Government bureaucrats at the Federal Aviation Administration have proposed new rules that will effectively kill Amazon Prime Air, the revolutionary delivery service that would deliver products via drone . . . in 30 minutes or less.
The proposed FAA rules, labeled the “Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” would require drone operators to be at least 17 years of age and be certified by the FAA.
To operate a drone, the FAA believes 17 is the magic age, but to operate a balloon or glider, pilots can be 16 and be in training at any age.
The most significant rule would require line of sight for operators. Cameras or any other visual aid would not be permitted.
That rule in particular would put an end to Amazon Prime Air as drone “delivery men” would have to walk along side the drone to maintain line of sight.
The FAA would also limit drone flights to daylight hours, ending drone viewing of fireworks displays or any other nighttime fun stuff.
Current rules on the books are even more restrictive to commercial use of drones. Use is only permitted for businesses when they uses an FAA approved drone and the operator must hold a pilot’s license. Each operator must also apply for and receive an exemption from the FAA.
Commercial use is popular regardless. Home inspectors have adapted the technology to inspect roofs and structures for close up views, but have done so illegally under the onerous rules of the FAA.
Amazon, Google, GoPro, and a number of drone manufacturers have come together to fight the new rules that are open for public comment until April 24th.
The group, the Small UAV Coalition, is politely challenging the rules to lift the line of sight restrictions and increase the operating altitude.
In the event the FAA passes the rules, innovation in the technology will be crushed and drone use will likely be limited to hobbyists while commercial use will be limited to on-site jobs.