The FAA's plan to regulate drone usage has been a long running cause of concern among enthusiasts and those hoping to use UAVs for commercial purposes. Thus far speculation has pegged the budding regulations as unnecessarily restrictive, but the new officially revealed FAA proposal shows those concerns to largely be unfounded. 

The proposed regulations largely cover common sense aspects of drone operation, such as requiring the operator to avoid flying over people and to determine how risky it would be to fly a drone in any given location if it is assumed the drone could crash. Operators will also need to be able to see the drone at all times while operating, and will need to maneuver away from any manned aircraft that might fly nearby. Other particulars include speeds that do not exceed 100 mph and altitude not above 500 ft. Likewise, drone operators will need to stay out of restricted airspace and airport flight paths.

Somewhat more restrictive are the proposed regulations on who can become a drone operator. In order to fly a drone, an operator must be at least 17 years old, and he or she must both pass an "aeronautical knowledge test" and get a UAS operator certificate from the FAA. This knowledge test would then need to be passed again once every 24 months in order to stay certified. This is less burdensome than past leaks indicating the FAA would require a pilot's license to operate drones.

This proposal covers drones under 55lbs that would be used for 'non-recreational' purposes. The FAA has also addressed a major concern hobbyists have expressed: how so-called 'micro' drones will be regulated. The administration has looked extensively into creating a separate regulation framework for drones that are under 4.4lbs, and is seeking public comments on this matter before it proceeds.