I guess it’s too soon for this type of thing. The FAA’s decision to ground the Lakemaid beer drone comes as no surprise. The Minnesota brewery came up with the idea of delivering beer to thirsty ice fishers by drone, but the FAA have given a clear “Oh no you don’t” citing the safety of people on the ground and in the air.
The Lakemaid beer drone was inspired by the recent news that Amazon were experimenting with drone deliveries. Drone deliveries in urban areas present all kinds of hazards that don’t exist in open country, nor, for example, over frozen lakes. Even so, there are lower limits to the height at which drones can legally fly over people etc.
Minnesota ice fishers will have to continue to carry enough beer to last their excursions or revert to more traditional methods for going back to the store for more. Meanwhile, testing and experimenting by various companies will continue while the FAA and other aviation authorities draw up legislation and guidelines for the use of commercial delivery drones. It is expected that the FAA will issue new guidelines on the safe use of commercial drones by 2015.
Q. Do I need a licence to fly UAV? A. According to the CAA, if you intend to use it for any kind of data capturing or surveillance, then yes, you do need a licence. You may also be required to inform the CAA before commencing any flights.
Q. What are the licence types?
A. There are three main licence types covering three different categories of mass. Please note: this is a guide. You should always refer to the CAA’s website for definitive answers, notes, exceptions, and exemptions.
|Total Aircraft Mass||Airworthiness Approval Required?||Registration Required?||Operating Permission Required?||Pilot Qualification (Licence)|
|<20 kg and less||No||No||Yes||Yes BNUC-STM or equivalent|
|>20 kg, up to and including 150 kg||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, BNUCTM or equivalent|
|>150 kg||EASA Permit to Fly or UK Permit to Fly in accordance with ‘B conditions’||Yes||Yes||Yes, BNUCTM, CPL(A) or equivalent|
2014 might just be the year that goes down in history as the year in which civilian and commercial drone usage really took off (pun intended, and it won’t be the last time it’s used). With this in mind we’ve compiled this list of 10 commercial uses for drones, but we expect to expand this tenfold in the months to come.
Look to the skies, the drones are coming!