Six more commercial entities – spanning several industries – have landed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Section 333 Exemptions to operate unmanned aerial systems (UAS): Aetos Group Inc., BNSF Railway Co., Build Imagery LLC, FalconSkyCam, Quiet Creek Corp. and Sky-Futures UAS Inc.
According to the FAA, Aetos Group’s approval covers aerial inspections of plant infrastructure. This includes “flare stacks, elevated pipelines, tanks and columns and environmental monitoring in the petrochemical industry,” the exemption says. The company, based in the Houston area, received permission to operate the Aeryon Scout and Aeryon SkyRanger from Aeryon Labs.
Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF Railway’s UAS authorization involves railroad infrastructure inspections using the AirRobot AR180, AirRobot AR200 and the 3D Robotics Spektre Industrial Multirotor Aerial Vehicle. BNSF is permitted to fly the aircraft “over BNSF-owned or controlled railroad infrastructure and operations,” according to the exemption.
Build Imagery, located in the Los Angeles area, also received an exemption for a 3D Robotics aircraft, the Iris+. The authorization covers “aerial photography for the architectural, engineering and construction industry sites and in motion picture and television operations.”
According to a blog from 3D Robotics, the two exemptions involving 3DR aircraft “will not only allow these companies to use 3DR drones for business purposes, but will also enable all parties involved to continue to test and refine 3DR drone technology for industrial applications.” The company calls the exemptions big “not just for the companies involved but for the industry as a whole.”
The exemption for El Cajon, Calif.-based FalconSkyCam allows the company to fly a DJI Phantom 2 “to conduct aerial photography for real estate, surveying, marine photo and video, agriculture, and special events,” the grant document states.
For Quiet Creek, the Arizona company can operate a senseFly eBee for precision agriculture and aerial mapping purposes. According to senseFly, this marks the fourth eBee commercial exemption from the FAA, along with several Certificates of Waiver or Authorization for universities and public agencies in the U.S.
Lastly, Houston-based Sky-Futures USA, which has business headquarters in London and operates globally, was awarded the exemption to operate Ascending Technologies’ Falcon 8 for oil and gas inspections over land and water.
A full list of the FAA’s Section 333 exemptions can be found here.
Photos: the Aeryon SkyRanger; the 3DR Iris+; the DJI Phantom 2; the senseFly eBee