New Regulations for Commercial sUAS

What You Need To Know, and How to Take Action

NPRM: Has Everything Changed?

On February 15, 2015 the FAA released new proposed rules for Commercial sUAS. The public has until April 24 to comment.

Have things changed for the sUAS industry? Yes and no. The FAA has listened to our community on many of the key points we’ve expressed and has proposed useful and reasonable new regulations. Of course they could be further expanded and improved, but this is an enormous leap forward.

But this is just the beginning – if we want to see these become a reality, we need to speak up!

Submit your comments to the FAA!

Here are some key elements of the NPRM that we encourage you to support in your comments:


  1. Swift integration of initial commercial sUAS and its benefits into our economy
  2. Low barrier to entry for individuals and small businesses to participate
  3. Useful and reasonable safety standards
Summary of what the FAA is proposing

Operational Limitations

  • Line of sight (LOS)
  • Day, 3 miles visibility
  • 500′ max altitude
  • 55 pounds max weight
  • 100 mph max speed
  • Class B, C, D, E airspace with ATC permission
  • Not over uninvolved persons or crowds

Operator Requirements

  • Pass written knowledge exam
  • Age 17 or older
  • TSA background check

Aircraft Requirements

  • Aircraft registration
  • Aircraft markings

Not Required:

  • NO Private Pilots License
  • NO Medical Certificate
  • NO Practical Exam
  • NO Airframe Certification
  • NO Operator Training
  • NO Insurance
What is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)?

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), is a procedure used for a U.S. agency to listen to comments and concerns of people whom a new regulation will likely affect.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the agency authorized by the U.S. Congress to oversee all aspects of American civil aviation, is required by the Administrative Procedure Act to publish a NPRM before adding, removing, or changing any rule or regulation.

The NPRM is published in the Federal Register and typically gives 60 days for public comment from any interested party, and an additional 30 days for reply comments. If the comments from the initial NPRM drastically change the proposal to the point where further comment is required, it may be followed by a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM). Rules are finalized when a Report and Order (R&O) is issued.

When will these new regulations take effect?

Due to the length of the NPRM procedure, the soonest that new regulations for sUAS could practically become law would be the end of 2015, however it is unlikely that the FAA will meet that target. In addition to delays in 2014, it is probable that significant additional time will be required to address the large number of expected public comments. Therefore any new regulations coming from a NPRM in early 2015 would most likely not take effect until mid-2016 to early 2017 (1.5 to 2 years).

FAA Regulations are only one battle…

The Commercial sUAS industry still faces significant obstacles:

Local Restrictions

In California, Colorado, Texas, New York, and many other areas local and state lawmakers are capitalizing on the fears and ignorance of voters to introduce new bills banning the use of “drones”.

Tell us what issues you face in your area, so we can work together to help you!

Poor Public Relations

The media is eager to talk about the growing use of “drones”, but they are highlighting people’s negative fears in order to get audiences’ attention.

Our highest goal as an industry needs to be improving our public image. Support the ACUAS and it’s effort to showcase the positive benefits of Commercial sUAS!

ACUAS is here to help you and all users of Commercial sUAS. Share your ideas and show your support so we can work together for the success of our industry!