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FAA rule for US small commercial UAVs up to 25kgs

FAA rule for US small commercial UAVs up to 25kgs
April 20, 2015 Mike Watson

UAV in flight - FAA Drone rules

The Small UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is out for consultation in draft form.

It was published in February 2015 and sets out regulations for flying commercial small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) as well as rules for operator and aircraft certification. Examples of UAS include Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – also known as drones. These rules do not apply to the recreational flying of model aircraft.

The regulations set out in the new rule are summarized in the tables below [1]:

Operational Limits

Operating ParameterLimit
Maximum weight55lbs (25kg)
RangeVisual Line of Sight
Operating timesDaylight only
Operation over peoplePeople connected with the flight only
Right of wayYield to manned and unmanned aircraft
Maximum airspeed100mph (87 knots)
Maximum altitude500 feet above ground level
Minimum visibility3 miles from control station
Airspace restrictionsNo operations in Class A
ATC permission required in Classes B, C, D and E
Multiple UAVsNo one can operate more than one UAV at a time
Careless or Reckless operationsNot allowed
Preflight InspectionTo be undertaken by operator. Inspection to include aircraft and control station.
FAA InspectionOperator to make aircraft and records available for FAA inspection on request

UAV Operator Controls

Pilot / Operator Requirements

AgePilots must be at least 17 years old
DefinitionPilots are considered to be Operators
Aeronautical Knowledge TestInitial test to be passed at an FAA-approved knowledge testing centre. Test to be passed every 24 months.
VettingOperators to be vetted by Transportation Security Administration
Operator CertificateOperators to obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating

Aircraft Requirements

MaintenanceAircraft must be maintained in a condition for safe operation
RegistrationRegistration is required
MarkingsAircraft markings to be displayed in largest practicable manner


[1] Overview of Small UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FAA (Last Accessed 16/04/2015)


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