FAA tipped to require pilot license for commercial drone use

The issue of commercial drone usage is (slowly) nearing an end, and that end could come in the form of fairly severe restrictions. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Federal Aviation Administration will soon propose regulations on commercial drone usage — including for small and ultra-light drones — by the end of the year, and among the regulations will be a requirement that operators have a license and undergo pilot certification training, which likely includes learning to pilot manned aircraft.

The information is said to come from "people familiar with the rule-making process." Says these sources, the FAA will be proposing its regulations by the end of the year, which will lead into a public commenting period during which drone operators can discuss any concerns they might have.

Those concerns are likely to be high, if the rumored proposal details are correct. Among them, all drones weighing under 55lbs will be aggregated under the same regulations, which will require operators to have a license and to have pilot certifications.

The proposal will also reportedly seek to limit drone flights to daylight hours and require them to be kept below 400 feet. The person piloting will have to be able to see the drone at all times, as well. If this proposal pans out, it would be a large blow to operators hoping to use drones for all sorts of tasks, including ones as simple as mounting an action camera on a small quadcopter.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal