First commercial drone flights over land are approved by FAA
The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that it has granted the first permission for commercial drone flights over land, the latest effort by the agency to show that it is loosening restrictions on commercial uses of the unmanned aircraft.
Drone-maker AeroVironment of Monrovia, Calif., and the energy corporation BP have been given permission to use a Puma drone to survey pipelines, roads and equipment at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, the agency said. The first flight took place Sunday.
Made by AeroVironment, the Puma is a small, hand-launched craft about 41 / 2 feet long and with a nine-foot wingspan. It was initially designed for military use.
Drones are often less expensive to operate than manned aircraft and easier to maneuver. Equipped with 3D cameras, the Puma will provide images, currently unavailable, of hard-to-reach places, BP and AeroVironment say.
[Source: Washington Post]