FAA grants 8 more exemptions in US for commercial use of drones

Thursday, November 26, 2015 - 10:23

The US Federal Aviation Administration has granted eight more exemptions to companies using small drones commercially.

The exemptions have been issued to Team 5 LLC, Shotover Camera Systems LP, Helinet Aviation Services LLC, and Alan D. Purwin for film and television production, Total Safety US Inc. for flare stack inspections and Slugwear Inc for aerial photography and surveys. The FAA also amended exemptions given previously to Aerial Mob LLC and Pictorvision Inc to let the companies fly additional types of small drones.

The FAA has now given 24 exemptions in total and has received 342 requests to use drones commercially in total.

The industry is eagerly awaiting the FAA's 'small UAS rule', which would apply to all drones weighing 55 pounds or less, regardless of size, application or type of drone. A draft version of these regulations was supposed to be made by the end of 2014, but are now expected to be in place by the end of 2015.

Regulations governing the commercial use of drone continue to develop more widely too. Drones are banned from flying within five miles of airports and are off limits at sporting events, such as NFL and MLB games, NCAA games in stadiums that seat more than 30,000 people and NASCAR events. The FAA warned before last weekend's Super Bowl that drone operators could face jail time for violating a 30 mile no-fly zone around the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The drone that recently crashed on the White House lawn caused concern, especially given the existing ban on flying drones over Washington D.C. DJI have since said they will incorporate controls into their software that will prevent drones from flying within 15.5 miles of the US capital, in addition to the function DJIs are already programmed for to avoid flying around 'sensitive institutions'.