Five More Section 333 Approvals By FAA

Today, the FAA approved five new Section 333 petitions for exemption for sUAS.  This brings the total to 28 US companies and individuals now possessing FAA approval to fly UAS commercially.

  1. Capital Aerial Video
  2. Chevron 
  3. Digital Harvest
  4. Picture Factory
  5. State Farm

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you. See  our recent Section 333 filings for an indication of the quality of our work:

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Drone NPRM – What We Need to Do Now

We have reviewed all 190+ pages of the FAA’s proposed rules for commercial use of drones (“small UAS”). Our review confirms the initial impression we posted on Monday. Overall, the proposed rules are much more flexible and conducive to commercial operations of small UAS (those weighing 55 pounds or less) than most industry observers expected.

But the formal rulemaking process has just begun; it will be 18 months or more until the proposed rules become final. In the meantime, there is still a lot of heavy lifting to be done to make sure that the final rules are as favorable as possible to the smaller stakeholders in the commercial drone space – new manufacturers, distributors, and all types of innovative operators. All of these stakeholders need to become more involved than they have been to date. There will be an opportunity to file public comments (the deadline will be sometime in late April or May). There should also be an opportunity to file reply comments responding to other parties’ comments, although that’s not mentioned in the FAA NPRM.

The FAA is not experienced in rulemaking proceedings that involve hundreds of parties with diverging and opposing views. They will struggle with this process. The only way to ensure that the commercial pilots, large agriculture firms, manned helicopter operations and defense/homeland security firms don’t dominate the rulemaking process and erect barriers to the development of innovation and competition is to file comments on the important issues.

Smaller sUAS stakeholders will generally want to file comments supporting the FAA’s position on several key issues in the proposed rules:

  1. No pilot’s license or flight school should be required
  2. No visual observer should be required
  3. No ATC permission should be necessary to operate in Class G airspace
  4. No airworthiness certification should be required for an sUAV

Depending on their business plans, smaller sUAS stakeholders may want to oppose the FAA’s position on other issues in the proposed rules:

  1. The daylight operation limitation
  2. The visual line of sight limitation
  3. The 500 foot AGL limitation
  4. The prohibition on flying over people not involved in the commercial operation
  5. Other geographic limitations on sUAS operations

In addition, the FAA asked for comments on several other issues that are likely to be crucial for some smaller stakeholders. The most important by far is the proposal to create a new category of microUAS involving drones weighing under 4.4 pounds. This category would cover many drones used solely for data acquisition purposes (surveying, photography, etc.). They would be subject to fewer regulations than are in the NPRM, and could potentially be allowed to fly over people not involved in the commercial operation.

Other issues that could be important to smaller stakeholders are whether the final rules:

  1. Can include ways in which a first-person-view device could be used by the operator without compromising the risk mitigation provided by the proposed visual-line-of-sight requirement.
  2. Should provide for a process (such as a letter of authorization or a waiver), by which the FAA could relax operating restrictions on sUAS equipped with new technology that addresses the safety and other concerns underlying the proposed operating restrictions.
  3. Should include a process to modify the rules quickly as technology advances (e.g., the development of sense and avoid technology that could lead to beyond-line-of-sight operation).

If there are issues that you strongly support or oppose in the proposed rules, or that you believe should be in the rules but are not, you should be filing comments. We can help you articulate your concerns in a way that will maximize your impact. For more information, telephone us at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below.

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Today’s guest post was written by Mark Del Bianco, special counsel to the Antonelli Law Drone/UAS Practice Group.  Mr. Del Bianco has 30 years of experience representing clients in rule-makings and enforcement proceedings. His litigation experience ranges from state trial courts to case briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, and has litigated the constitutionality of state laws at the intersection of technology and privacy.

#Drone NPRM

The Proposed sUAS Rules Are Here

This Sunday, the FAA and DOT finally released their proposed rules for commercial use of drones weighing 55 pounds or less in our national airspace. The good news? No pilot’s license or flight school will be required to operate a drone commercially. The bad news? The formal rulemaking process has just begun and we will have to wait until at least 2 years until the proposed rules become final. Until the final rules go into effect, which will probably not be until 2017, anyone who wants to operate a drone commercially and legally will still have to submit a Section 333 petition for exemption.

