Tags: Drone Pilot Licenses May Be Required Under FAA Plan

Drone Pilot Licenses May Be Required Under FAA Plan

Image: Drone Pilot Licenses May Be Required Under FAA Plan
A pilot flies a drone. (Charles Platiau/Reuters/Landov)  

By    |   Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 08:03 AM

A pilot license may be needed in the future to fly drones over weddings, sporting events and for business purposes if the Federal Aviation Administration has its way.

The federal agency is looking to step into the largely unrestricted wild, wild west of drones as concern mount about privacy and as the availability of the flying machines for a wide variety of purposes continues to increase, according to CNN Money.

Some of the new rules for drones that weigh under 55 pounds would include flying only in the daytime within view of the operator and below 400 feet.

Jesse Kallman, of the drone software startup Airware, told CNN Money that the pilot license could be an undue burden for current drone users.

"How you operate a 737 is pretty different from how you operate an unmanned aircraft," Kallman said.

While drones are legal for hobbyists, officially they are still illegal for business purposes without an exemption from the FAA. There has been interest, for example, by energy companies to use drones to examine wind turbines without sending a climber up the towering structure; and by railroad companies to inspect tracks.

Matt Waite, a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and founder of the Drone Journalism Lab, said while limits are needed, he thinks some of the rules may go too far, according to KCBS-TV.

"It's really hard to see why learning how to fly a Cessna is really going to help fly a three-pound quadcopter on the ground," Waite said.

Waite said that technology such as GPS and smartphones make it easier to operate drones, but changes like possible line-of-sight rules could hamper many businesses.

"The FAA has been saying that for sometime, so Amazon's plans have always been on the hopeful side than anything else," Waite said. "For operations like crop monitoring, environmental operating, for journalism and things like that, line of sight is actually not that big of a hurdle."

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A pilot license may be needed in the future to fly drones over weddings, sporting events and for business purposes if the Federal Aviation Administration has its way.
Drone Pilot Licenses May Be Required Under FAA Plan
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2014-03-25
Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 08:03 AM
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