June 2, 2015 - In 2014, Blackbird blogged about the use of drones and their possible impact on the various industries we serve. Since then, much has changed legally regarding the future of drone activity. In the six months since the previous blog, the FAA has gone from stating that it is illegal to fly drones, to setting up regulations making it soon possible for certain drones to be flown.
The Washington Post reported that “thousands of businesses could receive clearance to fly drones two years from now under proposed rules that the FAA unveiled, a landmark step that will make automated flight more commonplace”.
Some of the regulations the FAA will impose on businesses include:
- Operators must pass a written proficiency test, register the drone and pay about $200 in fees.
- Operators will NOT have to obtain a regular pilot’s license or demonstrate their flying skills.
- Drones will be allowed to fly only during daylight hours, remain within eyesight of the operator or observers posted on the ground.
- Drones can fly no faster than 100 mph, stay below 500 feet altitude and CANNOT fly over bystanders that are not directly involved in the operation.
These proposed regulations may not be favorable to businesses such as pizzerias or even Amazon.com, both of which who could potentially use drones deliver goods to their customers. However, they may be favorable for many industries, including some that Blackbird auctions deals with directly. For example, real estate auction properties can be surveyed and aerial photographs can be taken of various job sites and projects. These aerial photos can be helpful in appraising both property and large businesses. They can also be used to aid in the setup and removal of future auctions conducted by Blackbird Asset Services nationwide.
As of now, the drones must weigh 55 pounds or less, which makes delivering materials to jobsites difficult, but the FAA states that they are still drafting rules for larger drones. These rules are expected to be modified and loosened as drone technology advances but will take a few more years to sort out. We will continue to watch these drone regulations carefully to see how the various industries that Blackbird deals with are effected.