No industry has embraced the business potential of unmanned aircraft (drones) like the construction industry. From the ability to survey areas safely to being able to check site progress thoroughly, drones have an emerging place in the design and development of new structures. However, previous rules enacted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made it difficult to realize the full potential of unmanned aircraft technology.
Much of this changed recently, as the FAA launched a new set of rules that make it easier for drones to be used for commercial use. Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, which officially went into effect on August 29, provides a less restrictive and more direct set of regulations for those looking to use drones in business.
Below are three critical points for construction professionals to consider in regard to Part 107. To learn more about the legal use of unmanned aircraft on construction sites, our team of Jacksonville construction lawyers can assist you.
1. Rules for Drone Operators
Under the new rule, drone operators must receive an airman certification for remote pilots in command (“Remote PICs”). Under the previous rule (Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA)), drone operators needed to obtain a pilot’s licence. To be certified, drone operators must pass an aeronautical knowledge test.
2. When and Where Drones Can be Flown
Drones can be flown during daylight and twilight hours and with at least three miles visibility. They must be operated in the “unaided line of site” of a Remote PIC or a visual observer. They can be flown no higher than 400 feet or, if higher than 400 feet, be within 400 feet of a structure. They can be flown in Class G airspace, which is typically found away from airports, without consent. Consent from air traffic control is needed when flying in Classes B, C, D, and E airspace. Unmanned aircraft cannot be flown above individuals other than the Remote PIC or a visual observer.
3. FAA Penalties
Violating any portion of Part 107 is punishable by a fine of up to $11,000 per violation.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.