FAA should promptly grant exemption for very small commercial UAS, AUVSI says
22 August, 2014 – Arlington, VA – The Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) submitted official comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation in support of Woolpert’s bid to use UAS prior to the finalization of a small UAS rule. The FAA should “promptly grant” this exemption request, look for ways to allow for more commercial use of very small UAS immediately, and continue with rulemaking. The use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for aerial surveying will save time, money, and possibly lives, by not jeopardizing a human in a manned aircraft, AUVSI states in its comments.
To accelerate the commercial use of UAS, the FAA announced in May that it would consider granting exemptions for certain low-risk commercial UAS applications under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, exemptions that would allow some industries to fly before the finalization of the small UAS rule. The FAA has received a request for exemption from Woolpert for commercial operation of the 15 pound Nova Block III UAS to conduct flights that are too dangerous, difficult, or expensive for manned aircraft.
Accelerating commercial UAS use will not only help businesses harness the tremendous potential of UAS, it will also help unlock the economic impact and job creation potential of the technology.
“The FAA should promptly grant this exemption request, look for ways to allow for more commercial use of very small UAS immediately, and get on with rulemaking.
“Woolpert has been making maps and conducting aerial surveys for decades using manned aircraft, and now they want to use a 15 pound Nova Block III UAS to conduct flights that are too dangerous, difficult, or expensive for manned aircraft. Woolpert’s petition outlines at least an equivalent level of safety over manned aircraft, and should be approved.
“The FAA has already granted multiple Certificates of Authorization of Waivers (COA) for different public users of the Nova Block III UAS; therefore, the FAA should already be familiar with its design and performance characteristics.
“Although AUVSI applauds the FAA’s efforts to consider UAS exemption requests AUVSI remains concerned the FAA is more than three years late in issuing safety regulations for the widespread commercial use of small UAS.”
On April 8, 2014, AUVSI and 32 other association representing the manned aviation community, air traffic controllers, and future users of UAS, including agriculture groups, realtors, media organizations, and public safety organizations, sent a letter to the FAA strongly encouraging them to grant exemptions, but to also expedite the public notice and comment for small UAS rulemaking.
The FAA announced that it also will consider regulatory exceptions for other commercial applications including power line inspections and flare stack inspections. Amazon also recently filed for an FAA exemption to test its announced UAS delivery service and seven production companies have filed for exemptions to use UAS for filmmaking and movie production.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) — the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics — represents more than 7,000 members from 60 allied countries involved in the fields of government, industry and academia.