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FAA Ramps Up Commercial Drone Authorizations

Posted by Patricia Pepper on

The FAA’s list of Section 333 Authorizations shows that the agency granted over 500 authorizations to commercial drone companies last month, compared to 370 in January.  The FAA has processed over 3, 700 applications in total, and over 300 per month for the last 6 months.  But February’s numbers demonstrate the FAA’s efforts to speed up the process and show the drone industry that they are taking business seriously.

Gowdy Brothers Aerospace, a consulting firm working with companies applying for Section 333 Exemptions, announced today that 20 of their customers had received over 1,000 drones on their exemption petition grants – the largest number to date following the grant of 324 drones to Measure last August.

“Virtually every Drone or sUAV every manufactured under 55 pounds is on the Gowdy Brothers approved lists of 1,120 Drones.” According to Jason Christenson, President of Gowdy Brothers Aerospace, LLC.

“This new process of adding 1,120 approved small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (sUAV) to Gowdy Brothers Aerospace’s customers petitions will expedite the commercial UAV operators approval process and meet both the FAA, Airman and Airspace Rules Division’s objectives and Congress’ Modernization and Reform act of 2012, to safely integrate UAS/UAV’s into the National Airspace System (NAS),” according to an Washington, DC, FAA Airman and Airspace Rules Division source.

The increase in authorization follows sharp criticism of the FAA over their failure to complete the UAV integration plan required by the 2012 legislation: while the 2016 FAA Reauthorization package has been tabled for now, the FAA is still smarting over proposals to privatize large sections of the agency due to a perception of incompetence and waste.

Recent language used by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx when describing the newest FAA drone rule making task force has also contributed to industry hopes that the FAA may start working harder to support them.

“The Department continues to be bullish on new technology,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We recognize the significant industry interest in expanding commercial access to the National Airspace System. The short deadline reinforces our commitment to a flexible regulatory approach that can accommodate innovation while maintaining today’s high levels of safety.”

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