Last month, the FAA proposed a framework of regulations to allow the integration of sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft Systems) into the U.S. aviation system. That’s great news because it’s a step forward in providing you and us with a proper set of rules to facilitate the development of drone usage. We thought it was a good opportunity to give everyone some insight on how these regulations actually work, so here goes.
First, let us say something a bit unpleasant but very true: drones are potentially harmful because like anything that flies, they can fall. They also have a bad rep because of their military background. That’s just how things are but we’re out there everyday to show the world that this is a flawed preconception. For that matter, we believe regulations are extremely important because they provide us and our community of drone users with a framework to showcase the best things one can accomplish with UASs. We also believe that we have a role to play as a manufacturer to provide a safe experience and we are being very active on the safety front.
The proposal the FAA just released deals with non-hobby and non-recreational use of sUAS, a category that’s relevant for professional using larger types of drones, when HEXO+ for instance falls into the model aircraft category. To be considered as a model aircraft you need to:
In case you plan on using HEXO+ for non-hobby and non-recreational purposes (i.e. you’re working), according to the proposal, your usage falls under the FAA’s proposal. There is a subcategory called micro UAS (see p. 9557) for which regulations are different from the ones for UASs over 55 pounds:
The grey area for HEXO+ is when the rule for micro UASs addresses autonomous flight. Specifically it says that ‘the operator would not use automation to control the flight path’ and ‘the operator would maintain manual control of the flight path of the unmanned aircraft at all times’. HEXO+ is a self-flying camera, but we are making sure the user eventually has full control of his drone to stop action, kill motors, land or return to home, which we believe is what’s key in ensuring a safe use. This will be the subject of a future blog post by the way.
That’s what we thought was interesting for you to know. Since we want to provide the FAA with feedback about the proposed rule, I would love to hear from you about what you think your planned usage of your own HEXO+ so that we can make ourselves heard on non-hobby or non-recreational uses of our flying camera.