On January 23, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted two more Section 333 exemptions for commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the United States.
The first of the new exemptions authorizes UAS operations for filmmaking; the second is for aerial photography and inspections. The conditions and limitations imposed on the two new exemptions are generally a combination of conditions and limitations previously imposed in the 14 prior exemptions granted by the FAA, or variations thereof.
However, the second new exemption includes a few new limitations, including that “first-person view” is not permitted and that the visual observer is to perform no other duties other than seeing and avoiding traffic and other obstacles. The second exemption also provides that the airspace restrictions relating to the UAS operation can be dealt with in the context of the corresponding private certificate of waiver or authorization, rather than in the exemption.
In these exemptions, the FAA reaffirmed its view that a UAS pilot in command operating under a Section 333 exemption must hold at least a private-pilot certificate and a third-class airman medical certificate.
The petitions seeking these two newest exemptions were filed in June and July 2014. As of January 23, the FAA reportedly has received 295 Section 333 petitions for commercial exemptions, with more being filed practically every day.