Skies Becoming Friendlier To Commercial Drones

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WASHINGTON D.C. (CBSMiami) — Federal Aviation Administration regulations for commercial drones took effect Monday. The long-awaited new rules open the skies to those who want to use the unmanned aircraft for their business.

The new commercial rules are similar to those of hobbyists. Drones are limited to less than 55 pounds, the aircraft must be registered, may not fly higher than 400 feet and the pilot must always be able to see it. They’re also prohibited from flying at night or faster than 100 miles per hour.

Drone operators no longer need to graduate flight school and get a pilot’s license. Now, they must pass a written test to earn a two-year drone pilot certification.

“Over the next 10 years, commercial unmanned aircraft systems could generate more than 82 billion dollars for the U.S. economy and by 2025 be supporting as many as 100-thousand new jobs,” explained Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Drones are already used for everything from inspecting farmland to surveying damage from the recent deadly earthquake in Italy.

“These aircraft truly have the potential to transform the way we fly,” said Foxx.

Many businesses often ignored the FAA’s previous rules, particularly the requirement of a pilot’s license.

The rules also limit the drones’ ability to fly over people, meaning Amazon won’t be delivering packages to your doorstep anytime soon.

Pilots can ask the FAA for a waiver from some rules. The agency estimates 600-thousand commercial drones will be flying in the U.S. within the year.

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