The FAA recently announced it will help streamline the exemption process for companies and individuals applying for commercial drone usage and testing. Under the interim policy, before the official UAS rules are changed, the agency will grant a COA (Certificate of Authorization or Waiver) for flights at or below 200 feet to any UAS operator with a 333 exemption.
Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) allows the FAA to grant exemptions to UASs for airworthiness certificates, which would require a full inspection from a FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors otherwise. A COA can only be issued for a specific activity, making long-term planning a necessity for commercial drone usage up until now.
Before the announcement, a review for a single block of airspace usage could take up to 60 days before receiving an answer. The agency expects the new policy get companies and individuals with the exemptions up and flying quicker than before.
The interim policy retains many of the restrictions under the current rules, including maintaining Visual Line of Sight and strict no-fly zones around airports, major cities, and critical infrastructure.
At the current time, the FAA has only granted 64 exemptions.
Interested in the Section 333 exemption process? fFind out more in
our class at Drone TechCon at the AUVSI conference.