Friday, September 01, 2017

A look at who's breaking the drone rules - legally - in North Carolina

As drone use picks up, so are the special waivers that allow some pilots to break the rules - legally.

Since enacting drone rules a year ago, the Federal Aviation Administration has granted more than 1,074 waivers, allowing pilots to fly outside of the regulations, according to new numbers from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

Just 33 of those waivers, however, have been granted in the state of North Carolina. Compare that to California, which tops the list of states in terms of granted waivers, with 136.

FAA drone rules include regulations that require drone operators to fly the devices below 400 feet, within a pilot’s line of sight and during daylight hours only.

According to an AUVSI analysis of the paperwork, most of the waivers are to allow pilots to operate unmanned aerial systems at night. So far, drone operators in 47 states have used the waivers.

In North Carolina, records show the bulk of the users appear to be photography firms, such as Brian Mullins Photography in Apex and Aerobotic Imaging Services of Wilmington. But other entities, too, have requested and received the waivers, such as Wake Forest Fire Department and the RTI International (filed under Research Triangle Institute) in Durham.

In Raleigh, drone developer PrecisionHawk, North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Department of Transportation have all received waivers from the feds.

Here’s the breakdown of where the waivers are being granted in North Carolina, according to numbers disclosed by AUVSI at the behest of the Triangle Business Journal:

Wilmington: 6
Charlotte: 3
Raleigh: 3
Clayton: 2
Wake Forest: 2
Apex: 1
Boone: 1
Cornelius: 1
Durham: 1
Fairview: 1
Fuquay-Varina: 1
Gastonia: 1
Gibsonville: 1
Greensboro: 1
Hickory: 1
Holly Ridge: 1
Lumberton: 1
Midland: 1
Mint Hill: 1
Stoneville: 1
Waynesville: 1
Whitsett: 1

Original article can be found here ➤

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