On February 15th the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) published its recommendations concerning the flying of civilian drones for professional use. At present there is no law governing this activity in the US, whereas France, has had regulations in place since 2012; so what are the main similarities and differences between the two countries ?
Like France, the United States, prohibits drones from flying higher than 150 metres (500 feet) above ground, close to people, sensitive sites or airports, although for the time being, the FAA's proposal excludes out-of-site flights, which means that UAV pilots must be in constant visual contact with their machines.
Stéphane Morelli - President of the Professional Federation of Civil UAV ‘s
‘‘French regulations not only cover this situation, but also allow for the possibility of flying UAV’s in non-visual situations where the drone flies several kilometres from its pilot, which is much more forward-thinking, and gives many more interesting market opportunities for applications such as agriculture and surveillance in its broadest sense.’’
The FAA requires a drone operator to be a minimum of 17 years of age, and pass an exam every two years in order to obtain a permit. In France, the minimum age restriction is 15 years old, and although, today, there is no drone pilot's license as such, any civil UAV pilot must be in possession of a microlight or private pilot’s basic theory certification.
The White House wishes to ensure the protection of citizens’ privacy against visual or sound recordings by drones. In France, it is similar: taking images with a drone requires the same authorisation as that for film production.
US drone professionals have welcomed the federal agency proposals. It is estimated that 7,500 new civilian drones could be operating professionally in the American skies within the next five years, opening a potential market of over $ 80 billion and the creation of 100,000 jobs over the next decade.
The American proposals will be discussed over the next two months before being put to the vote scheduled for April.