Drone rules: FAA outlines regulations for commercial use

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Drones are one step closer to owning the skies now that the Federal Aviation Administration announced its long-awaited proposed regulations for commercial use.

The rules are more lenient than anticipated which is good news for businesses that use drones.

The regulations do not apply to amateur drone enthusiasts, but rather people hoping to make money off the emerging tech.

ArizonaFPV (First Person View) is one of the few businesses in the Valley offering a full range of drone services. Like many businesses, it started almost by accident in Mark Yori's garage. 

"Pushed record on my iPhone and I zip-tied it to the helicopter. I flew it up in the air, brought it back down, and I looked at the footage and said, 'That's a business,"' Yori said.

These days Yori and his business partner, Brian Deatherage, do everything from aerial photography to intricate three-dimensional mapping. Images that would take a survey crew months to complete can be made in only a few minutes with drone technology.

Yori said the new FAA rules pave the way for drones to affect the lives of every single one of us.

"This technology is as important as the Internet," Yori said.  "It's kind of hard to understand right now."

That's why Yori said the new FAA rules are a big deal.

"It is wild, wild west; the technology has far outpaced the legislation," Yori said.

Some of the regulations include:

  • FAA certification for all commercial drone pilots.
  • 100 MPH speed limit.
  • No flying over people not involved in the drone activity.
  • No flying above 500 feet in altitude.

"It's all about safety," Yori said. "A lot of people want to speculate that the FAA is worried about people's privacy.  First of all these things are very, very loud; they're not going to end up over your home without you knowing about it."

Instead, Yori believes the FAA is recognizing the need for regulatory guidance in a potentially multi-billion dollar industry.

"There's a company that just went into Reno, Nevada that I think hired 700 jobs at $70,000 per job, plus. And they're going to be manufacturing drones for first responders -- police and fire," said Yori, adding that estimates place a $7 billion value on the industry's potential once regulations allow commercial drone use.

"It's going to improve everybody's life in one way, shape or form," he continued.

The new rules aren't in effect just yet. There is a 60-day public comment where you can weigh in and let the FAA know what you think.

Read the framework of regulations (PDF from FAA.gov)

You may sumbit your comments at Regulations.gov.