The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to work on its proposed rule which would allow the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, over people, expected (hopefully) to be released before the end of the Obama Administration next week. For the final rule, of course, there is no set timeline. FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta, did say, however, “I can give you my steadfast commitment that we are doing all that we can to advance this effort. And we will be looking to our industry partners to work with us to develop more ingenious ways to ensure that drones are able to fly over people without sacrificing safety or security.” As we noted in our previous post, this rule would greatly expand UAS operations across many different industries.

Huerta said, “Allowing [UAS] to fly over people raises safety questions because of the risk of injury to those underneath in the event of a failure. It also raises security issues. As drone flights over people become more and more commonplace, imagine the challenge of a local police officer who is trying to determine which drones are properly there to photograph the festivities and which might be operated by individuals with more nefarious purposes.”

After this rule has been finalized, the FAA hopes to release a rule allowing beyond-visual-line-of-sight drone operations as well.