FAA Grants Waiver for Over-People Drone Flights with Parachute

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued Hensel Phelps Construction Co. a Part 107 waiver to operate a parachute-equipped DJI Phantom 4 drone over people.

The FAA explains it did not certify or approve the parachute that will be used; however, the agency determined that the waiver application sufficiently met the standard design specification (ASTM 3322-18) and that the proposed unmanned aircraft system operation could be safely conducted under the terms and conditions of a waiver.

This waiver represents the first time the FAA has collaborated with industry in developing a publicly available standard, worked with an applicant to ensure the testing and data collected acceptably met the standard, and issued a waiver using an industry standard as a basis, the agency says.

The FAA notes that this process is scalable and available to other applicants who propose to use the same drone and parachute combination. The FAA will require each applicant to provide the testing, documentation and statement of compliance listed in ASTM3322-18.

Based in Greeley, Colo., the construction company will be using a SafeAir parachute system from ParaZero Technologies Ltd., according to the waiver document. In December, ParaZero announced that Michael Huerta, former administrator of the FAA, had joined the company’s advisory board.

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