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Vacancies on Events Planning and State Pool Committees
Deadline to submit letters of interest for the Events Planning and State Pool Committees is Friday, October 2, 2020.

August 2020 Risk Journal
RAP/CAP grant update. Applications welcome; next deadline is October 2. Plus virtual public meeting tips from a member and a parliamentary expert, and exploring direct supervision in jails.

June 2020 Risk Journal
Developing, Communicating Plans to Reopen During and After Pandemic; Managing Inmate Expectations a Key Component of Effective Jails

Summary of FAA Amendments to Drone Regulations

Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2016

This is an overview and not a comprehensive list of the regulations. For complete information, see

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drones, have quickly become ubiquitous in this modern, technological era. Their prevalence will continue to grow and their uses evolve to include as-yet unidentified applications.

Congress passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act in 2012. With an estimated 30,000 drones, both commercial and civil, expected to be flying in U.S. skies by 2020, the FAA has issued subsequent rules and regulations specific to the use of UAV. Effective August 29, 2016, the FAA established the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rule (Part 107).

Although many of these rules remain the same as the initial 2012 rules and regulations, several changes were enacted to further control the operating of UAVs.

Here is a summary of some key areas relating to the recent amendments:

Operational Limitations

The FAA expanded the rule that UAV may not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation; it now also specifies that UAV may not operate under a covered structure or inside a covered stationary vehicle. The maximum altitude was amended from 500 feet above ground level (AGL) to 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, must remain within 400 feet of a structure.

New Operational Guidelines (effective August 29th, 2016) include the following:

  • No operations from a moving aircraft.
  • No operations from a moving vehicle unless the operation is over a sparsely populated area.
  • No carriage of hazardous materials.
  • External load operations are allowed if the object being carried by the unmanned aircraft is securely attached and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.
  • Transportation of property for compensation or hire is allowed, provided that:
  • The aircraft, including its attached systems, payload, and cargo weigh less than 55 pounds total;
  • The flight is conducted within visual line of sight and not from a moving vehicle or aircraft; and
  • The flight occurs wholly within the bounds of a state and does not involve transport between (1) Hawaii and another place in Hawaii through airspace outside Hawaii; (2) the District of Columbia and another place in the District of Columbia; or (3) a territory or possession of the United States and another place in the same territory or possession.

Remote Pilot in Command Certification and Responsibilities

The qualification age for a remote pilot in command certification has changed from 17 to 16. Operators are still required to report to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in at least serious injury, loss of consciousness, or property damage of at least $500.

Previously, operators were required to pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center. Subject to Part 107, pilots now have two options to certify their aeronautical knowledge:

  • Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center; or
  • Hold a Part 61 pilot certificate other than student pilot, complete a flight review within the previous 24 months, and complete a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA.

New Remote Pilot in Command Guidelines (effective August 29th, 2016) include the following:

  • Part 61 pilot certificate holders may obtain a temporary remote pilot certificate immediately upon submission of their application for a permanent certificate. Other applicants will obtain a temporary remote certificate upon successful completion of TSA security vetting. The FAA anticipates that it will be able to issue a temporary remote pilot certificate within 10 business days after receiving a completed remote pilot certificate application.
  • Until international standards are developed, foreign-certificated UAS pilots will be required to obtain an FAA-issued remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.
  • A remote pilot in command must ensure that the UAS complies with the existing registration requirements specified in 91.203(A)(2).
  • A remote pilot in command may deviate from the requirements of this rule in response to an in-flight emergency.

PLEASE NOTE: THE ABOVE INFORMATION DOES NOT ENCOMPASS ALL FAA GUIDELINES. If your community is currently using, or intends to integrate the use of, drones in your operations, you are advised to review the entire Small UAS Rule (Part 107) and all related amendments and to adopt policies and procedures that adhere to these rules and regulations. Go to to learn more.

MMRMA UAV Coverage

Effective July 1, 2016, MMRMA adopted the Limited Liability Coverage for Use or Operations of Unmanned Aircraft (UAV) Addendum. This addendum provides limits of $1 million per occurrence/$2 million annual member aggregate, and is subject to the member’s liability SIR. Coverage must be requested through your Regional Risk Manager; it is not automatically included. You can read more about this coverage option in the April 2016 Risk Journal.

Please see the October 2016 Risk Journal for additional details about drones, their operation, and some interesting history about an early predecessor.

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Michigan Municipal Risk
Management Authority

14001 Merriman Road
Livonia, MI 48154

MMRMA has been a leader in municipal risk since 1980 and remains committed to meeting the ever-expanding challenges faced by its membership. MMRMA's risk control services are designed to help its members identify, prevent, and mitigate losses through on-site surveys, training, and other services. MMRMA also provides its members with premier claims and legal services, sound financial management, and essential news on the latest developments in public risk management.


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