Drone rules and what they mean to ag

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

Wow, what a week of fair! It has been another successful county fair and there were many outstanding exhibits and exhibitors that showcased the many talents we have in Clinton County.

I want to thank the many volunteers, 4-H and FFA members and their families, and also a big thank you to all of the businesses and individuals that contributed to the fair and the many events. Clinton County is truly blessed with many gifted youth and this past week they let us see their many talents shine in so many different ways.

Because of all the talent, we will have several youth represent our county at state fair competitions in almost all project areas. All I can say is, “Well played!” to our youth … “Well played.”

While at the fair, I had many discussions with several farmers about crop conditions, the weather, etc. One topic that came up was the subject of drones and how they can be used on the farm to get on top of the crop and see what is happening.

Because this continues to be a hot topic in agriculture, I thought I would share some current information about Drone operations requirements and the rules and what it will mean to for agriculture. This information is provided by Peggy Kirk Hall, Ohio Stater University Ag Law specialist. This is just part 1 of that information:

Part 1: Drone Pilots Must Obtain FAA Certification

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) yesterday filed its final rule in the Federal Register for the Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). The new rule allows for the non-recreational operation of sUAS less than 55 pounds in the national airspace. Farmers and professionals planning to use UAS or “drones” for agricultural purposes must comply with the rule beginning on August 29, 2016. An important first step toward compliance is to obtain the proper license to operate a sUAS, referred to as “remote pilot certification” by the FAA.

The Remote Pilot Certification Requirement

The Remote Pilot in Command (Remote PIC) is the person who is directly responsible for the operation of the sUAS. The new rule requires the Remote PIC to obtain a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating. To do so, an applicant must meet eligibility requirements, pass a knowledge test and complete the application process.

1. Eligibility requirements. An applicant for a Remote PIC must be at least 16 years old, proficient in the English language, and in a physical and mental condition that would not interfere with safe operation of a sUAS.

2. Knowledge test. An applicant must pass the unmanned aircraft general (UAG) knowledge test before applying for the remote pilot certificate. The knowledge test, which will be available beginning August 29, 2016, will contain 60 multiple choice questions on:

• Federal regulations for sUAS

• Airspace classification and operating requirements

• Weather sources and effects of weather on sUAS

• Loading and performance of sUAS

• Emergency procedures

• Crew resource management

• Radio communication procedures

• Determining performance of sUAS

• Effects of drugs and alcohol

• Aeronautical decision-making

• irport operations and maintenance

• Preflight inspection procedures

The FAA provides a free online learning course for knowledge test preparation, available through www.faasafety.gov. The FAA also presents a sample exam on its website. Applicants must take the knowledge test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center. A list of Ohio’s 23 test centers is available atwww.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/media/test_centers.pdf. Passing the test requires a score over 70%; an applicant who fails the test may retake the test after 14 days.

Applicants already holding a pilot certificate, other than a student pilot, must follow a different process that includes completing a two-hour online course. The course, which includes an exam, is available through www.faasafety.gov.

3. Application. An applicant who passes the UAG knowledge test must complete the application for a remote pilot certificate, FAA Form 8710-13. The form will be available as a paper application or online through the FAA’s Integrated Airmen Certificate Rating Application System at https://iacra.faa.gov. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will then conduct a background security screening of the applicant to determine if the applicant represents a security threat. If the screening is successful, an applicant will receive the remote pilot certificate. An unsuccessful security screening will disqualify the applicant, who would have a right to appeal the security screening decision. Note that an applicant who uses the online application can obtain a temporary certificate online upon successful completion of the security screening, while an applicant who submits a paper application must wait to receive the permanent remote pilot certificate through U.S. mail. The FAA has announced that it hopes to issue a temporary remote pilot certificate within 10 business days after submission of an online application.

What happens after certification?

A certified Remote PIC may legally fly a sUAS and may also directly supervise persons who do not hold a remote pilot certificate, as long as the Remote PIC maintains the ability to take control of the sUAS. This provision will allow Remote PICs to teach, demonstrate and train uncertified operators. The Remote PIC has several responsibilities:

• Register the sUAS with the FAA.

• Conduct pre-flight inspections.

• Abide by operational limitations in the new sUAS rule.

• Maintain records on the sUAS and its flights.

• Upon request, make the sUAS and records available to the FAA for inspection or testing.

• Report any operation that results in injury, loss of consciousness or property damage of at least $500 to the FAA within 10 days of occurrence.

• Recurrent knowledge test. A person who receives the remote pilot certificate must take a recurrent knowledge test within 24 months to retain the certification.

For more information you can go to Peggy Hall’s ag law blog sit at aglaw.ose.edu/blog.

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for 28 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.


Tony Nye

OSU Extension