FAA lays out commercial drone rules

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CHICAGO -- The Federal Aviation Administration laid out its proposal Sunday to open up the skies to commercial drone flight.

The U.S. aviation regulator proposed on Sunday that people flying drones for commercial purposes obtain a special pilot certificate, stay away from bystanders and fly only during the day.

The draft rule governing drones also limits flying speed to 100 miles per hour and the altitude to 500 feet above the ground.

The rule was unlikely to help Amazon.com in its quest to deliver packages with unmanned drones, since its approach requires an FAA-certified small drone pilot to fly the aircraft and keep it line of sight at all times.

The draft rule, nearly 10 years in the making, still must undergo public comment and revision before becoming final, a process expected to take at least a year.

The rule would not require drone pilots to undergo the medical tests or flight hours required of manned aircraft pilots.

Commercial drone operators would need to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration.

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