On December 10, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted five more exemptions for business or commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the United States. This follows the seven exemptions previously granted to companies operating UAS for television program and movie filming. These new exemptions were granted for UAS operations for precision aerial surveys, aerial imaging of construction sites, and flare stack inspections of overwater oil production platforms.
Many of the conditions imposed in the exemptions previously granted to the companies proposing to use UAS for filmmaking purposes are imposed in these new exemptions. In granting these new exemptions, the FAA continued its previous practice of relying on the manuals submitted by the petitioners that describe operations, maintenance, and inspection procedures for the proposed UAS operations. The new exemptions also impose some different conditions and limitations on the various recipients of the exemptions.
The petitions seeking these exemptions were filed between May 30, 2014 and July 19, 2014. The exemptions were granted on December 10 between five and six-and-a-half months after the filing. As of December 10, the FAA reportedly had received 167 requests for such exemptions.