Four More Companies Notch Commercial UAS Exemptions

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted five more regulatory exemptions to four different companies for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operations.

The four companies – Trimble Navigation Ltd., VDOS Global LLC, Clayco Inc. and Woolpert Inc. (two exemptions) – will fly UAS to perform operations for aerial surveying, construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections.

Anthony Foxx, U.S. secretary of transportation, found that the UAS in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security. Those findings are permitted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

The firms also asked the FAA to grant exemptions from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates. In their petitions, the firms said they will operate UAS weighing under 55 pounds and keep the UAS within line of sight at all times.

In granting the exemptions, the FAA says, it considered the operating environments and required certain conditions and limitations to assure the safe operation of these UAS in the National Airspace System. The agency also will issue Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) that mandate flight rules and timely reports of any accident or incidents.

Earlier this year, the FAA granted exemptions to seven film and video production companies.

As of today, the agency says, it has received 167 requests for exemptions from commercial entities.

The FAA’s exemption grants can be found here.


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