Welcome! The Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives (AREA) is a member-owned federation of 22 electric distribution cooperatives.

AREA keeps eye on UAS, or drones, developments


Some new FAA rules released in late June will make unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, easier to fly for commercial purposes, and our co-ops will no doubt want to take a fresh look at their potential use in the electric utility industry.


The new FAA rules govern the size of the drone, the licensing requirements for the person operating the aircraft and the hours and maximum height they’re allowed to fly. But NRECA and AREA continue to urge co-ops to take a slow and steady approach in considering whether to purchase or contract for the use of drones.


AREA invited interested co-ops and representatives of Alabama Power and Southern Company to a February meeting to discuss how we as an industry could assist Auburn University in writing a curriculum for specialized courses dealing with UAS. Auburn has America’s first FAA-approved Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School.


AREA’s Mike Temple sent a memo to co-ops after the new FAA rules were released, and that email contained a .pdf of the new FAA rules. Also, see this story from ECT.coop for more information.