Geo Week News

March 24, 2015

FAA Issues "Blanket" COAs for 333 Exemption Holders

ebee UAV

March 24, 2015 — In a statement today, the FAA announced an interim policy “to speed up airspace authorizations for commercial unmanned aircraft (UAS) operators who obtain Section 333 exemptions.” Though new rules will not be finalized for quite some time, the FAA expects that the policy will “bridge the gap between the past process, which evaluated every UAS operation individually, and future operations after we publish a final version of the proposed small UAS rule.

The new policy allows all holders of 333 exemptions to perform commercial UAV flights anywhere in the country other than restricted airspace or other prohibited areas, such as cities and airports. The UAVs must be under 55 pounds, and the flight must beBoo during day time, at or under 200 feet, and within visual line of sight of the pilots.

Previously, a holder of a 333 exemption was required to obtain a COA from the FAA for each individual project, a process that could take up to 2 months.

For companies receiving 333 exemptions in the future, the FAA will automatically issue a COA with the exemption. To perform UAV flights in restricted airspace, a company must obtain a special COA for that airspace.


Commercial UAV Expo, a new trade show and conference organized by SPAR 3D, will take place October 5-7, 2015 in Las Vegas. It focuses on the commercial UAV/UAS market in North America covering including Surveying & Mapping; Civil Engineering & Infrastructure;  Mining; Construction; Process, Power & Utilities; Precision Agriculture; and Law Enforcement, Security, Emergency Response.

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