FAA certifies first two drones for commercial use

From the Washington Post:

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators say they have certified two types of unmanned aircraft for civilian use, a milestone expected to lead to the first approved commercial drone operations later this summer.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday the drones are Insitu’s Scan Eagle X200 and AeroVironment’s PUMA [shown above]. Both weigh less than 55 pounds, are about 4.5 feet long and have wingspans of 9 to 10 feet.

A major energy company plans to fly the Scan Eagle off the Alaska coast starting in August to survey ice floes and migrating whales. The PUMA is expected to support emergency response crews for oil spill monitoring and wildlife surveillance over the Beaufort Sea.

Most nonmilitary use of drones in the U.S. has been limited to police and other government agencies.

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Comment by Gary Mortimer on July 27, 2013 at 6:34am

I see it as DOD contractors being given a heck of an advantage. You might also view it as the saving of AV since sandy places are getting less popular they are not doing so well. Word on the street is that a multirotor has also received the nod. I would put money on it not starting with the letter D.

Comment by R. D. Starwalt on July 27, 2013 at 7:44am

I think the operative word in the article is 'commercial'.

If you are going to use this technology in the airspace as part of your business, the government wants a certification/license process -- read that also as 'pay us for the use of the airspace after we approve the hardware'.

There may very well be an office of  'Micro-aviation Regulation' coming to a government near you.


Comment by John Arne Birkeland on July 27, 2013 at 9:25am

The certifications and documentation required for this level of commercial operation is not something any single person could manage for a "side project". And that is all part of the plan. The big players want to keep the requirement levels as high as possible to exclude small players from entering the market. You find the same deal going on in the offshore market. The cost of managing documentation requirements is often much higher than the actual product being sold.

Comment by Dwgsparky on July 27, 2013 at 11:21am
Fido these aircraft have sense and avoid ? If not then how are they better than our UAV's? What part of what certification makes them better?

Comment by Dwgsparky on July 27, 2013 at 11:23am
Oops, should have said....
Do these aircraft ....

Comment by crystal garris on July 27, 2013 at 1:10pm
Although the process is different for military VS comercial. Being a persone who presently has a design flying for the military which I got through the militaries certification process, I can tell you its not quite as difficult as most people on both sides of the fence are claiming it to be.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on July 28, 2013 at 10:11am

I wonder if the local FAA office that approved those designs will be as kind though.

Comment by Dwgsparky on July 29, 2013 at 9:21am

Ok guys, I am sorry but I dont get this at all?

To certify a UAV for comercial use they have to have a certification process to measure the UAV performance against. Where is this process.? Where is the legislation?. The issue always appears to relate to safety and sense and avoid. What is special about these 2 planes that we cannot match?

The FAA cannot use one set of rules for the big guys and one set for use little people.

Comment by Digital Wings on July 29, 2013 at 9:44am
They did something other companies didn't. They tried. I bet if other companies develop a similar UAV platform and try to get it certified, it will pass. Don't get discouraged, Get building! The DIY drone market is too big to ignore. We will be part of the thousands of drones flying around soon enough.

Comment by Dwgsparky on July 29, 2013 at 1:15pm

Hi Digital

I am not discouraged just mystified by the crazy American beaurocacy ( Ok I am not the only one..and I dont live in the USA now.) .

I have my drone built and working well (sub 2kg) and I want to market it respectfully and legally in the USA.  Now I have a problem. If there is a "Standard" then I can build to it and know that it should pass and be certified. just like a driving test..... do this, do that. ok heres your licence.

if there is NO standard then how is the UAV or UAVS evaluated in a defined, repeatable and FAIR way for everyone.... Your FAA surely dont have rules for the big guys and different rules for the little guys, I thought that was against the law. Can I file a suit angainst the FAA alleging discrimination ??



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