As I was saying …

Drones? Who knew?

Historically, we've had few reasons to celebrate new federal regulations (for all the obvious reasons). As a rule, we tend to break out in hives whenever government officials say they want to help us.

And now comes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the first step in the rulemaking process, addressing the commercial use of drones. And dare I say it? The proposal seems downright reasonable.

Under current law, drones may not be operated for commercial purposes without an exception from the FAA, and those have been exceedingly hard to obtain. Even when an exception is granted, the drone operator must have a pilot's license. Needless to say, that combination has limited the legal use of drones for roofing-related purposes.

Under the new NPRM, there would be a straightforward process for using drones for commercial purposes, such as measuring or evaluating roofs. The drone would have to weigh less than 55 pounds; the operator would have to be certified; the drone could not operate at a height greater than 500 feet; the operator would have to maintain a line of sight with the drone at all times; and drones could only be flown in daylight.

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