|The Precision Hawk Lancaster UAS for which USAA has received Section 333 approval. Photo: Bob Lewis/USAA|
[Avionics Today 04-07-2015] The FAA has approved U.S.-based insurance company USAA’s request to test how Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) could help speed review of insurance claims from its members following natural disasters. USAA caters mainly to U.S. military and their families and is one of the first insurers to be granted the approval for such testing.
In October 2014, USAA filed for an exemption under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to enable more efficient testing of small UAS. Exempt from select FAA regulations, USAA can now fly drones, made by U.S.-based PrecisionHawk, during the day within line-of-sight of a trained pilot and aircrew.
USAA also filed for an additional FAA exemption in November 2014 that will enhance the company’s ability to use UAS in catastrophes. That exemption petition is pending approval and a decision is expected soon.