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FAA releases new guidance for flying drones

Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 7:01 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Federal Aviation Administration has announced new rules for drone users.

Those rules will ease restrictions on the use of drones and could mean you’ll be seeing more of them in the air soon.

Those new rules aren’t set to take place for another 32 months and will apply mostly to commercial drone pilots, but the new guidelines will address security concerns and make drones easier to track.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s new guidelines allow drones to operate at night and over people - a welcome change for Part 107, or commercial drone, pilots.

“What we do with our drones really, and this is the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of drone owners, is we just like to fly them around. I fly around in my neighborhood,” said FAA Safety Team Drone Pro Vic Moss.

The new rules will require remote identification technology, making them identifiable from the ground.

“Basically, it’s going to be information that will be broadcast from your drone itself and that will include how high your drone is, where your drone is, where you are located,” Moss said.

The remote ID will also track speed and whether a drone is operating in a safe mode.

But what does that mean if you’re just flying for fun?

“For recreational purposes, you’re actually going to have two different options. One will be that you can go ahead and have remote ID on your drone so you can fly wherever you want within FAA regulations, stay away from airports, that kind of thing, but if you don’t want to do that or you have a drone that you don’t want to do it, or even if you have an RC aircraft like you’ll see at some of the AMA fields, you’ll be able to go to something called a FRIA, which is an FAA Recognized Identification Area, and then you’ll be able to fly there without RID…remote ID,” Moss explained.

And if you’re wondering what this new guidance will mean for your privacy, Moss said you shouldn’t worry about drones flying near your windows or getting into your personal space.

He said you have a better chance of being spied on by a smartphone than with a drone.

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