New rules for drones affect local businesses

New rules for drones affect local businesses

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - There could be new rules for businesses using drones.

Right now, commercial drones are illegal with only a few exceptions, but the Federal Aviation Administration has proposed new regulations for them.

In Charleston, a few different companies use drones. Skyview Aerial Solutions boasts itself as being the only one using them for both business purposes like taking photos of real estate and assisting public agencies.

Even though the FAA's new rules aren't official yet, the companies owners are already excited.

"The reaction was positive," Andy McKitrick, a co-owner of Skyview Aerial Solutions said. "What we heard coming down the pipeline previously was that there were going to be some pretty strict regulations."

The new rules would allow any drones under 55 pounds to be flown for commercial purposes. The person flying them would have to keep the drone in sight, stay below 500 feet and be at least 17 years old and pass a flight test. They would also not be allowed to fly at night.

Even with all these requirements, McKitrick says the new rules open up a lot of new opportunities.

"The FAA is only citing like four different uses for drones when there are vastly many more," McKitrick said. "Public agencies have a real fear or worry about the legality of it, and they're being very timid on actually engaging or purchasing drones so I think this is going to turn into a positive."

The FAA estimates allowing commercial drones would have a $100 million impact nationwide.

It could still be a while before the rules become official. They have to pass through a public comment phase, which could take as long as two years.

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