The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing to amend its rules regarding operations of small unmanned aircraft (sUAS) to all operations over people in certain conditions and operations of small UAS at night without obtaining a waiver. The proposed rule also stipulates that operators of sUAS present their flight certificate as well as identification to certain Federal, State, or local officials, upon request. Further, the knowledge testing requirements in the rules that apply to small UAS operations to require training every 24 calendar months.
In addition to these amendments, the FAA has put forth three categories of permissible operations over people based on the risk of injury they present:
- Category 1 – Operators would be able to fly sUAS weighing 0.55 pounds or less over people as sUAS weighing less than 0.55 pounds pose a low risk of injury when operating over people.
- Category 2 – Operators of drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds would be able to fly over people if the manufacturers of these drones can demonstrate that, if a crash were to occur, any injury caused would be under a set severity threshold.
- Category 3 -- allows for a higher injury threshold than Category 2, but would have three parts. Specifically:
- That upon impact with a person there would not be an injury as severe as the injury that would result from a transfer of 25 ft-lbs of kinetic energy from a rigid object;
- That there are no exposed moving parts that could lacerate skin; and
- That there is no FAA-identified safety defect that presents more than a low probability of causing a fatality when operating over people.