Effective in August of 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued regulations placing very stringent restrictions on how companies may utilize drones—or “small unmanned aircrafts”—for commercial purposes. Those regulations prohibit (among other things):
These restrictions even apply to drones flown over one’s own private property. That means drones used to film sporting, student or recreational events may not be flown over people—even when those people are on your property and are aware of the drone.
Operators failing to comply with these restrictions are subject to fines for each violation. The FAA has issued fines ranging from a few hundred dollars to the FAA’s largest fine to date: a proposed fine of $1.9 million issued against a New York-based aerial photography company. Read: The FAA just issued the largest fine ever against a company for flying drones illegally.
Commercial drone operators can, however, apply to the FAA for waivers from all of these restrictions. We are currently monitoring how freely the FAA will grant these waivers and which type(s) of drones are most likely to get them. If you have any questions about navigating the FAA’s waiver process or how the new regulations affect your drone and anticipated drone use, please feel free to contact Clint Westbrook at 616.752.2748 or email@example.com or Lance Zoerhof at 616.752.2384 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.