Last week news broke on a leak of the upcoming FAA rules and regulations regarding UAV operations, scheduled to be revealed at the end of 2014. Of the information provided, some of the rules were well known, such as: limiting flights to 400 feet in altitude, keeping the UAV in the line of operators sight at all times, and restricting flights to daylight hours only.
A new wrinkle was leaked, and it may be the biggest and most controversial so far; the FAA may restrict drone operations solely to those who have a commercial pilot license. If passed, these regulations would potentially deal a huge blow to drone operators in the U.S.
Drone operators with thousands of hours of UAV flight experience would quickly become forbidden from their operations, while commercial pilots with zero hours of experience flying UAVs would suddenly gain clearance to take to the skies immediately. While it’s almost certain that commercial pilots would have a quick learning curve and inherent understanding of safety and proper protocol in the skies, the dichotomy is still vast.
The current set of rules & regulations scheduled to be released at the end of 2014, will then undergo a series of appeals and revision which could last anywhere from 90 days to 2+ years. Either way, the argument will be drawn out for quite some time.