What the FAA wants to know from the American public is, should there be standoff distances for UAS here and, if so, what should they be?" McKinnon said. "It is important for industry to get involved because, if distances are set, there will definitely be costs." Large standoff distances, the attorney explained, could eliminate the possibility of performing many tasks that are routine today. "Standoff distances could also create a need for costly new training protocols, which FAA wants to better understand as well."

Last month, the FAA, in cooperation with Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Defense (DOD), established additional restrictions on drone flights up to 400 feet at dozens of sites.

While the FAA has tightened some UAS rules, NASA has partnered with the agency to help the commercial drone industry navigate the issues posed by flying in an urban environment. This spring and summer, NASA and the FAA will test urban package delivery, infrastructure inspection, aerial photography, news gathering, public safety, and first responder operations in Reno, Nev., and Corpus Christi, Texas.

Related: UAVOS launches flight simulator to test UAS of differing weights in multiple weather conditions

Related: FAA establishes restrictions of UAS flights over numerous Dept. of Justice, Dept of Defense facilities

Related: Red Cat releases beta version of blockchain-based 'black box' flight recorder for UAS

Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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