The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been slow to regulate the use of drones for commercial purposes, but a September 2015 deadline set by Congress in 2012 is approaching. To be fair, the FAA has been quite busy overseeing 65,000 domestic commercial flights each day.
Other countries are faster at regulating commercial drones, and the U.S. could miss out on business if the FAA doesn’t catch up soon. For example, Amazon has threatened to launch its drone delivery service in Europe.
For now, commercial drones are not approved in the U.S., with a few exceptions. Meanwhile, recreational drones fly freely, without regulation or any piloting requirements. Popular quadcopter drones are potentially dangerous—because they aren’t regulated we don’t know what exactly would happen if these toys crash into airplanes.
The FAA issued a friendly warning video (above) with best practices for recreational drone use: don’t fly higher than 400 feet, stay away from crowds, keep the drone within your sight, etc. A PSA for recreational drones is better than nothing, but it certainly doesn’t come close to official regulation that Congress requires. The FAA says they will have a proposed rule for small commercial drones (under 50 pounds) later this year.