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The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) has released proposed rules that would govern the integration of “small” unmanned aircraft systems (“small UAS”) into the National Airspace System. The proposed rules specifically state that they would allow crop monitoring and inspection, aerial photography, and research and development—meaning commercial agricultural uses fall squarely within the new rule. Here is my summary of the proposed rule, followed by some suggestions to current and future drone operators.Here are the ten most important parts of the new proposed rule which would apply only to "small" drones:
These rules are much simpler than I was expecting and should open the door for many agricultural commercial drone uses. Still, the biggest challenge for commercial agricultural drone use under these proposed rules will be the lack of autonomous flight. The ability to do crop mapping requires autonomous, systematic passes over a field.For those ready to take to the sky, remember that these are only "proposed" rules. The current regulatory framework is still in place--meaning commercial drone use is still illegal. The FAA is awaiting public comments on these proposed rules. After it receives and responds to those comments, the FAA will publish final small UAS regulations. If you are or wish to fly small UAS in the future, you should review the proposed rule and submit your comments to the FAA.U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12–140West Building Ground FloorWashington, DC 20590–0001
Read more at Janzen Ag Law Blog by Todd Janzen, Partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP.
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