Monday, February 16, 2015

OMB Approves FAA Drone Rule

On Friday the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that it had approved the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPMR) on the Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). This is the same ruling that the FAA and the TSA held a joint media call about yesterday. A draft of the NPRM is available and will probably be published in the Federal Register this week.

The sUAS rules would apply to unmanned aircraft that weigh under 55 lbs. The NPRM would contain a proposal to set a subcategory of micro UAS category for UAS that weigh under 4.4 lbs. A number of additional restrictions would apply to both categories of UAS.

An operator of either type UAS would be required to have a ‘unmanned aircraft airman certificate” which would include a requirement for vetting by the DHS Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

I don’t see anything that would specifically prohibit flying micro UAS or sUAS over critical infrastructure facilities unless they were already covered under existing FAA restrictions. I’ll be going into more detail on this when it is published in the Federal Register.

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