(KFVS) - The wait is over for drone enthusiasts who want to get paid for piloting unmanned aerial vehicles.
On Monday, August 29, the Federal Aviation Administration's list of regulations went into effect, ending opening up the technology to hundreds of thousands more potential pilots.
Carbondale farmer Laura McBride said her family bought a drone to survey farmland in late 2014, but the drone has been collecting dust for most of that time because nobody in the family had a pilot's license.
"Today, we could have used it to go out and look through some of our corn instead of plowing over it," McBride said. "We could have surveyed from the air and made a more educated move."
The FAA regulations say operators will no longer need to get a pilot's traditional pilots license, which is expensive and time-consuming. Instead, drone pilots must pass an aeronautical exam.
After you pass the test, you must complete an FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application to receive your remote pilot certificate.
Under the new rules, drones may not fly higher than 400 feet or at night. The drones also must weigh under 55 pounds and remain in the visual sight of a human operator.
Schools across the country started offering drone regulation and safety courses in 2015, many of which were planned based on the premise that the FAA would meet an earlier deadline.
SIU associate professor Dennis Watson said the course was still taught at SIU despite federal holdups, but students were unable to actually fly the drones.
"In the next five years, with people actually being able to fly these UAVs and do things, the range of opportunities is really going to open up," Watson said.
Testing centers nationwide can now administer the Aeronautical Knowledge Test required under Part 107, as defined by the FAA.
There will be 600,000 commercial drone aircraft operating in the U.S. within the year as the result of new safety rules according to an FAA estimate.