The first proposal for unmanned aircraft regulations appeared in the Federal Register yesterday. A small unmanned aircraft, less than 55 lbs, could fly for commercial purposes up to 500 feet above the ground. I am in favor of adopting new technologies, and I took the time to write some constructive comments for the official docket. This is just a summary.
Unmanned Aircraft at Class G Airports: I asked the FAA to add coordination procedures for unmanned aircraft operating on or near uncontrolled airports. It is nice to allow unmanned aircraft to use these airports, but the “see and avoid” rule seems like a bad idea for these tiny machines.
Unmanned Aircraft at Towered Airports: I asked the FAA to disallow unmanned flights at controlled airports when the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet. I did not see a reason why manned airplanes should share an airport under instrument flight rules with a visually operated unmanned aircraft.
Flight Instructors Accepting Certificate Applications: In granting the CFI privilege of accepting certificate applications, the FAA would create an authority similar to a pilot examiner. I think it is interesting that the assumed price for this application process is $50. Even without a practical test requirement, the CFI may be obligated to devote time to adequately research the regulations, to evaluate the applicant, and to assist the applicant in this process beyond what might be worth $50.