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All-American Drones47:02
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New rules for drones proposed by the FAA. Amazon’s not happy. We’ll look at the American drone future.

Dan Johnson of Sensurion Aerospace carries the Sensurion Aerospace Magpie commercial drone during an event Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, near Boulder City, Nev. The event was to announce the FAA's first issuance of an unmanned aerial systems test site special airworthiness certificate. (AP)
Dan Johnson of Sensurion Aerospace carries the Sensurion Aerospace Magpie commercial drone during an event Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, near Boulder City, Nev. The event was to announce the FAA's first issuance of an unmanned aerial systems test site special airworthiness certificate. (AP)

New rules proposed last week for small drones – 55 pounds and under - in America.  For the kinds of buzzing, hovering, little workhorses that are suddenly showing up all over the country, the culture, even – uninvited - on the White House lawn.  The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing only “within sight” use.  Within 500 feet of the operator.  Enough to do a lot of cool or unnerving things – depending on how you look at it.  Not enough for Amazon to send your new purchase by drone.  Amazon’s pushing back.  We’ve got their lobbyist, and more.  This hour On Point: the future of drones in America.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jack Nicas, aviation reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@jacknicas)

Michael Drobac, executive director of the Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Coalition. Senior policy advisor at the Akin Gump Law Firm. (@michaeldrobac)

Gregory McNeal, professor of law and public policy at Pepperdine University. (@gregorymcneal)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Drone Ban? Corporations Skirt Rules -- "Some large corporations have been chancing violating federal policy because they say drones can lower their costs, capture data previously not available, and give them aerial views of their operations that help them better plan projects and operate more efficiently. The firms’ drone flights illustrate how eager companies are to use the devices—even in the face of an official ban—and suggests the likely boom in commercial drone use once the new rules are final."

USA Today: FAA plans land short of the mark: Opposing view -- "We applaud the FAA for proposing a flexible, risk-based regulatory framework that promises to open up the nation's airspace to commercial operations of small unmanned aircraft, and for its recognition that the safety risks posed by small drones are fundamentally different than the risks inherent in manned aircraft.  In several respects, however, the proposed rules fall short of the mark. The most important is simply that the proposed rules change nothing right now. Whether a set of final rules comes out by the end of 2015, or not until 2017 as some have predicted, the publication of the proposed rules does not authorize any commercial operation now."

Washington Post: Here’s what drone advocates love and hate about the FAA’s proposed rules — "Many observers expected commercial drone operators to be required to receive a private pilot license. The handful of businesses to receive FAA exemptions to fly currently have been required to go to flight school, receiving the training one might get to fly a Cessna. Under the proposed rules, drone operators would be required to pass a test at an FAA-approved testing center and obtain an unmanned-aircraft-operator certificate. This should cost hundreds of dollars instead of the thousands it costs for a private pilot license."

This program aired on February 23, 2015.

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