CIS Group Scoop

FAA APPROVES DRONES (UAS) FOR COMMERCIAL USE?

Posted by Morgan Cassady on Jun 27, 2016 1:37:50 PM

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted several new operating rules for the commercial use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)—most commonly known as drones. These new rules go into effect August 2016 and are covered by the FAA's 333 Exemption and the Small UAS Rule (14CFR part 107). I have summarized a few of the main changes taking place in August; along with our initiatives.

Drone home Inspection

Part 107 new rule highlights:

  • A 333 Exemption is no longer needed
  • An operator can be certified for 24 months rather the previously required pilot's license
  • A drone may be flown by the certified operator without a visual observer
  • The drone must be registered with the FAA
  • The drone must weigh less than 55 pounds
  • The vehicle must be visual in line of site
  • Altitude of the drone cannot exceed 400 feet
  • Flying can only take place during daylight hours
  • Maximum ground speed cannot exceed 100 mph
  • The drone cannot fly over a person not directly operating or participating in the flight

*The details of the new rules are located at the end of this post.

The new rules remove a large number of restrictions for commercial use and makes the technology more available for many industries. It will be exciting to see the possibilities that will soon be discovered.

With the announcement of the new rules, CIS Group will certainly revisit our current initiatives. 

CIS Group's Drone Initiative  

In late 2015, CIS Group formally applied for the FAA 333 Exemption to commercially operate drones to determine the applications and value of this technology for underwriting and claims operations. The CIS Group 333 Exemption application has been awaiting approval from the FAA like so many other applicants. With the announcement of the Part 107 rule, it is likely that we will pursue approval under the new guidelines. 

The attached video below is a test flight with a drone over the roof of a home near our home office Texas.

 

 

The goal of the CIS Group drone initiative is to help determine the viability of using drone technology within our underwriting inspection, high-value appraisal, and claims divisions. It is important for us to identify the practical uses for this technology, as well as help identify the risk and challenges that will certainly follow. How will the industry handle the following challenges?

  • Privacy concerns
  • Safety risk of a 55lb object flying through the sky up to speeds of 100 mph
  • Customer education
  • Possible complaints
  • Cost to operate

These are only a few of the risks that need to be addressed as the industry moves forward but I am can assure you that the next 18-24 months will be an exciting time as the new rules on commercial drone use change.

Be sure to stay up-to-date on this topic and subscribe to the CIS Group Scoop by filling out the simple form to the right. 

Until next time,

 

Morgan Cassady

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Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107)

Operational Limitations
  • Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).
  • Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS. Alternatively, the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the visual observer.
  • At all times the small unmanned aircraft must remain close enough to the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS for those people to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.
  • Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary vehicle.
  • Daylight-only operations, or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting.
  • Must yield right of way to other aircraft.
  • May use visual observer (VO) but not required.
  • First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement but can be used as long as the requirement is satisfied in other ways.
  • Maximum ground speed of 100 mph (87 knots).
  • Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a structure.
  • Minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from control station.
  • Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission.
  • Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without ATC permission.
  • No person may act as a remote pilot in command or VO for more than one unmanned aircraft operation at one time.
  • No operations from a moving aircraft.
  • No operations from a moving vehicle unless the operation is over a sparsely populated area.
  • No careless or reckless operations.
  • No carriage of hazardous materials.
  • Requires preflight inspection by the remote pilot in command.
  • A person may not operate a small unmanned aircraft if he or she knows or has reason to know of any physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of a small UAS.
  • Foreign-registered small unmanned aircraft are allowed to operate under part 107 if they satisfy the requirements of part 375.
  • External load operations are allowed if the object being carried by the unmanned aircraft is securely attached and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.
  • Transportation of property for compensation or hire allowed provided that-
    • The aircraft, including its attached systems, payload and cargo weigh less than 55 pounds total;
    • The flight is conducted within visual line of sight and not from a moving vehicle or aircraft; and
    • The flight occurs wholly within the bounds of a State and does not involve transport between (1) Hawaii and another place in Hawaii through airspace outside Hawaii; (2) the District of Columbia and another place in the District of Columbia; or (3) a territory or possession of the United States and another place in the same territory or possession.
  • Most of the restrictions discussed above are waivable if the applicant demonstrates that his or her operation can safely be conducted under the terms of a certificate of waiver.
Remote Pilot in Command Certification and Responsibilities
  • A person operating a small UAS must either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who does hold a remote pilot certificate (remote pilot in command).
  • To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, a person must:
    • Demonstrate aeronautical knowledge by either:
      • Passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center; or
      • Hold a part 61 pilot certificate other than student pilot, complete a flight review within the previous 24 months, and complete a small UAS online training course provided by the
    • Be vetted by the Transportation Security
    • Be at least 16 years
  • Part 61 pilot certificate holders may obtain a temporary remote pilot certificate immediately upon submission of their application for a permanent certificate. Other applicants will obtain a temporary remote pilot certificate upon successful completion of TSA security vetting. The FAA anticipates that it will be able to issue a temporary remote pilot certificate within 10 business days after receiving a completed remote pilot certificate 
  • Until international standards are developed, foreign-certificated UAS pilots will be required to obtain an FAA- issued remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.

A remote pilot in command must:

  • Make available to the FAA, upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing, and any associated documents/records required to be kept under the
  • Report to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in at least serious injury, loss of consciousness, or property damage of at least $500.
  • Conduct a preflight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is in a condition for safe
  • Ensure that the small unmanned aircraft complies with the existing registration requirements specified in
  • 91.203(a)(2).

A remote pilot in command may deviate from the requirements of this rule in response to an in-flight emergency.

Aircraft Requirements
  • FAA airworthiness certification is not required. However, the remote pilot in command must conduct a preflight check of the small UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation
Model Aircraft
  • Part 107 does not apply to model aircraft that satisfy all of the criteria specified in section 336 of Public Law 112-95.
  • The rule codifies the FAA’s enforcement authority in part 101 by prohibiting model aircraft operators from endangering the safety of the NAS.

Topics: Underwriting Inspections, Technology, Exterior Inspection, Drones