The FAA is now seeking public comment on proposed rules to safely integrate small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace.
The advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) signals the agency is moving closer to integrating small UAS, defined as weighing less than 55 pounds, into the national airspace, drawing on permissions that were granted in August 2016 under an agency rule known as Part 107.
The ANPRM requests comment on whether the FAA should require standoff distances or the use of UAS traffic management (UTM) and how to limit small UAS airspeed, altitude, payloads and more. Small UAS are currently limited to a maximum groundspeed of 87 knots and a maximum altitude of 400 feet above the ground or within 400 feet of a structure.
In a related rulemaking action, the FAA is proposing to allow small UAS operations at night and over people, but the agency states it will not finalize this rule until regulations for remote identification of small UAS are in place.
The comment period closes on April 15.