As of April 9, the FAA has granted 137 exemptions under Section 333, a regulation that, according to the agency, will provide “operators who wish to pursue safe and legal entry into the [National Air Space] a competitive advantage in the UAS marketplace, thus discouraging illegal operations and improving safety.”
Specifically, Section 333 grants commercial drone users permission to operate both rotorcraft and fixed-winged UAVs. UAV operators agree that the FAA’s exemption process gives U.S. drone companies a competitive global edge. “We are thrilled to be able to offer our clients the flexibility of choice between our four aerial platforms,” says Kevin Gould, founder of Hawk Aerial. “We can customize each job to meet the client’s needs and budget,” he added, following the announcement of Hawk’s recent exemption.
With more than 50 requests currently under review, the FAA is now churning out exemptions at ever-increasing rates with around 15-20 new waivers posted each Monday on its website.
The exemption is only available to industries covering precision agriculture, film-making, power line and pipeline inspections and oil and gas flare stack inspections. However, retail giant Amazon did receive exemption on April 8 allow it to test delivery drones.
Some exemptions recently granted include:
- Next Generation Aviation Services LLC: Research and development, training, aerial photography for real estate, construction firms and first responders operations;
- SouthGate Films Inc.: Aerial filming and photography for short films, motion pictures and commercial filming
- DeGrazia Music LLC: Aerial cinematography and photography;
- Climate Corp Precision Planting LLC: Research and development, agricultural modeling, simulations and imaging;
- Hawk Aerial, LLC: Photogrammetry (which is this – thank you, Wikipedia), inspections and analyses;
- Altavian Inc.: Aerial acquisitions and research over certain rural areas of the United States (watch for shooters out there in the weeds, Altavian!);
- Arch Aerial, LLC: Agricultural survey, film production, property survey, aerial photography, pipeline survey, and for monitoring damage in the event of a natural disaster;
- RoboFlight Systems, LLC: Agricultural surveying, small UAS operator training, real estate photography, product demonstrations, and research and development.
Applicants must obtain a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) that ensures the airspace for their proposed operations is safe, and that they have taken proper steps to see and avoid other aircraft.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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