Unmanned Aerial Systems Regulations

        Unmanned Aerial Systems


Unfortunately for businesses, the clearest UAS regulation applies to non-commercial use. Hobbyists with small craft may operate drones, but they must maintain a visual line of sight (VLOS), stay below 400 feet and remain at least 5 miles from airports.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed rules which would regulate size, restrict flight paths, clarify registration and marking, and outline training for drone operators. At the moment, the FAA plans to restrict UAS operation to VLOS flight during daylight hours, though that may change as technology advances.

The Small UAS Rule has yet to take effect, and its exact provisions are likely to be revised. However, the FAA is exercising its authority under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA). Under this rule, the FAA can grant case-by-case authorization for the commercial operation of certain UAS prior to the finalization of the proposed Small UAS Rule.

While the military and hobbyists have been using unmanned aerial systems (UAS), better known as drones, for some time, businesses are just starting to adapt the technology for their own uses. UAS are creating new opportunities—and new risks—for businesses to evaluate, and regulators and insurance carriers are scrambling to keep pace.