On The Rise—Operating a Drone For Commercial Purposes*April 15, 2016 – Articles
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (a.k.a. drones) is on the rise. If you have, or are planning to purchase, a drone for commercial use, the following checklist illustrates the key steps you need to accomplish before taking flight.
1. Identify an operator that has an Airmen’s Certificate.
- 49 U.S.C. §§ 44703, 44711.
- See also http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/
2. Register on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website and label your drone.
- If your drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs. but less than 55 lbs., register here: http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/
- If your drone weighs less than 0.55 lbs, no registration is required.
- If your drone weighs more than 55 lbs, more stringent authorizations apply.
3. Submit an application for and obtain a Section 333 Exemption.
4. Submit and obtain a Certificate of Authorization (for flying at altitudes above 200 feet).
- Can be submitted concurrently with Section 333 Exemption Application.
5. Investigate your need for drone insurance.
- Typical commercial general liability (CGL) policies exclude coverage.
- Insurance Services Office Inc. (ISO) endorsements available: Coverage A for bodily injury/property damage and Coverage B for personal/advertising injury.
- Stand-alone unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) policy.
6. Create and enforce a drone operating procedure.
- Create a standardized pre-flight checklist.
- Have a flight plan.
- Are you planning to fly within a restricted zone (i.e., airport, public arena)? If so, specific approvals/notices apply.
- FAA App: B4UFLY (http://www.faa.gov/uas/b4ufly/)
- Create a standardized post-flight checklist.
- Battery recharging.
- Storage and cleaning after flights.
- Preventive maintenance procedures.
7. Create and enforce internal policies on drone use.
- Personal use of drone by employees.
- Create and use standardized notices to property owners and people encountered during drone flights.
For a discussion of additional consideration specific to the use of drones in the real estate development and construction industries, read more here.
*Regulations are constantly changing. Considerations differ for entities hiring a third-party drone service provider and for recreational use of a drone. Please contact your Dinsmore attorney to discuss this checklist or your industry-specific concerns regarding drone use.