Most analysts expect the FAA to announce the final version of Part 107, the Small UAS Rule, tomorrow – in accordance with the agency’s frequent promises to release the rule “late spring.” But John Goglia, writing for Forbes magazine, has published a copy of a leaked summary of the new Part 107 rules.
The leaked copy was first published at dronelawjournal.com, where drone attorney – and meticulous follower of drone regulations across the country – Peter Sachs published a screenshot of the pages that he retrieved from a publicly accessible government website before it was taken down.
Mr. Sachs and Mr. Goglia, point out some items in the leaked summary that differ from previously published draft versions of the rule:
The minimum age for a Remote Pilot in Command is now 16-years-old;
The maximum altitude has been changed to 400 feet AGL;
There is a read, speak, write and understand English requirement; and
Current Part 61 manned aircraft certificate holders will only have to take and pass an online test.
According to this information the new Part 107 will eliminate some of the major barriers for the drone industry, but it isn’t a total solution for the current bottleneck to open a new drone business. While analysts expect that the new rule will eliminate the need for a manned aircraft pilot’s license, a two-member crew (one pilot, one observer), and the requirement for a Section 333 Exemption for many businesses, it will still not cover many industrial applications. Drone flight will still need to be within visual line of the site of the operator and be in daylight hours; altitude cannot exceed 400 feet; and there is no provision under the standard rule for flight over people not involved in the operation. While the FAA, NASA, and Congress – in it’s recent versions of the FAA Reauthorization Act – have addressed all of those issues, Part 107 does not represent an instant fix to drone industry stakeholders hoping to see drone delivery and other industrial applications any time soon.