Small UAV Coalition Urges Reform to FAA Exemption Process

In order to further “reform and improve” the process for obtaining a commercial unmanned aircraft system (UAS) exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Small UAV Coalition is urging the agency to allow current exemption holders to operate any drone on the FAA’s approved list.

In March, the FAA began granting new commercial exemptions covering all the UAS on the grand list; these operators would not be restricted to only the types of UAS it had petitioned the FAA to use.

However, those already holding a commercial exemption have been required to request an amended exemption to operate additional types of drones.

“Some petitioners have been waiting since last fall for a response,” the coalition says in a letter to Michael Huerta, FAA administrator. “Delays in processing Section 333 petitions to date have resulted in numerous lost economic investment opportunities and hindered further innovation and development in this industry.”

Thus, the coalition says it “respectfully suggest[s] that the FAA need not expend its resources processing these amendment requests and at the same time eliminate any further delays to petitioners by granting immediate effective authority to existing exemption holders to operate any UAS model on the approved list.”

The Small UAV Coalition also suggests that the agency, if it decides to go with this plan, make a public announcement in lieu of individual notifications to the operators.

The full letter can be found here.


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