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F.A.A. Issues Commercial Drone Rules

Stashed in: Drones, Drones!

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WASHINGTON — The federal government on Tuesday made it much easier for companies to use drones for a variety of tasks, including aerial photography and emergency response.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s new commercial drone rules allow a broad range of businesses to use drones under 55 pounds, but with several restrictions: The drones must be operated by a pilot who has passed a written test and is at least 16 years old. And drones can be flown only below 400 feet, during the day and at least five miles away from airports.

The new F.A.A. rules do not necessarily preclude a hodgepodge of state and local drone regulations that have popped up in recent years. The administration sent a letter to states and cities saying they recommend everyone follow their lead. But it is only a recommendation.

The F.A.A. stopped short of giving a green light to package delivery, a goal of Amazon and Google, which have pushed regulators to create rules that would allow them to transfer part of their ground-based delivery systems to the sky. The new guidelines mandate that a commercial drone operator must always have the machine within line of sight — a rule that, for now, makes delivering packages unfeasible.

Aww, drones were fun until they started regulating them.

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