Earlier this week, the FAA approved four companies to fly UAVs in the United States. The companies are Trimble Navigation Limited, VDOS Global, LLC, Clayco, Inc. and Woolpert, Inc. Currently the companies have to operate line of sight, obey standard US flight rules, and be less than 55 pounds in weight. Each of the companies have asked to have some or all of these restrictions removed.
On another front, the overall FAA rules may be delayed until 2017 or beyond for broad use in the United States. The issues include lost link scenarios where the UAV looses connection with the operator. Also air traffic control procedures need to be updated and staff trained to work UAVs into normal airspace.
So the September 2015 deadline has a good chance to come and go and we will still be in the four test sites with only a few approved companies able to fly UAVs in the United States. I hope the FAA will continue to work with businesses to get UAVs flying sooner than later and not allow the deadline to go into 2018 or later.