A mark in aviation history: NPRM for small UAS

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The recent release of the much anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for small UAS from the FAA marks a significant moment in this new era of aviation that is aerial robotics. As a drone geek and enthusiast, it’s encouraging to see a framework that will give a new generation of professional aviators access to the public good that is the national airspace system (NAS). And while it’s true that it will still take some time to allow for comment on this proposal before codifying it into law, there is a clear and reasonable path laid out by the FAA for evolving this hobby into a profession. However, the fact that the FAA doesn’t seem to want to address operations beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and within the urban environment strikes me as unnecessarily restrictive. It’s understandable to exercise caution on their first go at writing the rule, and there will be plenty of us continuing to remind them of the full context for aerial robotics as this proposal evolves to become the law.

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