FAA Grants New Exemptions

The FAA has granted exemptions from its ban against commercial drones to a real estate company and an agricultural firm earlier this month, a move that has earned praises and excitement from avid drone users, among them those keen on using drones to provide uav aerial photography services.

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The Federal Aviation Administration early January granted exemptions for the use of drones by a real estate firm in Arizona and a crop monitoring company in Washington state, further loosening the agency’s strict ban on the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Read more here:

NAR President Chris Polychron, released a statement on the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to grant the first drone exemption to a real estate professional in the U.S., according to a report by the Photography for Real Estate:

“The FAA has taken a positive step by approving Realtor Doug Trudeau’s application, member of the Tucson Association of REALTORS®, for an exemption to fly an unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) for commercial purposes. Images captured using UAV technology will provide residential and commercial property buyers with more information and visual insights than they’ve ever had before.Read more here:

See here the FAA’s document on the exemption for Doug Trudeau.

Advanced Aviation Solutions will be now be able to perform crop scouting for precision agriculture by using a fixed-wing eBee Ag UAS. senseFly’s eBee Ag UAS is able to photograph up to 2,470 acres in a single flight, then use those images to create high-resolution maps that show which crops need treatment or closer examination. The eBee Ag has a wingspan of 96 cm (38 inches), can fly for up to 45 minutes and has automatic three-dimensional flight planning. Read more here:

See also the FAA’s document on the exemption for Advanced Aviation Solutions here:

Moreover, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx concluded that the UAS in the proposed operations don’t need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they don’t pose a threat to national airspace users or national security. The FAA said it will require “certain conditions and limitations” to ensure the UAS are operated safely. Read more:

These latest exemptions by the FAA are keeping serious drone user groups abuzz, and some wonder about the process one has to go through in order to file for exemptions, including the costs involved in terms of time and dollars. However, the bottom line is, according to the publisher of The Droneologist, James Davis, “to ensure approval of one’s drone application for exemption from the FAA ban is to stick to the rules set by the regulatory body, and let them see you are capable of flying your drones responsibly.” Davis also quotes, Steve Cohen, the president of the New York Drone Users Group (NYDUG), one of the most active meetups in the country: These filings and their approvals are a step in the right direction but bear in mind that a private pilot licensed airman is necessary to be present as Pilot in Charge. This means that anyone seeking exemption will require a crew of at least 3 people and will need to keep maintenance and flight safety records. The casual “drive by” drone operator looking to make a fast buck is what the FAA is trying to squelch.


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