The FAA Just Released Its New Drone Rule Book

Want to fly? Here's the 170,000 words you need to read

Today, the Federal Aviation Administration released its new book of drones rules. The summary is almost a thousand words long. The full 624 page rulebook is, at roughly 170,000 words, about as long as Joseph Heller’s Catch 22. The rules are long in coming, and they have a depth that will take a while to properly explore. Here’s what we know so far.

From the FAA press release:

Here are some of the salient points from the summary:

  • These rules apply to unmanned vehicles weighing up to 55 pounds.
  • The drone must be flown within visual line of sight of the pilot (or an observer).
  • Flying first person view (like with cameras on the drone streaming video into goggles worn by the pilot) doesn’t count.
  • Maximum allowed speed is 100mph.
  • Can’t fly more than 400 feet above ground.

Here’s the specific rules for drone delivery from the summary:

If a company or person wants to fly a drone in a way different from these rules, they can do so by applying to the FAA for a Certificate of Waiver, which if granted will give them a legal exception. The rules are a major step towards clarity in the vague world of drone law, though I’m certain there is much still to be decided and discovered in the full body of the rule.

Here, if you wish to delve through it, is the full rule.