By law, any aircraft operation in the national airspace requires a certificated and registered aircraft, a licensed pilot, and operational approval. The FAA has interpreted the provisions of Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) to allow the agency to grant waivers of the rules applicable to drones to operate prior to the proposed rules for commercial UAS operation prior to the final promulgation of the rules. This waiver process is being applied on a case-by-case basis.
As the FAA notes,
“The Section 333 Exemption process provides operators who wish to pursue safe and legal entry into the NAS a competitive advantage in the UAS marketplace, thus discouraging illegal operations and improving safety. It is anticipated that this activity will result in significant economic benefits, and the FAA Administrator has identified this as a high priority project to address demand for civil operation of UAS for commercial purposes.”
The FAA has granted 846 petitions for waiver to date.
Please contact me through the Comments function of this blog if you are interested in my assistance in preparing a Section 333 Petition to gain a a competitive advantage in the UAS marketplace for you or your business