Many people feel that drone regulations in the US are needlessly harsh and difficult to follow and that these regulations get in the way of innovative drone use. While there could be a point to this, this is not something we can do much about. The FAA is here to stay, and it has done a good job working with us thus far. They say, at the FAA it takes five years for a rumor to convert to standard operating procedure. So, if you are planning to stick around with flying drones, it pays to understand the FAA position on drone flying.
Registering your drone
You can register your recreational drone at this link. You do not need to do this for drones under 0.55 lbs (250 grams). Registration is online if the drone weighs between 0.55 lbs to 55 lbs (250 grams to 25 kg) when fully ready to fly. What you need to know is listed on the FAA website here. The key points are –
- Stay a minimum of five miles away from airports
- Do not fly higher than 400 feet
- Keep the drone in sight at all times
- Stay away from people, gatherings, and vehicles
- Do not fly near emergency response teams or areas requiring emergency response
If your drone weighs more than 55 lbs or if you plan to use it for non-recreational use, a more elaborate registration process kicks in. You can get information on the paper based process here.
Becoming a drone pilot
There are no special requirements if you fly your drone recreationally. Open the box, assemble the drone, and you are ready to go (the FAA does require you to be sober!).
Drone pilots flying for work/business need a license. The requirements are listed here. You need to be over 16 years to apply, and the test includes subjects such as:
- Airspace regulations and classifications, aviation weather
- Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
- Airport operations
- Maintenance and preflight inspection etc.
The license is to be renewed every two years by passing a recurrent knowledge test.
Many feel that the FAA has inserted bureaucracy in an area it did not have to. What do you have to say?
David King Chief Technical Officer
Serving as the Chief Technology Officer, David is responsible for the discovery and implementation of new technologies that yield competitive advantages while working closely with Executive Management to develop strategies to increase revenue and performs cost-benefit and return-on-investment analysis.
In October 2005, David joined AEgis Technologies as Director of the Simulation Development Group. During that time, David helped formulate the direction of AEgis’ software development efforts to ensure maximum reusability, thereby speeding ongoing development while reducing costs. His focus is technology transfer to commercial products and product development. Under his leadership, the Simulation Development Group developed and fielded over 8000 UAS training systems across the DOD. David has held the title of Vice President, Simulation Development and most recently, Executive Vice President, Technology Solutions Division.
With more than 25 years in the Modeling, Simulation, and Training industry – and having served in product design and development, technology advancement, project management, and leadership positions. David is a recognized leader and innovator in the MS&T industry, having co-founded, matured and sold a two-man start-up company into a highly-successful small business (CG2, Inc.) in just seven years with no outside venture capital or investments. In addition to being recognized locally as an “Outstanding Small Business” for three consecutive years by the Madison County Chamber of Commerce.
Before co-founding CG2, David spent eight years in the US Army in missile-related fields. He worked for Electronic Associates Inc. and later AMTEC Corporation at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, AL, on a broad range of projects including the Sensor Vision III Real-Time IR Scene Generator, JAVELIN, STINGER, CHAPARRAL BAT, AIT, and THAAD HWIL simulations.
Specialties: Modeling, Simulation and Training. Hardware in the Loop, real-time simulations.