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13 Apr 2015


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The Impact of Drones & Your Small Business

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012  (Sec. 331) grans the Secretary of Transportation the authority to to develop a comprehensive plan to saftly accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems (otherwise known as Drones) into the national airspace system by September 30, 2015.

The FAA has published the proposed rule for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and is seeking feedback from the public by April 24, 2015.
These proposed rules includes the following guidelines:  unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs; they must be flown within Visual Line-of-Sight (VLOS); they may not be opperated over any persons not directly involved in the operation; they can only be flown in daylight; limited to a maximum speed of 100 mph and fly no higher than 500 feet above ground level; operator certification will be requried.

These proposed rules could adversely impact small businesses if they are too restrictive.  Small businesses could use drones in many ways that could enhance their existing businesses or start new businesses.  Some of these uses includes the following:


Aerial photography:  taking pictures of objects and events such as weddings and social gatherings.


Film/Cinematography:  Move production.  Replacing a helicopter with a drone could result in signficant savings.


Video Production:  Create videos for music, real estate sales pich, business promotion, etc.


Inspection:  Use it to inspect buildings, animals, crops on a plot of land, etc. A construction company can use it to perform inspections on work being done.


Surveilence:  For small businesses in the security industry this can be used to conduct security surveilence of an area that theyíre providing security for or are about to travel through. 


Mapping:  Map an area.  Use it to produce more recent maps with better resolution than what you can get from Google Earth. 


Emergency response:  Assist in search and rescue operations.  Drones can go where it is too dangerous for manned aicraft to go. 


Delivery:  Drones can also be used to deliver products to customers.  This was a use first proposed by to provide delivery to their customers within the hour of a purchase being made.  Small businesses will have to compete with these large companies and provide comparable services.


Internet Service:  Drones can be equipped with telecommunications equipment and serve as relay stations for wireless service to provide Internet connection service.  This use is being explored by companies like Google and Facebook.  Any startup trying to enter the Internet Service Provider (ISP) industry will have to contend with this new approach.


News Gathering:  More and more news organizations are using drones to gather information for news reporting.  Drones can get to a resitricted site and provide information in real time when reporters canít get access to the site.  They can be used to provide a live feed of an event in progress.

The less restrictive the regulations the easier it will be for small businesses to adopt and use drones to enhance their small businesses and start new businesses and offer services that havenít yet been contemplated.  The use of drones will impact many industries and create jobs in the manufacturing and use of them.  

Easy access to the use of drones means that small business can enter into areas that was once only accessible to large businesses with deep pockets.  Imagine having to purchase or rent a helicopter as a startup business to do what you can do with a drone today.  That would be cost prohibitive.  With the advent of droens small businesses have a way to compete with larger businesses.

Make your comments to this proposed rule by visiting the comment page.


FAA Drone Rules
FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012

By Wendy Stewart













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