After a comprehensive risk analysis, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has raised the unmanned aircraft (UAS) “blanket” altitude authorization for Section 333 exemption holders and government aircraft operators to 400 feet. Previously, the agency had put in place a nationwide Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for such flights up to 200 feet.
The new COA policy allows small unmanned aircraft — operated as other than model aircraft (i.e. commercial use) — to fly up to 400 feet anywhere in the country except restricted airspace and other areas, such as major cities, where the agency prohibits UAS operations.
“This is another milestone in our effort to change the traditional speed of government,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “Expanding the authorized airspace for these operations means government and industry can carry out unmanned aircraft missions more quickly and with less red tape.”
The FAA expects the move will reduce the workload for COA applications for industry UAS operators, government agencies and the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. The agency also estimates the move will lessen the need for individual COAs by 30 to 40 percent. Other provisions of an FAA authorization, such as registering the UAS and making sure pilots have the proper certification, still apply.
Under the blanket COA, the FAA will permit flights at or below 400 feet for UAS operators with a Section 333 exemption for aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds and for government UAS operations. Operators must fly under daytime Visual Flight Rules, keep the UAS within visual line of sight of the pilot and stay certain distances away from airports or heliports:
- Five nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower; or
- Three NM from an airport with a published instrument flight procedure, but not an operational tower; or
- Two NM from an airport without a published instrument flight procedure or an operational tower; or
- Two NM from a heliport with a published instrument flight procedure.
- Northern HeliCopter Secures HEMS Contract for German Offshore Wind Farms
- First use with DRF Luftrettung EpiShuttle for Civil Air Ambulance
- Kopter officially joins Leonardo Helicopters
- Coulson Aviation expand helicopter firefighting ops in Australia
- FlightSafety delivers the ground school portion of LiveLearning training system
- Second charity helicopter air ambulance launched in Scotland
- COVID-19 – Airbus recommendations for cleaning and disinfection of their helicopters
- STARS announce winners of 2020 Alberta Lottery
- Boeing Delivers First CH-47F Chinook to Royal Netherlands Air Force
- COVID-19 – CHC adapt AW139s with all approvals completed inside two weeks
- HeliRussia postponed to the autumn
- RAF Helicopters Support Scottish Ambulance Service Trials
- TH-119 Certification Team Wins Harry T. Jensen Award
- Japan Coast Guard orders two more H225
- Rescue helicopter ‘Juliet’ retires from Northland fleet
- US Navy grant to fund AnalySwift research to improve helicopter service life
- COVID-19 – Helijet offers free flights for healthcare workers
- Bell 360 Invictus chosen for US Army Scout Rotorcraft Competition
- Airbus-funded helicopter booking platform Voom ceases operations
- VFS 2020 Annual Awards announcements