On December 10, 2014 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted five additional regulatory exemptions to four separate companies for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations. Each of the four companies represents different forms of industry, with proposals to operate UAS for the purpose ofaerial surveying, construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections. These five exemptions represent additional strides towards UAS integration across the United States.
To receive the exemptions, the companies had to establish that these systems would not present any threat to national security or airspace. However, the UAS are required to weigh less than 55 pounds and must be flown within line of sight at all times. These, among other considerations such as those related to the flight environment and safety regulations, were taken into account as the FAA decided to issue the exemptions. All UAS operated under these exemptions are not required to receive an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness, which is permitted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
All of the exempt companies must follow flight rules and guidelines as specified in the Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) issued.
The FAA is currently deliberating 167 other requests for exemptions from other commercial entities.
The FAA’s press release can be found here.