FAA Issues First Commercial License for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
June 10, 2014 12:13 PM
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BP secure the first license for its AeroVironment Puma AE drone
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued the very first license to fly commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over U.S. land. However, within the next five years, the FAA reckons that there will be over 7,000 commercial drones flying the friendly skies.
The first license was issued to BP, which will use the
AeroVironment RQ-20A Puma AE
to “survey BP pipelines, roads and equipment” in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The Puma AE is a hand-launched drone that was originally designed for military applications, but is now also being used in the private sector. The 13.5-pound drone has a length of 4.6 feet and a wingspan of 9.2 feet. In can travel at up to 51 mph, has an operating altitude of 500 feet, and can stay aloft for 3.5+ hours.
"These surveys on Alaska's North Slope are another important step toward broader commercial use of unmanned aircraft," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "The technology is quickly changing, and the opportunities are growing."
first selected six aerial done test locations
back in December, and the first commercial test site
opened in North Dakota in late April
. But while things are just getting started with regards to commercial licensing, it may be a while before Amazon starts
dropping packages off at your doorstep with UAVs
Federal Aviation Administration
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RE: FAA license?
6/10/2014 7:41:59 PM
Sort of. The issue is that FAA was trying to expand the definition of the their own existing rules to regulate people who fall in sort of a gray area between hobbyists and commercial aircraft. The FAA's position is that there is no gray area, but the judge said if you strictly applied that logic then paper airplanes and kite would be regulated.
Basically the FAA has to rewrite their rules, but that ain't no easy task. Existing manned aircraft and exponential growth of drone flights are on a collision course....Figuratively and literally.
What I worry about is that drone use is approved without the drones really showing the ability to see and avoid which are the rules that all VFR aircraft abide by. And once the big money gets behind drone use, I see general aviation then having to jump through extra safety hoops and other additional operational limitations because the drones aren't capable of true VFR flight.
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