Micro-Drone Exemption Bill Moves Ahead In Congress
” A piece of legislation that would exempt small drones from almost all upcoming Federal Aviation Administration regulations has been attached to an FAA funding bill in Congress, a version of which must pass before the end of March.
The “Micro UAS” or “Micro Drone” amendment has been added to the Aviation Innovation, Reform, an, a bill that funds the FAA and must be passed by March 31 in order to keep the agency that oversees all aviation in the country functioning as normal.
The rule would exempt drones under 4.4 pounds from upcoming FAA commercial drone regulations, meaning anyone could fly a drone for any purpose, so long as it’s under the weight limit. The drones would still have to be operated under 400 feet, at speeds of less than 46 MPH, within line of sight of the operator, during daylight, and at least 5 miles away from any airport.
The “micro UAS” distinction would subdivide the FAA’s “small UAS” distinction, which encompasses all drones between 0 and 55 pounds. Most small hobby drones weigh less than 4.4 pounds.
Drone lawyer Brendan Schulman, who is vice president of policy and legal affairs at the drone maker DJI, published research at the end of 2014 that strongly advocated for such a distinction. At the time, Schulman was the country’s best-known drone lawyer, having taken on the FAA in several high profile cases at the Kramer Levin law firm. That work, as well as his drone advocacy work, landed him a job as the top lawyer for the world’s largest consumer drone company.
His paper suggested that drone-plane collisions would be less common than plane-bird strikes—and perhaps no more dangerous for the plane.”