Earlier today, the FAA issued a press release announcing that it had granted approval “for energy corporation BP and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturer AeroVironment to fly an AeroVironment Puma AE for aerial surveys in Alaska—the first time the FAA has authorized a commercial UAS operation over land.”

The FAA confirmed that the UAS at issue, the Puma AE, “is a small, hand-launched UAS that is about 4 1/2 feet long and has a wingspan of 9 feet. Using the information generated by the Puma’s sensors, BP hopes to target maintenance activities on specific roads and infrastructure, which will save time and support safety and operational reliability goals, while helping to protect the sensitive North Slope environment.”

With the recent flurry in applications for Certificates of Waiver or Authorization, today’s announcement by the FAA signals the commonsense approach many industries await as the FAA further develops its much anticipated regulations.

We will continue to monitor and report on significant developments as the UAV/UAS/drone industry materializes.

Today’s release from the FAA can be found here.