The FAA’s general statutory authority is found in the United States Code, Title 49, 49 U.S.C. §§40101- 50105. The rules promulgated through statutory authority governing the FAA are are found in Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, parts 21, 43, 45, 47, 61, 91, General Operating and Flight Rules, 101, 107 and 183.
Because of the potential societally beneficial applications of small UAS, the FAA has been seeking to incorporate the operation of these systems into the national airspace system (NAS) since 2008. In April 2008, the FAA chartered the small UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). In April 2009, the ARC provided the FAA with recommendations on how small UAS could be safely integrated into the NAS. Since that time, the FAA has been working on a rulemaking to incorporate small UAS operations into the NAS.
In 2012, Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-95). Section 333 of Public Law 112-95 directed the Secretary to determine whether UAS operations posing the least amount of public risk and no threat to national security could safely be operated in the NAS and if so, to establish requirements for the safe operation of these systems in the NAS, prior to completion of the UAS comprehensive plan and rulemakings required by section 332 of Public Law 112-95. As part of its ongoing efforts to integrate UAS operations in the NAS in accordance with section 332, and as authorized by section 333 of Public Law 112-95, the FAA is proposing to amend its regulations to adopt specific rules for the operation of small UAS in the NAS.