FAA Lets UAS Airworthiness Cat Out of the Bag


The cat may have inadvertently been let out of the satchel about UAS airworthiness and certification on twitter. There are also some indications that the small rule is being redrafted. Again, while these iterations are made the small business guy is sitting on the sideline. I have expressed multiple concerns over the years about any aircraft certification or pilot certification process that was too onerous for small business.  I was assured that the small businessperson would be considered. However, there is concern as the “public” and small business stakeholder has not been part of the process for some time. Years have ticked by, and we have nothing to show for representation.

Occurrences like these of hiding information suggest that there is ample cause for concern and only further undermines the public trust in the UAS rulemaking process.

Lets hope this doesn’t mean that we need to start building Raven type aircraft. A petition is in the works to hopefully  end the DoD vendor controlled, and apparent FAA sanctioned disenfranchisement of the “public” and small business end-user.



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  • Well, airworthiness is going to add a whole new dimension to cost and complexity. :-(

  • I doubt it.  The USA FAA certificate is the worldwide standard for aviation.  Most travel to here to get FAA certified so they can fly anywhere in the world.  Why wouldn't a UAV pilot need the same knowledge as a full scale pilot?  Same airspace, same rules, same environment, same physics that make the machines fly.  Only difference is when you crash in the plane you could die, and if you crash your UAV it is no threat to your life, but it still is to others.  The FAA has never cared about if you going to kill yourself operating an aircraft.  They have traditionally protected the passengers and bystanders.  I will guess the UAV airworthiness and pilot requirements will be minimally different from the full scale ones.  There really is not a reason to make them otherwise.  Hopefully they let UAV with certain weight and performance restrictions stay around like they recently did with sport pilot and sport aircraft.  For point of reference I fly both full scale professionally and UAV LOS/FPV/Autonomous of course all within visual range and below 400 Agl.

  • Moderator

    You can't build that school until they publish the requirements. Perhaps they will accept tickets from Canada, Australia or the UK when it starts so worth getting now.

  • This is going to suck. Somebody should build a UAV pilots school for people who will need the FAA stamp but dont need to fly a full scale plane.

  • Moderator

    In Europe you do need to be instrument rated for BLOS, most of my chums that do that sort of thing are ATPL's But having said that exceptions are beginning to be made for companies with proven experience. The poster child being the crowd in France that are let out to 100km. I guess that's the benefit of starting with very small stuff in 2007 and building operational knowledge. You let people get bigger and go further as they demonstrate safe operation.

    IMHO the FAA start everything at the same time from Global Hawk to a DJI Phantom is a much more sensible approach why waste years and years of scaling. Bigger is best. I look forward to 2020 the current target for the start of ops. Hang on just a minute.........

  • Moderator
    Sure, Boeing, Northrop, GeneralAtomics, etc. all have hundreds of rated pilots on staff already!
    That means they will own the airspace, and all the business.
    But what could those multinationals possibly want with a photoshoot of say, a grand opening of a new Dennies restaurant or photos of a dairy farm??
  • I pulled that strait out of a letter headed for the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety. This nonsense has got to come to a stop.

    Latest I'm hearing is instrument rating!   

  • Moderator

    Oh, I love Patrick's comment:  "...hopefully end the DoD vendor controlled, and apparent FAA sanctioned disenfranchisement of the “public” and small business end-user."


    I've never heard a truer assessment of the mess we are in!


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