New FAA Requirements on UAS Ops Near Airports

The FAA’s requirements for UAS operations near airports are dynamic  and they have recently been changed. You need a Standard COA. The Blanket COA and LOA arrangement of the past will no longer cut it.

Since the beginning of the FAA’s “Blanket COA” process, commercial drone operators approved through a Section 333 grant of exemption could fly nearly anywhere in the United States with  a number of conditions which were basically as follows:

  • 200 feet AGL maximum
  • Within Visual Line of Site of the PIC
  • Certain distances away from airports or heliports to include:
    • 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower; or
    • 3 NM from an airport with a published instrument flight procedure, but not an operational tower; or
    • 2 NM from an airport without a published instrument flight procedure or an operational tower; or
    • 2  NM from a heliport with a published instrument flight procedure

If you wanted to fly closer to the airports as described above, you needed to arrange a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the airport operator.

Recently, the FAA has changed this and it now requires a new, Standard COA aka “site specific” COA. And, for certain circumstances,  you may also be required to obtain a Letter of Agreemnt (LOA) if the ATC Facility Manager determines  the operations will be recurring in the facilities airspace or movement areas and the operations are complex.

If you would like assistance obtaining a standard COA for operations near airports or for altitudes above 200 feet AGL contact Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below.

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