FAA may relax drone rules about flying over crowds and at night

The Federal Aviation Administration made a surprise announcement today: it has proposed new drone rules that would allow the aerial vehicles to be operated over crowds and at night without waivers. The change wouldn't completely eliminate the restrictions, but rather open the door for operating drones in these situations under specific conditions without first seeking explicit permission from the FAA.

The proposed rule changes were revealed in an announcement today by US Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine L. Chao, who also revealed a pilot project on how to safely integrate UAVs into the overall airspace system.

The first of the two, NPRM, may change an existing drone regulation, eliminating the need to get a waiver in certain conditions when flying a small drove over a crowd or at night. This proposal would also make a change in which drone pilots would need to present a remote pilot in command certificate when requested by certain local, state, and federal officials.

Finally, the NPRM would make a change that requires small drone operators to get training in sUAS operations every 24 months. This change, according to the proposal, would "reduce the knowledge testing burden" that current rules put on drone pilots.

As for the pilot project, ANPRM, the FAA plans to seek public comments to zero in on the security and safety problems that drones may pose to aircraft, national security, and the people on the ground beneath them. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management System Pilot Project will run through September 2019.