Drones used to inspect communication towers would be regulated by proposed FAA rules


The Federal Aviation Administration unveiled plans this week to regulate drones for commercial use, which would affect the operating requirements of drones being utilized for inspections of cellular and other communication towers.

The use of drones for tower inspection has been attractive to many. This is due largely to their ability to rapidly and safely take high definition video and photos from multiple angles. In addition to being stored for analysis, such video and photos can be transmitted in real time back to an office for live viewing by others not in the field. Management viewing the data can then make on the spot decisions on maintenance or repairs, thus saving time. Drones can also be utilized to record signal strength at various distances, and will also certainly be put to use for other applications yet to be exploited.

The proposed FAA regulations include requirements such as the operator having to pass a federal security check and be able to pass a knowledge test. Safety measures in the proposal also include a prohibition on flying over people other than the operator. Drones would be restricted to an altitude of under 500 feet, which would not affect most cellular towers, but may affect the ability to easily utilize drones for taller radio towers under the current proposed rules. Before the rules are finalized, those in the industry who utilize such resources have an opportunity to provide their input to the FAA regulators.

Read more about the FAA’s plans by clicking here.



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