3689457144?profile=originalI don't know how many of you guys have seen this yet, but this is HUGE NEWS for us. No COA needed for drones up to 25 pounds, as long as it's being operated by a U.S. safety agency.

Check out the article that came out 2 hours ago on Bloomberg. 


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  • Yes, the FAA announcement talks about COAs being expanded to any 1st responders... as long as they are apart of a gov't agency!

    That's the kicker--"gov't agency" (ok: well that includes local & state, which is new)

    There's nothing in it about commercial use :(

  • Jacob - agreed, yeah it seems like Bloomberg was misleading. Reporters, especially when they are unfamiliar with the subject they are reporting on, tend to put on blinders when they interpret something as sensational. But I also agree that it's still a big step, if mostly for law enforcement. It still means they can deploy drones faster than before -- and are more or less given drone privileges that no one else in the US has. That's newsworthy in itself, but it's not what Bloomberg is reporting.

    Here's a write-up on the announcement that I made: http://www.mentalmunition.com/2012/05/monumental-faa-announcement-m...

    Big FAA announcement means quicker access to drones for law enforcement, "streamlined" authorization
    Law enforcement agencies will be able to get drones off the ground more quickly, and also will be able to use larger drones, the Federal ...
  • Ariley and Matt- It looks like you guys are right and Bloomberg is totally misleading. It seems like we (public agencies at this point) have to go through a 2-tiered (training/performance evaluation and operational) COA process. The timing of the paperwork is also expedited on the FAA's end. This info states that they basically have 90 days to make the whole process much quicker- including a web based COA process. Either way, they are finally making some steps to actually do something. 

    The whole FAA article is here- http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=68004

  • I would not be surprised if they come up with some form of licensing for drone pilots .The first years of implementation are going to be shaky. If every police force and every fire department gets one there is going to be a lot of  drones buzzing around they are all going to want flir and fvp right out of the gate .  They will need quadro copters with protected fans for working the city streets and lots of rubber bumpers for when they hit stuff  not every body has the skill or can gain the skill to fly one especially at night  they will be flying into unseen hydro wires .There is going to be a demand for drone pilots. When one gets away and causes property damage  the law suits will come .Insurance will be a big issue   Some People will be offended when  the drone  stops and takes a look at them some people might throw rocks at them if they feel intimidated Drone repair centers will spring up all over the place . It will be interesting to see which drone manufacturer gets the contracts?"Bata? or VHS?" The technology will jump forward  with leaps and Bounds  motors batteries electronics airframes there will be lots of "broken drones "on E Bay Exciting times !

  • Ok, gotta find a cheap hangar to rent or buy. ;-)

    PM me if anyone has one.

  • @Ellison- Indoors is not in the NAS, thus outside FAA jurisdiction, and is fair game.

  • This is interesting.  What if a company does all its testing inside a hangar, then is a COA required?  If not, then that could be one way around the need for a COA, and you have all the Safety Agenies as potential clients.

  • It seems like this is a pretty big step, but I don't think Bloomberg is being accurate (and potentially disingenuous) when it says "without applying for special approvals." I read the FAA document, and nowhere does it say gov't agencies can fly without approval. As Ariley said, it's a two-tiered COA process that the FAA announced.

    Maybe it depends on your interpretation of what "special" means, but I think most familiar with the technology would consider any CoA approval at all to be "special."

    I'm going to contact the office and see what the difference in the system is. The announcement is vague to me.

  • The actual FAA statement implies that any UAS will have to go through a two-tiered COA process. The Bloomberg article interprets the statement to mean that only UAS's above 25lbs will have to go through that process. I hope they're right, but I think that's an optimistic interpretation. Who wants to call the FAA and ask?
  • Yeah, unless they're making the COA a lot easier to get (and I see no reason to believe that they are), I'm not sure that this is a step forward at all. The language in the Reauthorization Bill would have let public safety agencies fly drones up to 4.4lbs with little/no oversight under some common sense guidelines. This puts the horrid COA process back in the mix under the guise of being more aggressive on weight.
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