FAA Issues Blanket COA to All Section 333 Drone Operators:
The FAA continues to work directly with the drone community and drone lawyers to ensure compliance with FAA regulations, Section 333 Exemptions and FAR/AIM. The FAA recently provided companies who have received Section 333 Exemptions a blanket COA to fly without obtaining a civil Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for each flight, which can take months.
“Under the new policy, the FAA will grant a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for flights at or below 400 feet to any UAS operator with a Section 333 exemption for aircraft that weigh less than 55 pounds, operate during daytime Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions, operate within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the pilots, and stay certain distances away from airports or heliports:
- 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
The “blanket” 400-foot COA allows flights anywhere in the country except restricted airspace and other areas, such as major cities, where the FAA prohibits UAS operations. Previously, an operator had to apply for and receive a COA for a particular block of airspace, a process that can take 60 days. The agency expects the new policy will allow companies and individuals who want to use UAS within these limitations to start flying much more quickly than before.”
FAA Blanket COA (Certificate of Waiver or Authorization):
We get asked all the time by our 333 clients waiting for their exemption / permission from the FAA. What does a blanket COA look like? Here is the current FAA blanket COA.
Make sure you comply with all FAA drone regulations
A Section 333 Lawyer Can Get Your Flying Fast:
A Section 333 lawyer can help you navigate the Section 333 process, and operate your commercial drone legally in the United States. This new policy by the FAA is a big step forward for those companies wishing to start flying their drone for commercial purposes right away. The blanket KOA which allows operations below 400 feet without getting each flight authorized shows that the FAA is sensitive to the pent-up demand for commercial drone operations in the US. As drone lawyers who have been working with the FAA on behalf of commercial drone operators, we applaud this updated policy and hope the FAA continues to adapt to the needs of the commercial drawn community as exemptions continue to be granted.