The new regulations creates a category of drones (also called Small unmanned aerial systems or “sUAS” ) under 55 pounds in weight. It removes a previous requirement that such drones needed an airworthiness certificate and an specific exemption from the FAA for commercial operators.
The FAA then created a new remote pilot certificate system with a knowledge test to pass and a TSA check requirement. Certificates are good for two years and can be easily renewed.
The FAA also added operational guidelines on flying times, maximum altitude limitations, max speed and payload limits, as well as other operational limitations.
Although no one wants to deal with regulations, these changes should be very helpful to the small business owner who wants to produce drone-assisted footage. Before the FAA’s June standards update, each commercial operator needed specific permission and parameters on a case by case basis, at the FAA’s discretion. Now commercial video and media producers will know the regulations in advance and be able to better plan their productions. So get out there and get your certificate and happy filming!