On April 15, AGC of America submitted comments to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on two regulatory proposals dealing with the use of drones. AGC supported FAA’s proposal to lift its ban on the nighttime operation of drones and to allow flights over people with appropriately categorized drones. AGC’s comments pointed out that operators should be able to rely on the manufacturer’s certifications about the drone’s compliance with the FAA standards and not have to independently verify them. AGC also suggested that flights over construction sites that have limited access should have a special waiver because construction workers are generally informed of potential flyovers and spotters can be used to ensure that operations are carried out safely.
AGC also called for a broader waiver for drone flights over vehicles which can be useful in highway construction for various inspections, including verifying traffic control devices are properly operating. FAA’s second regulatory initiative poses a series of questions asking for input on future potential regulatory initiatives. AGC’s comments addressed several issues including: establishing standoff distances near people or structures, drone speed, altitude limits, filing flight plans, and other issues. Generally, FAA has taken a flexible approach in the regulations in order to balance the need to mitigate the risk that small unmanned aircraft pose to other aircraft and to people and property on the ground without inhibiting innovation. AGC urged FAA to maintain this flexible approach.
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