The FAA's Drone Drill: An Introduction

ARLINGTON, VA.—Many drone enthusiasts probably took some time this past Labor Day weekend flying their unmanned aircraft systems for recreation. Recreational use is the primary way for people to utilize UAS as the FAA makes people go through detailed processes to use them for anything else. Or so we thought.

CommLawBlog, which focuses on communication laws, recently posted a story detailing just how you can get FAA approval to use your UAS commercially. With the FAA still working on new rules for commercial UAS use, people can work their way to approval in three steps.

The first step is acquiring a Section 333 Exemption. The FAA’s 333 Exemption process is a temporary process until the agency issues permanent rules. It expedites the process by allowing would-be UAS operators to obtain both an Airworthiness Certificate and a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization in a single process. In a nutshell, the process requires that the user show that a UAS is airworthy and the proposed operation will satisfy the FAA’s temporary rules.

One thing that cannot be abbreviated, though, is the airman certification standards. All users operating commercial drones in the National Airspace System must have FAA airman certification. The FAA does, however, allow those with sport or recreation pilot certificates fly UAS commercially. In addition to a Section 333 Exemption and an airman certificate, users must register their UAS with the FAA.

Other requirements include that all UAS weigh less than 55 pounds and they do not fly within certain distances of airports, otherwise restricted airspace, or in certain densely populated areas.

This process is temporary, as the Section 333 Exemption will no longer be applicable as soon as the FAA passes its new rules. According to CommLawBlog, if you were to apply for a Section 333 Exemption now, you could be approved to operate a commercial UAS by early 2016.

You can read CommLawBlogs full post here.