Drones, including those used in construction surveys, can safely share the skies with passenger planes, the FAA says. The rules, made public June 21, mark the FAA's first attempt at a comprehensive plan to ensure the popular remote-controlled aircraft can safely share the skies with commercial craft. The FAA has already granted special permission for more than 5,300 commercial drone uses while it developed the final rules. Tuesday's action opens the floodgates to tens of thousands more because drone operators won't need to seek case-by-case approval. The FAA's 624-page rulebook allows commercial drones weighing up to 55 pounds to fly during daylight hours and lower than 400 feet in the air, or higher if within 400 feet of a taller building or tower. The aircraft must remain within sight of the operator or an observer who is in communication with the operator. The operators must be at least 16 years old and pass an aeronautics test every 24 months for a certificate and a background check by the Transportation Security Administration.
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