In another step forward for drones, the Federal Aviation Administration last month officially authorized commercial use of some small unmanned aircraft for flights below 200 feet. Writer Clay Dillow explained the implications, and restrictions, in an article for Fortune magazine:

... here’s what it really means: If you weren't authorized to fly before, you still can’t. But for those with Section 333 exemptions, the FAA just slashed through a whole lot of red tape. Section 333 exemptions come with a lot of bureaucratic baggage. For instance, users that simply want to test a new flight software patch or use a drone to inspect something no higher than a power line have to file flight plans with the FAA. The blanket COA essentially allows those same companies to operate much more flexibly and without so much government oversight provided they’re willing to keep their aircraft below 200 feet ... The hope is that with more commercial drones in the air as a result of the new blanket COA policy that increased FAA confidence in specific drone platforms and use cases will help speed along the approval process...

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