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Recommendations from FAA Micro Drone Committee: PPA Weighs In - PPA Today

Recommendations from FAA Micro Drone Committee: PPA Weighs In

by Lindsey Forson Dron1.jpg

This week the Micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee ("Micro UAS Committee") was convened by the FAA and made final recommendations for the classification and operation of micro drones (or drones weighing less than .5 lbs.). Their recommendations relate to regulations of micro drones for all uses other than for hobby or recreational purposes.
What do these recommendations mean for you?

These recommendations will have no immediate effect on you as a professional photographer interested in incorporating drone photography into your business. We still expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of "small" drones (under 55 lbs.) within the next few months, which should make it much more feasible for photographers to pursue professional drone photography. See PPA's March Capitol Hill update for more on the forthcoming regulations.
The micro drone recommendations could potentially lead to relaxing some previously proposed small drone regulations for the smallest and lightest drones in the under 55 lbs. classification and increasing some restrictions for those on the heavier end. This is still in the early stages.
Based on our initial read, the Micro UAS Committee recommends breaking up "small" drones into four categories and, under this structure, drone manufacturers would be required to demonstrate that their drones qualify for a specific category. The committee recommends drones less than 0.5 lbs. should be permitted to fly over crowds. Additionally, operators of drones under 0.5 lbs. should have less burdensome certification requirements than other small drone operators. Specifically, they should be able to take an online (rather than in-person) test, and be exempt from having to get a TSA background check.

PPA continues to have a substantial voice and weight in the discussion on small and micro drone classifications and regulations. Here is some of our feedback on these initial official recommendations:

-    PPA is very much in favor of creating a sub-classification for the smallest of small drones
-    PPA supports the FAA's exploration of ways to carve out specific recommendations for micro drones
-    PPA continues to review the recommendations in an effort to gain a better understanding of how the different drone categories will apply to the currently available pool of drones on the market.
-    If a less costly, less burdensome testing and certification process is created, we would like to see it made available to users of drones weighing slightly beyond 0.5 pounds.

Don't be misled or misinformed - before you go looking for information on drones anywhere online, be sure to check right here on PPA's Blog and on This is where we keep all the latest info on regulations PPA is always striving to keep you safe and legal, and we're updating drone info as soon as it comes out.. Be More Protected!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on April 8, 2016 9:25 PM.

Drones, Filters for that 'Ansel Adams-look' and Seeking Perfection: Our Top 10 Blogs from 4/2 - 8 was the previous entry in this blog.

PPA Launches NEW Copyright Infringement Assistance Tool is the next entry in this blog.

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