Highlights of the Proposed sUAS Rules:

  1. No pilot’s license or flight school required
  2. 500 foot altitude limit
  3. Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission
  4. Pass an aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
  5. Visual observer not required
  6. No ATC permission necessary to operate in Class G airspace
  7. No airworthiness certification of the aircraft

Here is the full text of the proposed Rules: FAA sUAS NPRM

In addition, President Obama released his Memorandum on privacy relating to domestic use of drones

Let Antonelli Law Help you Draft Your Public Comments

Now is the time to make your voice heard. Once the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register sometime in March or April, industry and the public will have just 60 days to submit public comments on them. The FAA is required to consider all the public comments about the proposed rules  and allow the public to participate in any hearings. The agency may make adjustments to the proposed rules based on the public feedback it receives. Sometime in 2016 or 2017 it will issue the final rule, which will have the force and effect of law.

If there are issues that you strongly support or oppose in the proposed rules, or that you believe should be in the rules but are not, you should be filing comments. We can help you articulate your concerns in a way that will maximize your impact. Antonelli Law’s UAS Co-Counsel, Mark Del Bianco, has 30 years of experience in federal agency rule-making proceedings.  For more information or to speak with Mr. Del Bianco, telephone us at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below. sUAS-160x480-1-29-2015

 

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Two More Section 333 Approvals by FAA

Today, the FAA approved two new Section 333 petitions for exemption for sUAS. The first is for Asymmetric Technologies LLC of Columbus, Ohio and the second is for Blue Chip UAS.  Special congrats to Asymetric Techologies whose general counsel, Stuart C. Sparker, we met at the Ohio UAS Conference in 2014.  This brings the total to 23 US companies and individuals now possessing FAA approval to fly UAS commercially.

Asymmetric_Technologies_LLC‘s approved use is solely to inspect the underside of a bridge over a canyon. Its petition described the project as near US Highway 93 in Mohave County, Arizona, sitting above Raster Wash adjacent to the Burro Creek Wilderness Area approximately 70 miles south east of Kingman, Arizona.

The approved sUAS to be used by Asymetric Technologies LLC is manufacturerd by Microdrones, weighs 8.5 pounds, and limited to  flight times of 45 minutes and 27 mph. It has a GPS assisted barometer and return to home (RTH) technology in the event of a lost command and control link. The FAA specifically mentioned that the VO must not participate in operating the camera or other instruments, as its role is to aid the pilot in command (PIC) in its see and avoid duty,

For Blue Chip_UAS their approved uses include agriculture, oil and gas, aerial photography, and wildlife industries using a 10 pound sUAS, the Sensurion Magpie MP-1, with a speed of 68 knots.  The most interesting aspect of Blue Chip UAS’s grant of exemption is that the FAA is permitting it to operate within 5 miles of an airport as long as there is a letter of agreement between Blue Chip UAS and the airport’s management and the COA and NOTAM requirements are met.

Both Asymetric Technologies LLC of Columbus Ohio and Blue Chip UAS are required to use PICs with at least a private pilot’s certificate (license) with a third class medical certificate.

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you. See  our recent Section 333 filings for an indication of the quality of our work:

If you are interested in an excerpt of Jeffrey Antonelli’s recent appearance discussing drones on Chicago Tonight please click here.

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21 US Companies Can Fly UAS Commercially

Today, the FAA approved two new Section 333 petitions for exemption to Pravia LLC of Florida relating to crop inspection for a seed producer. This brings the total to 21 US companies and individuals now possessing FAA approval to fly UAS commercially, with several companies receiving several exemptions or amendments to their original grant of exemption.

Since January 23rd, the FAA approved the following Section 333 petitions for exemption:

Again, just as with previous Section 333 exemptions, the FAA continues to require that the Pilot in Command (PIC) possesses at least a private pilot certificate and a current third-class medical certificate.

