On June 21, 2016, the FAA released the Small UAS Rule, which now permits widespread commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The rule addresses permitted activities for commercial operations of UAS that are 55 lbs or less, inclusive of payload. The rule will go into effect in August 2016.
The rule defines permissible operations for UAS in this size category. The rule also defines the education and testing requirement for UAS operators. A new certificate class and testing regime unique to UAS operators will result in more predictability in the market for UAS services and service providers, making it easier for real estate professionals to access this service.
The operational limitations defined in the rule do not differ much from what the FAA proposed in February 2015. Flights are limited to daylight operations within the operator's line of sight, at a maximum speed of 100 MPH and 400' above ground level (AGL). The FAA has indicated its willingness to work with innovators who want to experiment with new applications of UAS that would not fit within the permissible operations of the rule.