New Prague man 1 of 2 who can fly commercial drones

Until recently, it was illegal for anyone in Minnesota to fly a drone commercially. Now, it's legal for exactly two people, but they could be a sign of more to come.

Until recently, it was illegal for anyone in Minnesota to fly a drone commercially. Now, it's legal for exactly two people, but they could be a sign of more to come.

Tim Briggs is a bit of a pioneer. His operation is part Wright Brothers, Part Coen Brothers, and Briggs is only the second person in Minnesota allowed to fly his drone commercially. His business, AeroLogix, will take aerial photos for customers, who he hopes will include surveying and mapping companies, civil engineers, farmers, among others.

Donald Mark, an aviation and drone law attorney, said it's important to remember flying drones for money is illegal in Minnesota, unless you're Briggs or one other person named Jeffrey Walsh who lives in Cottage Grove.

"I think we're going to see a lot more petitions granted in the next few weeks, not just months," Mark said.

While the FAA finalizes commercial drones rules, it's been granting so-called exemptions to people who apply, but very slowly, until now.

"They're tending to move more quickly in allowing Americans the freedom to operate these devices properly and safely," Mark said.

Either way, it's putting Briggs' drones above the competition, but who knows for how long. The FAA has granted 189 drone exemptions, and the vast majority of those were granted just this month. Meanwhile, recreational drone flying is legal, but there are still plenty of regulations.


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