27 Jun '14, 7pm

That Toy is Now a Drone, Says the FAA

According to my best reading of a notice the FAA announced on Monday , things like the US $154 Husban X4 quadcopter are no longer toys—they are true drone aircraft in the FAA's eyes and cannot be flown without a certificate of authorization or special airworthiness certificate. Huh? Up to now, the FAA has been distinguishing model aircraft from small drones (or small unmanned aerial systems, to use the FAA’s preferred terminology) according to whether they are flown for recreation or for commercial purposes. If you want to fly a 20-kilogram, turbine-powered radio-controlled model airplane, go right ahead, so long as you only do it as a hobby. Fly a 2-kilogram electric foamy for compensation, and you’re breaking the rules against commercial drone use, though. That was the basic argument the FAA had made against Raphael Pirker, who was issued with a $10,000 fine for flying a...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/aviation/tha...

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