UAS Operations and Applications

The FAA has designated three types of UAS operations: Civil, Public, and Model Aircraft.

Civil Operations are essentially for profit operations that are not Public Operations.

Currently the FAA is processing and approving applications under the provisions of Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, "Special Rules for Certain Unmanned Aircraft Systems," which allow for commercial operations in low-risk, controlled environments. Unless Section 333 approval is granted by the FAA a civil operator would have to obtain a Special Airworthiness Certificate. Specifically, Section 333 authorizes the FAA to determine:

  1. If certain unmanned aircraft systems, if any, as a result of their size, weight, speed, operational capability, proximity to airports and populated areas, and operation within visual line of sight do not create a hazard to users of the national airspace system or the public or pose a threat to national security; and
  2. Whether a certificate of waiver, certificate of authorization, or airworthiness certification under section 44704 of title 49, United States Code, is required for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems identified under paragraph (1).

The FAA has recently approved a variety of Section 333 applications. Some recent FAA approvals include those involved in the real estate, agriculture, and movie making industrys. If you are interested in commercial UAS operations Section 333 is currently the quickest route to obtaining 

Public Operations are operations by governmental entities such as police departments, firefighters, border patrol, and research entities. 

Public aircraft operations are generally not subject to the regulations in 14 CFR Chapter I. However they are subject to regulations that affect all aircraft, such as air traffic operations (14 CFR Part 91).

Model Aircraft refers to recreational use of airspace, for non-commercial uses, by hobbyists.

The FAA limits operations for hobby and recreation to below 400 feet, away from airports and air traffic, and within sight of the operator. 

Our firm offers expertise by former FAA Flight Standards personnel who have sevred at the local, regional and national level. Years of experience in navigating FAA regulations allow us to help you obtain the result you are looking for. Whether you are interested in using your UAS for commercial or public purposes- we can help.

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