Who is allowed to fly a drone? That depends | #DroneWatch | Scoop.it
A law passed last year by President Barack Obama gave U.S. regulators until September 2015 to cobble together rules to oversee unmanned flight.


The FAA estimates that by 2020, there will be 30,000 drones in the skies above the U.S. Current laws do not address the privacy concerns hanging over an industry that has produced some drones the size of commercial jets, and others smaller than a sparrow.


“It’s a crazy, daunting task, trying to write sweeping legislation for a new technology,” said Wells Bennett, a visiting fellow in national security at the Brookings Institution who has studied civilian drones. “You need both people who are steeped in cutting-edged technology at the same time as understanding the arcane regulatory regime.”


Bennett said many federal and state agencies ranging from the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to NASA are contributing to the FAA’s efforts.


A spokeswoman for the FAA, Alison Duquette, said that out of the agency’s total workforce of 49,031, 39 federal employees are currently working on the integration.


The application for a Certificate of Authorization (COA) permitting operation of a drone is about 22 pages. Duquette told the Star the information sought in the application “will enable us make an informed decision on whether to approve the COA application.”


But who should be allowed to operate a drone?


It will depend on the type of aircraft and the purpose, Duquette said. In some cases, such as recreational models, no authorization will be required, she said.


“In other cases, the pilots, observers and other personnel may require training and/or certification.”


Currently, the FAA allows some law enforcement and government agencies to obtain two-year certificates to operate drones. Corporations aren’t allowed to fly drones at all until the new FAA rules are introduced. Model airplane enthusiasts don’t face such restrictions, as long as they maintain sight of their toys and don’t let them fly higher than 150 metres.

Via ddrrnt