Last Wednesday was supposed to be an important date in the drone world. Why? September 30th, 2015 was the self-imposed Congressional deadline for establishing national drone regulations. Originally set in 2012, Congress instructed the FAA to find a way to integrate drones into US airspace. However, the FAA has failed to do so and the commercial drone industry suffers. When will the FAA provide the commercial drone industry with what it needs?
Until the FAA acts, commercial drone operators are forced to jump through hoops to run their businesses. The current solution the FAA offers is the Section 333 Exemption, and you can’t legally run a commercial drone business without one. Ready for the hoop? In order to qualify as a Section 333 Exempt pilot, you will need a “recreational or sport pilot certificate” (or better).
The Federal Aviation Administration failed to meet Wednesday’s deadline for creating national drone regulations.
“Our main, overriding goal is safety,” an FAA spokesperson told NBC News, noting that final rules for drone flight should be in place “late next spring.”
Back in 2012, Congress told the FAA to find a way to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones, into U.S. airspace. Right now, commercial drone operators work in a regulatory gray zone, many hoping to get something called a “Section 333 exemption” that lets them fly before the official rules have been worked out. So far, 1,800 of those exemptions have been handed out, according to the FAA.
In immediate response, a group of 29 industry organizations sent an open letter to the FAA urging them to action. The letter was well stated and had some very strong points:
The increasing number of businesses applying for Section 333 exemptions demonstrates the pent-up demand for commercial UAS operations and the immediate need for a regulatory framework.
The benefits of UAS are significant. Whether it is assisting first responders with rescue missions, helping the insurance industry more efficiently survey damages due to natural disasters, or helping farmers improve crop yields, the applications of UAS are virtually limitless and enable public agencies and businesses to do things safer and more cost effectively. In fact, it is estimated that this industry will create more than 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact during the first decade following integration. With the right regulatory environment, there is no question these numbers could go higher. But with each passing day that commercial integration is delayed, the United States continues to fall behind.
As the letter states, there is “pent-up demand for commercial UAS operations” and immense job opportunities. Even with the lack of regulatory framework, because of the Section 333 Exemption option, more and more commercial drone businesses are being started each day. That translates into immediate career opportunities for skilled drone operators. If you can see yourself in a drone related career, then consider Drone Universities. We are a drone college that can provide you the comprehensive education you will need. Drone Universities offers drone operator training, LSA certification (so you can qualify for a Section 333 Exemption) and free Section 333 Exemptions for our qualifying graduates.