While drone technology is taking off, there still remains a significant hurdle stopping mass adoption of drone technology by businesses – the current regulations and restrictions for drone operators and owners. Earlier this year, the Operations Over People rule came into effect, which allows drone operations at night under certain conditions and training. The Federal Aviation Authorities’ (FAA) latest drone regulation is the latest in a long list of national and state-specific drone regulations that both pilots and businesses need to be aware of before employing drone use in a commercial environment. For instance, if found to be at fault for a vehicle accident in New York, commercial drone operators and businesses could face snowballing consequences, including financial repercussions. Therefore, before employing commercial drone use in your business, getting familiar with the rules and regulations governing drone usage in New York is the best place to start.

UAS Use In Parks, Recreation, And Historic Preservation

The state of New York is governed by a single overall regulation that applies to the entire state. Formulated in 2015, the New York Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation rule stipulates that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are divided into three categories: recreational, commercial, and administrative. According to PRHPL Section 3.09(2) and 9 NYCRR Sections 372.7(b) and 409.1(c), the commercial use of a drone requires a permit. All commercial drone pilots are also required to be certified under the FAA’s Part 107 program.

FAA Stipulations For Commercial Drone Operation

While the state of New York has several local and state-wide UAV regulations in place, federal drone regulations do take precedence in cases where there may be a clash. Therefore, businesses considering commercial drone operations need to incorporate FAA’s UAS regulations – particularly its 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Rules. Under the FAA’s stipulation, commercial drone operators must hold a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA.

Drones must also fly at or below 400 feet, and the UAV must weigh less than 55 pounds. This includes the use of drones to capture imagery, stock photos, or event videos. Finally, if your drone weighs more than 250 grams, you are required to register it and pay a registration fee to the FAA. Each registered UAV is given an FAA identification number.

Operations Over People Rule For UAVs

In addition to three state-specific laws in New York, the FAA announced in December 2020 that all commercial drones are required to have a broadcast ID, digital license plate, and flight location. The FAA’s move to include ID beacons on drones was strongly opposed by lobbyists, who were concerned about privacy invasion and whether transport UAVs posed a threat or opportunity to the job market, consumers and airspace. However, it is generally seen as a progressive move to allow commercial drone flights over moving vehicles and crowds.

They have also moved to split their Operations Over People rule into four categories. For Category 1, the drone is required to weigh less than 0.55 pounds and have no exposed rotating parts. Drones in Categories 2 and 3 cannot cause injury “equivalent or greater than the severity of an injury caused by a transfer of 11 foot-pounds of kinetic energy upon impact from a rigid object.” (25 pounds for Category 3). In addition to no exposed rotating parts, they are also required to have an FAA declaration of compliance (DOC). Category 2 drones can also only be flown over open-air assemblies if they have remote IDs. Businesses looking to use commercial drones in this category will have to wait for the FAA to review and approve their DOC applications and usage.

With the FAA moving to make commercial drone applications easier, the future of drones in business looks bright. By 2025, the drone services market is set to be worth $63.5 billion, and while the commercial drone industry is still in its infancy, the new rules are paving the way for its safe integration into society and businesses.

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