The Federal Aviation Administration this past week approved 1,000 applications for nonmilitary drone flights, exemptions granted under a section of federal law that allows the U.S. Transportation Department to wave requirements for FAA approval for drone flights that are operated outside of restricted airspace and below 200 feet.
The FAA said in a statement that the exemptions were part of a “continuing effort to safely expand and support commercial unmanned aircraft operations in U.S. airspace. … Companies and individuals from a broad spectrum of industries are taking advantage of the Section 333 exemption process.”
The Section 333 application process allows potential drone operators to craft a picture of how the technology will be put into use, for the FAA’s consideration.
“Many of the grants the FAA has issued allow aerial filming for uses such as motion picture production, precision agriculture and real estate photography,” the FAA statement stipulated. “The agency also has issued grants for new and novel approaches to inspecting power distribution towers and wiring, railroad infrastructure and bridges.”
The FAA is currently in the process of developing regulations for allowing a rapid expansion of the use of commercial drones in the U.S.; however, following a recent public comment period, it is estiamted that a final set of regs will not be ready for Congressional consideration until early 2016.
For more on drone/UAV application to the road and bridge construction industry, insurance concerns and sussing out the FAA's Section 333 proess, check out our September issue, which will be available on this site the first week of next month; also, subscribe now and receive a print copy in time for next month’s distribution.