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you. In addition to the iCam Copters LLC  and Owlcam LLC petitions recently filed by Antonelli Law, to see the original petition Antonelli Law filed for Nixon Engineering see our previous post here.

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UPDATES TO SECTION 333 PETITIONS – 331 FILED

Searching the Regulations.gov website is too hard, so we wanted to make it easy for you to find the latest Section 333 petitions for exemption.

We have updated our list to include the newest 214 Section 333 petitions on file, including several new Section 333 petitions Antonelli Law recently filed: iCam Copters LLC and Owlcam LLC. This brings the total number of Section 333 petitions filed with the FAA to 331.   Please note that no warranties are made to the accuracy or completeness of these petitions. For the official versions go to Regulations.gov.

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you. In addition to the iCam Copters LLC  and Owlcam LLC petitions recently filed by Antonelli Law, to see the original petition Antonelli Law filed for Nixon Engineering select it in  our previous post here

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TWO NEW FAA SECTION 333 APPROVALS ISSUED TODAY

Today, the FAA approved two  new Section 333 petitions for exemption. One exemption was issued for real estate photography and videography over non-congested areas in Tucson, Arizona using the DJI Phantom 2 Vision + (the same UAS I use as a hobbyist).  The second exemption was issued for precision agriculture crop scouting and photogrammetry using the senseFly eBee Ag UAS.

The two new exemptions approved today are as follows:

  1. Trudeau_Douglas-11138
  2. Advanced_Aviation_Solutions_LLC-11136(1)

Again, just as with previous Section 333 exemptions, the FAA continues to require that the Pilot in Command (PIC) possesses at least a private pilot certificate and a current third-class medical certificate. Interestingly, the FAA is allowing the 1.5 pound fixed-wing eBee to fly up to 70 knots.

We continue to believe that requiring a private pilot certificate (“private pilot’s license) is unnecessary as it does not provide training related to the safe operation of the UAS as documented by research studies by the FAA and Army Research Laboratory. Therefore, please contact your US Senators and Congressmen to ask them to work to eliminate the private pilot certificate requirement in Section 333 exemptions or in the upcoming NPRM for sUAS.

If you would like to speak with Antonelli Law about helping you submit your own Section 333 petition for exemption, call Principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below. Additional information about our Drone/UAS Practice Group is available by clicking here as well.

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FAA Approves Five New 333 Exemptions

Today the FAA approved five new Section 333 petitions for exemption by four companies, but continues to require a private pilot’s license for these very small UAVS, stating “Although Section 333 provides limited statutory flexibility relative to 49 USC § 44704 for the purposes of airworthiness certification, it does not provide flexibility relative to other sections of 49 USC. The FAA does not possess the authority to exempt from the statutory requirement to hold an airman certificate, as prescribed in 49 USC § 44711.”

Immediate action by Congress must be made to address this. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) gets why a private pilots license just is not applicable to flying these UAVs. Contact your US senators and congressmen now.

Here is the letter we are sending today: Antonelli Law letter to Congress 12-14-10

The four new exemptions approved today are a follows:

  1. Clayco_Inc_11109
  2. Trimble_Navigation_Limited_11110
  3. VDOS_Global_LLC_11112
  4. Woolpert_Inc_11111
  5. Woolpert_Inc_11114

Please take a look at the hearing in progress:

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Updates to Section 333 Petitions – 117 Filed

Searching the Regulations.gov website is too hard, so we wanted to make it easy for you.

We have updated our list to include the 117 Section 333 petitions on file, including the Section 333 petition Antonelli Law filed on behalf of Nixon Engineering (more will be filed by our Drone/UAS Practice Group soon. Of the 117 Section 333 Petitions, 9 were summarily rejected with only one of those submitted by an attorney. Please note that no warranties are made to the accuracy or completeness of these petitions. For the official versions go to Regulations.gov.

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you. To see an example of the quality of our work,  select Nixon Engineering below.

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An Antonelli Law blog on UAS/Drone Law