The Federal Aviation Administration is slowly working out regulations to cover drone flight, trying to strike a balance between the potential for nuisance or invasion of privacy and the legal right of drone operators to fly their craft, either for hobby or profit.
At present hobby use of drones for fun is legal, as long as certain existing regulations governing model aircraft are followed. They typically allow flight up to 400 feet in areas at least 5 miles (about 8 kilometers) from an airport, unless permission is received from the airport operator.
Commercial drone use has been restricted for several years, but the FAA recently began issuing permission to a limited number of companies to fly drones. Rules are stricter and require the operator hold a private pilot license and a current medical certificate, the drone must remain within line of sight at all times, and the pilot must be assisted by an observer.
So far, the FAA has approved 24 companies to fly drones and has received applications from 342 companies.
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