On 6 January 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted two more exemptions for commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the United States. These new exemptions authorize UAS operations (i) to conduct photogrammetry and crop scouting for precision agriculture and (ii) for the first time, to augment real estate listing videos and enhance academic community awareness of the local area for those unfamiliar with the area. The conditions and limitations imposed on these two new exemptions are generally a combination of conditions and limitations previously imposed in the 12 prior exemptions granted by the FAA or variations thereof.
The FAA reaffirmed its view that a UAS pilot in command must hold at least a private pilot certificate and a third-class airman medical certificate. The FAA also imposed conditions on training and the geographic locations for these UAS flights (as it has done in the prior exemptions) even though the petitioner did not provide much, if any, details about those aspects of the proposed UAS operations in the petition.
The petitions seeking these two newest exemptions were initially filed in July 2014. As of 6 January, the FAA has reportedly received 214 requests for such commercial exemptions, with more being filed practically every day.