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Friday, January 9, 2015

FAA Grants Further Exemptions for Commercial UAS Use

Juliet Van Wagenen

Phantom 2 Vision + quadcopter
Phantom 2 Vision + quadcopter to be used for real estate surveillance as newly granted by the FAA. Photo: hobbyfly.com

[Avionics Today 01-09-2015] As the industry holds its breath for the FAA to release its Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulation timeline, the FAA has granted two additional regulatory exemptions for commercial UAS operations. The agency granted the exemptions to Douglas Trudeau with Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Ariz., for real estate photography; and to Advanced Aviation Solutions in Spokane, Wash., for precision agriculture.

These approvals bring the total number of exemptions to 14, demonstrating the growing acceptance of UAS for commercial use in the United States. With the FAA reporting an additional 214 requests for commercial exemptions, the business case of the UAS only stands to grow.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx found that the UAS in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security. Those findings are permitted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

In granting the exemptions, the FAA considered the planned operating environments and required certain conditions and limitations to assure the safe operation of these UAS in the National Airspace System.

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