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FAA Approves the Use of UAS in Search for Missing Woman

By Juliet Van Wagenen | September 11, 2014
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An Unmanned Aircraft System
An Unmanned Aircraft System. Photo: Wikipedia

[Avionics Today 09-11-2014] The FAA has approved an emergency Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for the use of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) in the search for a missing woman near Dallas, Texas. The agency approves emergency COAs for natural disaster relief, search and rescue operations and other urgent circumstances. In this case, the FAA granted the Emergency COA in less than 24 hours.

Under the emergency COA, Texas EquuSearch will be able to operate its aircraft from Sept. 11 until sunset Sept. 15. The COA was issued to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of Gaithersburg, Md., at the request of the Plano Police Department. NIST has a previously existing relationship with Texas EquuSearch, a non-profit organization that assists with locating missing individuals.

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