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Issue link: http://insideunmanned.epubxp.com/i/741945
6 unmanned systems inside October/November 2016 T he FAA has finally released their "Part 107" rules for small UAS, making it le- gal to f ly UAS weighing less than 55 pounds under specified conditions. This is a long, long overdue set of rules govern- ing well known technology that's been in use since the early days of f lying. No kid- ding—the first "drone" f light in the U.S. was in 1917. Nevertheless, the FAA did give solid guidance for the private and com- mercial drone industry. The rules are rela- tively restrictive, as I'll discuss. But there is hope—every restriction I'll mention can be waived if applicants can devise mitigat- ing measures acceptable to the FAA. The problem is the FAA isn't giving guidelines on what they will—and won't—accept in a waiver package. I'll cover what we got from Part 107, what we didn't get and, most important- ly, what we NEED from either new rules or waivers to the cur- rent ones. The first restriction is that UAS must weigh less than 55 pounds. We received a decent upper weight limit in this rule. It's based on previous rules for model aircraft, not on any research showing maximum weights that are least likely to cause damage in a crash. What we didn't get out of this ruling was enough weight to f ly long distances, carry a decent payload or provide enough power for useful sensors like synthetic ap- erture radar. What we need from the FAA is a way ahead for large UAS rules. I have no doubt the FAA will get what they regulate from this rule; industry will come up with tremendously innovative ways to squeeze every ounce of performance out of those 55 pounds. What we won't get is a drone that can carry cargo from Memphis to Tokyo or a UAS that can deliver a donated heart directly from a country hospi- tal to a big city two states away. The weight just isn't enough for long distance flight with a large payload. The next restriction is that UAS cannot f ly over 400 feet or faster than 78 knots. What we got was airspace the FAA Photos courtesy of Altavian and microdrones PART 107 by JAMES POSS, MAJ GEN (RET) USAF, CEO ISR IDEAS WHAT WE GOT, WHAT WE DIDN'T, WHAT WE NEED. WILL DRONES NEED A 360 ° TARGET DETECTION CAPABILITY TO SAFELY FLY BLOS? UAS MUST WEIGH LESS THAN 55 LBS UAS CANNOT FLY OVER 400 FEET OR FASTER THAN 78 KNOTS PILOTS NEED A TSA CHECK AND A REMOTE LICENSE DRONES CAN'T FLY OVER PEOPLE MUST FLY WITHIN VISUAL LINE OF SIGHT AND CAN ONLY FLY IN DAYLIGHT PART 107 RULES General Overview by James Poss, Maj Gen (RET) USAF Altavian's amphibious Nova unmanned aircraf t flies low over the waves.