Now even the FAA has a problem with its regulations on small drones. The AP reports that the government agency is “streamlining rules to expedite permits to fly small, commercial unmanned aircraft” after being barraged with complains over the current process.
Here’s how the rules will change:
Last year, the FAA began granting permits on a case-by-case basis to companies that want to use drones for aerial photography, to monitor crops and pipelines, and to inspect bridges, cell phone towers, oil platforms and other tall structures, among other uses. But the agency has a backlog of nearly 700 permit applications, and the list is growing.
Under the streamlined rules, the FAA will grant blanket flying permission to applicants whose drones weigh less than 55 pounds and who agree to keep flights under 200 feet, to fly only in the daytime, and to keep away from airports.
The announcement came just before a congressional hearing in which Amazon’s vice president for global public policy Paul Misener said that the delays have caused the company to test drones elsewhere. “We don’t test it anymore. We’ve moved on to more advanced designs that we already are testing abroad,” he said.
(Photo: David Rodriguez Martin)