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FAA Grants First Approval For Night Commercial UAV Flights

Industrial Skyworks Authorized To Perform Nighttime Inspections

For the first time, the FAA has authorized commercial night flights by a UAV operator.

The U.S. branch of Toronto-based Industrial Skyworks has been given the authority to conduct aerial inspections of buildings and roofs using specially-equipped UAVs flown by qualified pilots, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The FAA had previously required all commercial activity to end at sunset. In a 24-page decision, FAA flight standards service chief John Duncan said that the ruling came after 16 months of consideration and administrative proceedings.

The aircraft must carry anti-collision lights that would be visible to any pilot of a manned aircraft or anyone else at a distance of 5,000 feet. The aircraft must still be flown in line of sight of the operator. The person flying the UAV must be a qualified pilot with a valid 3rd class medical certificate and have completed training for night flight.

The WSJ reports that the FAA is expected to issue rules for widespread commercial operations of small UAVs in the coming weeks. Applications will range from aerial photography to agriculture, as well as pipeline and powerline inspections.

(Image from Industrial Skyworks Facebook page)

FMI: www.faa.gov

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