FAA: New Drone Flight Restrictions

The Federal Aviation Administration announced that drones will be prohibited from flying over federal prisons and Coast Guard facilities. The FAA flight restrictions will take effect July 7, 2018, at over 19 prisons and 10 Coast Guard facilities. The purpose of the restrictions is to keep drone flights outside of a 400-foot radius of federal facilities. Operators who violate the flight restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges including up to a year in prison.

It is the widespread availability of commercial drones that pose the greatest threat. There are more than one million federally licensed drone operators, and most of them fly by the rules, but not everyone. That being said, law-enforcement and national security officials added “prison breaks” as a potential ill use.

Drone incidents at prisons have been on the rise. In July 2015, a fight broke out at an Ohio prison when a drone dropped tobacco, marijuana, and heroin to an inmate. In July 2017 there was an escape from a South Carolina prison, where an inmate chopped his way through a fence using wire cutters that prison officials suspect were dropped by a drone. The inmate was captured 1,200 miles away in Texas. In September 2017, Arizona prison officials said a drone carrying drugs and cellphones crashed in the prison yard.

Most of the danger from the commercial drone boom here at home has been in the category of nuisance offenses. Under current law, hobbyists and commercial users must keep unmanned aircraft below 400 feet, and avoid flying within five miles of an airport to avoid endangering commercial aircraft. Even small drones can disable a passenger jet by getting sucked into and destroying a jet engine. Still, some recreational drone users ignore the law. In the first nine months of 2017, there were 1,696 drone sightings in illegal airspaces. The FAA expects the problem will get worse as the number of drones is estimated to triple to 3.5 million by 2021.


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Attention Drone Operators – LAANC Goes Live In April

LAANC Goes Live In April

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a statement announcing its plans for expanding the drone airspace authorization program.

Under the current Part 107 drone rule, operators must secure approval from the agency to operate in any airspace controlled by an air traffic facility. In order to facilitate those approvals, the agency deployed the prototype Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) at several air traffic facilities last November. The purpose is to evaluate the feasibility of a fully automated solution enabled by data sharing.

Based on the success, the agency has announced that on April 30th it will be conducting a nationwide beta test. During this beta test, LAANC will be deployed incrementally at nearly 300 air traffic facilities covering approximately 500 airports. The final deployment will begin in September.

Drone operators using LAANC can receive near real-time airspace authorizations. This dramatically decreases the wait experienced using the manual authorization process and allows operators to quickly plan their flights. Air traffic controllers can also see where planned drone operations will take place. The release goes on to say that beginning April 16, the FAA will consider agreements with additional entities to provide LAANC services. Currently, there are four providers: AirMap, Project Wing, Rockwell Collins, and Skyward.

Applications must be made by May 16. This is no standard government acquisition; no Screening Information Request (SIR) or Request for Proposal (RFP) related to this effort.

LAANC uses airspace data provided through UAS facility maps. The maps show the maximum altitude around airports where the FAA may authorize operations under Part 107. LAANC gives drone operators the ability to interact with the maps and provide automatic notification and authorization requests to the FAA. It is an important step in developing the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management System (UTM).

For more information, visit www.faa.gov/

Submitted by: Certified Training Institute Instructor Greg McMaster


ARE YOU INTERESTED IN OBTAINING A REMOTE PILOT IN COMMAND CERTIFICATE?

Individuals piloting drones for commercial purposes must pass the FAA Remote Pilot in Command  Exam in order to obtain a certificate.
Certified Training Institute offers online video exam prep to ensure you pass the exam on your first try!

Drone Registration Reinstated

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has required all drones to be registered in the past, however, early this year a D.C. Circuit judge shot down the rule and the FAA began returning registration fees. 

The registry was reinstated yesterday as a small part of a $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act. This rule change is approved by the FAA, a spokesperson is quoted as saying "We welcome the reinstatement of registration rules for all small unmanned aircraft. Ownership identification helps promote safe and responsible drone operation and is a key component to full integration."

The FAA estimates that 2.3 million consumer drones will be sold in the United States this year. The new law will require any drone between .55 and 55 pounds be registered. A full list of FAA drone rules can be found here.


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This blog is a direct excerpt from our online FAA Remote Pilot in Command Program.

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