FAA Issues Over 1,000 Regulatory Exemptions for Use of Drones

FAA Issues Over 1,000 Regulatory Exemptions for Use of Drones
Quadcopter drone with mounted camera. Photo by Newnow/Shutterstock


NEWTOWN, Conn., Aug. 14 (UPI) — The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has granted more than 1,000 exemptions to allow commercial unmanned aerial vehicles to operate in civilian airspace.


The 1,162 exemptions granted as of August 12, 2015, were issued under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which gives the Secretary of Transportation authority to determine if an airworthiness certificate is required for a UAS to operate safely in the national airspace system.

Many of the exemptions given were for aerial filming for the motion picture, precision agriculture and real estate industries, as well as for UAV inspection of power lines and towers, railroad infrastructure and bridges.

The demand for Section 333 exemptions has led to a streamlining of the FAA application process. The FAA in March started issuing blanket Certificates of Waiver or Authorization to Section 333 exemption holders. The COAs allow their UAV flights anywhere in the country at or below 200 feet except in restricted airspace, close to airports, and areas where the FAA prohibits UAS operations.

Prior to March, UAV operators with Section 333 exemptions had to apply for and receive a COA for a particular area of airspace. In April, the FAA began issuing summary grants for requests similar to those already approved.



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