When the FAA announced that it was about to release its proposed rule regarding the use of small drones, many people were preparing for the worst kind of regulatory nightmare possible. However, if some recently leaked documents are to be believed, the regulations aren’t nearly as bad as many had feared an are actually somewhat reasonable.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will officially announce its proposed rules for small drones (or UAS — unmanned aerial systems — as the agency likes to call them) on Sunday. However, as Forbes first reported earlier this weekend, a document (first discovered by Steve Zeets) leaked out ahead of the announcement that now gives us a pretty good idea of what these rules will look like. The proposed rules, which apply to drones that weigh less than 55 pounds, will restrict commercial drone operators to flights during daylight hours and to heights under 500 feet. Pilots will have to a visual line of sight with the drone (or work with an observer who does so). They will also have to pass a knowledge test and drones will have registered (for a fee) with the FAA