Drone on.

The FAA has finalized its rules for commercial drone use, eliminating the requirement of a pilot’s license and instead establishing a certification program and other operational restrictions. The rules take effect in late August, and will require drone pilots to be at least 16 years old and have a remote pilot certificate with a small drone rating; the drones must weigh 55 pounds or less, must be kept within the line of sight of the pilot and fly no more than 400 feet above ground. Pilots will have to take an aeronautic safety test once every two years. The new rules will apply to newsgathering operations using drones for story coverage. They don’t, however, address privacy concerns, although the agency will address the issue in the future. Commented U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, “We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief. We look forward to working with the aviation community to support innovation, while maintaining our standards as the safest and most complex airspace in the world.”

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