On October 25, the FAA released a statement notifying potential applicants seeking a waiver from the small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) rules of common errors in the application process. In the two months since FAA started issuing waivers from the Part 107 rules, the agency has issued over 81 authorizations for flights in Class D and E airspace and 36 waivers of Part 107 requirements. However, the agency has also denied many waiver applications on account of incorrect or incomplete information. The agency has denied 71 waiver requests and 854 airspace applications. UAS operators that are seeking a waiver should ensure that they include a detailed description of how they intend to meet the performance based standards
issued by FAA. See previous Babst Calland Pipeline Safety Alert.
For example, applicants seeking a waiver of the nighttime operation restriction must provide the methods for which the remote pilot will maintain visual line of sight during darkness; see and avoid other aircraft, people, and ground-based structures during nighttime operations; continuously determine the position of the UAS, and increase the visibility of the UAS at a distance of 3 statute miles unless a system is in place to avoid all non-participating aircraft. Applicants must also respond promptly to any requests from the FAA for additional information. If the FAA does not receive a response after 30 days, the agency will deny the waiver request.
The FAA also created the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST), a group of industry and government stakeholders. The UAST team is charged with analyzing data to enhance safety with drone operations. The UAST held its first meeting in mid-October.
Babst Calland is assisting energy industry clients with rule implementation and strategy involving the use of small UAS. Please contact Brianne Kurdock at (202) 853-3462 or firstname.lastname@example.org, James Curry at (202) 853-3461 or email@example.com, or Keith Coyle at (202) 853-3460 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.