As 2020 ended, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finalized new rules for drones used in the workplace. Significant changes to Part 107 in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations are listed below:

  • Creation of four categories of operation (1, 2, 3, and 4) based on drone weight and the level of risk presented to people on the ground if struck by an out of control drone
  • Drones must be capable of remote identification by installing one of two types of broadcast modules within 30 months of the effective date. If not, drones may only fly in designated FAA geographic areas.
  • Requirement for remote pilots to have their remote pilot certificate in their physical possession and readily available during operations
  • Updated operating rules for operations classified 1, 2, 3, and 4 which includes permission to fly over people and moving vehicles without a waiver if certain conditions are met
  • Operations can be performed at night but drones must be equipped with anti-collision lights meeting the amendment’s specifications. Remote pilots must also pass an updated initial test or the updated recurrent online training before engaging in a night operation

An executive summary of the changes can be found on the FAA website. The new operating rules will go into effect 60 days after being published in the Federal Register expected to happen sometime this month. Members using drones should update their policies and retrofit their drone(s) accordingly.