The Federal Aviation Administration has finally cleared drones for commercial use, along with guidelines that encourage use while minimizing use in events like a wildfire or delivering contraband.
Under the rules, anyone older than 16 years old who wants to use a drone for business purposes may do so. However, the FAA stipulates the drone cannot leave the pilot's sight, must be clearly marked, must stay below 400 feet, and weigh less than 55 pounds.
The rules apply only to commercial use of drones, so you recreational pilots making drone selfies on vacation can keep doing what you do. But the FAA, and everyone else, asks that you please exhibit a modicum of common sense.
Drone pilots and their advocates hailed the FAA. “The rules are far, far better than expected,” says Peter Sachs, a lawyer and publisher of Drone Law Journal. He and others have a few nits to pick, but say the rules reduce the barrier to flight. Drone manufacturer DJI calls the new regs “a vote of confidence” in the technology. “We look forward to continuing to work with the FAA on more regulatory challenges ahead,” says spokesman Adam Lisberg.