Commercial Drone Flights OK’d Over Land

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a commercial drone! On Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it gave permission for the first commercial drone flights over land. The first flight actually already took place. On Sunday, the FAA allowed BP and drone maker AeroVironment to fly a Puma drone over Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to survey pipelines, roads, and equipment. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: “These surveys on Alaska’s North Slope are another important step toward broader commercial use of unmanned aircraft.” Congress directed the FAA to allow commercial drones to fly over the U.S. by September 2015, but the agency is still struggling to write safety rules that satisfy the Transportation Department and the White House. Many countries, including the United Kingdom and France, have allowed commercial drone use for years.