Drone regulations are coming; they are inevitable. The Consumer Electronics Association estimated some 700,000 drones would be purchased by the end of 2015. There is a race to create rules by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to regulate them.
Congress mandated the FAA to prepare a plan to safely integrate drones by September 30, 2015. The date has come and gone. The FAA is working hard with the first step being registration. The FAA used its rule-making authority and issued an order on December 14, 2015, requiring the registration of all recreational drones. The FAA has yet to regulate the commercial use of drones. Without regulations of both recreational and commercial use of drones, uncertainties remain.
Potential regulations may address:
1. The maximum weight of drones;
2. Whether nighttime operation of drones is permissible;
3. The maximum height at which drones may fly;
4. The maximum speed of drones; and
5. Who may operate drones.
Guidance is needed. The FAA needs to insure its regulations will not inhibit innovation but must also address safety and liability concerns. From a liability perspective, operators of drones may be subject to suit for negligent operation, particularly if the operation is in violation of FAA rules and regulations. You might want to check with your insurance agent; insurance companies may have some concerns.
This webpage contains general information and not legal advice. It is based on Minnesota law in effect at the time of writing. An attorney at Farrish Johnson can advise you about how the law applies to your specific situation.