FAA lays out proposed rules for commercial use of drone - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

FAA lays out proposed rules for commercial use of drone

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

A high-flying piece of technology debated for a decade is one step closer to being a part of normal life.

Sunday, the Federal Aviation Administration drafted a proposed set of rules for the use of small commercial drones

Steven Zeets is a professional land surveyor and done consultant in Eastern Iowa.

Zeets works with an agricultural company, EZAg and Terraplane, LLC, an Iowa City company that wants to use drones for surveying and engineering.

He's among more than 200 firms across the country wanting permission from the government to use the birds-eye view piece of technology.

He says Friday, while he was checking for an update on an exemption he filed last year to fly his drones, he came across an economic analysis from the FAA, detailing the rules.

However, shortly after the 89 page report was taken down.

"I was thinking, 'Wow, they released the rules.' So I click on it and pull it up. I'm excited, I started reading it."

Zeets says these drones give dramatic new angles for realtors, farmers and companies banking on unmanned aircraft - for places man can't go.

And it seems like the FAA is recognizing that.

Under their new proposed rules, operators can only fly within their line of sight, and can only fly during the daylight hours. They must fly under 500 feet and be five miles away from airports. They must also be certified by the FAA.

"Very accurate information from the ground," said Zeets. "Accurate imagery to measure in 3-d to look at crops. I mean it's endless. The resolution, the accuracy, the detailed data that you can get and see with it is much better. thousands folds better than you can get with manned aircraft or satellites."

Even with these new proposed rules covering drones under 55 pounds, safety concerns like who's flying the aircraft and where - has been a controversial topic.

"The public perception of them is skewed because no one has educated the public about the good side of it," said Zeets.

Again, for right now the rules are still up in the air - so timing is still unclear.

The public has about 60 days to weigh in.

 
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