NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

FAA Proposes Drone Regulations

February 19, 2015

Scott Shackford at reports that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued its plans to regulate the private and commercial use of drones (or, more formally, Unmanned Aircraft Systems). He summarizes some of the regulations:

  • Drones would have to weigh less than 55 pounds.
  • Drone operators would have to be in visual sight of the drone.
  • Drones could only operate during the daytime and would have to stay below 500 feet.

What does this mean for business? Consider the case of Amazon, which had planned to roll out a drone delivery service. Shackford says the proposed rules would prevent the company from doing so, quoting Amazon's vice president for global policy who said the rules simply "wouldn't allow Prime Air to operate in the United States" but said the company remained committed to the program and was "prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need."

Shackford accuses the FAA of regulating "out of fear of what harms may (or may not) come," rather than allowing drones to operate before issuing heavy restrictions.

Shackford also notes the rules could impact companies much smaller than Amazon who might also seek to employ drones in their businesses. Reason TV has produced a video on the use of drones, and NCPA Research Associate Evan Carr released a paper on drones, noting that they were poised to "redefine the aviation industry and drive substantial economic growth."

Source: Scott Shackford, "Who Will Be Screwed Over by the FAA\'s New Drone Rules?", February 17, 2015. 


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