Although often at odds with the drone community, the Federal Aviation Administration is slowly making a few friends in the UAV world as it ramps up the process of approving drones for commercial use.
As of April 20, the FAA has granted 157 exemptions under Section 333 – an increase of 20 more exemptions issued since last week. As of Monday, the FAA listed 68 petitions for waivers on its dockets for consideration. The section of the agency’s 2012 legislation governing UAS, 333 grants commercial drone users permission to operate both rotorcraft and fixed-winged UAVs. 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.
The FAA says Section 333 waivers promote a competitive advantage for domestic drone companies and organizations in the U.S. across an increasingly global market. The agency also believes that navigating the regulatory process will discourage “illegal operations and improving safety.” Although some experts worry future FAA rulemaking may go too far, others see the recent spate of waiver approval as a sign that the agency may want to seek an end to the “technological equivalent of prohibition.”
So far, Section 333 requests have been granted to sectors such as agriculture, film-making, power line and infrastructure use (i.e. pipeline inspections as well as oil and gas flare stack inspections).
Some exemptions recently granted include:
RED Consultants LLC: Market research, aerial surveys, mapping, testing, and inspections that consist of still photographs, video and other data;
Voler, Inc.: Aerial imaging for safety and monitoring of controlled environment construction sites;
MSPhotography dba MSAerial: Aerial photography for the media and advertising industries;
RKGmedia, LLC: Aerial images for commercial use;
Pacific Aviation, LLC: Aerial surveying, remote sensing, precision agriculture, aerial photography, wildlife and natural resource monitoring, and educational/multidisciplinary research;
Blackwell Group, LLC: Mapping and survey applications;
Falkirk Mining Company : Land surveying services;
Cambervision Inc.: Community training workshops, research and development, and aerial inspections of buildings and land within the United States;
Geosky3, LLC: Security services, real estate photography and Geographic Information Systems for business and personal;
Bob Sokoler: Aerial imaging and video of Louisville Landmarks and homes the team lists for sale;
Jackson Family Vineyards: Surveillance over private property;
SkyWords: Advertising: Aerial photography and cinematography for commercial and residential real estate and closed-set special events.
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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