The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday raised the altitude authorization for commercial and government drones to 400 feet from 200 feet.
“Expanding the authorized airspace for these operations means government and industry can carry out unmanned aircraft missions more quickly and with less red tape,” FAA Administration Michael Huerta said in a statement posted online.
Under the change, authorized commercial and government operators can fly up to 400 feet if they apply for a waiver from the FAA to do so.
“The FAA’s decision to raise the operating altitude of the blanket COA from 200 feet to 400 feet provides greater flexibility to those receiving FAA exemptions and makes it easier for more commercial UAS operators to access the skies,” said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, in a statement online. AUVSI advocates for the drone and robotics industries.
The FAA has proposed, but has yet to finalize, a provision known as the small UAS rule that would let commercial drones fly up to 500 feet and ease application procedures for commercial operators. Currently, commercial drone flyers must apply for waivers from the FAA on a case-by-case basis.