UAV024 – UAV Licensing and Permitting Proposal

DJI Phantom

A proposal for licensing and permitting small UAV operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection grounds their fleet, quadcopters filming whales, and drinking and droning don’t mix.

Proposal for UAV/sUAV Licensing/Phased Permitting Plan

Listener Tim Trott submitted a proposal for a collection of UAV classes, each with requirements for airframe type (multi-copter or fixed wing), weight, altitude, operation in private or public areas, VLOS or FPV, logging, observer requirements, safety and flight testing, insurance, and collision avoidance capability:

Class E – Experimental/Photographic

Under 5 pounds, VLOS only, under 100 feet above terrain, private property only (no public areas). No spectators within 25 feet. Observer required. Multicopter (sUAV) only. Insurance required (AMA or better). Airframe Certification form, logging required. Written safety test, Level E Proficiency flight test. Interim 1 year temporary permits pending full rule implementation.

Class D – Motion Picture/Corporate/News/Journalist

Under 20 pounds, VLOS only, limited to 400 ft above terrain unless flight plan filed and approved. Insurance required, private property only (no public areas without permit). Observer required. No spectators within 25 feet. Fixed wing and multicopter sUAV. Airframe Certification form, logging required. Written safety test, Level D Proficiency flight test.

Class C – Agricultural/Industrial

Under 25 pounds, FPV supervision, limited to 400 feet above terrain. Insurance required, private property only (no public areas). Observer required, no spectators within 25 feet. Fixed wing and multicopter UAV. Observer required. Airframe Certification form, logging required. Written safety test, Level C Proficiency flight test.

Class B – Public Safety/Utility (Fire, rescue, public safety, pipeline and waterway monitoring)

Under 30 pounds, FPV supervision. Under 400 feet above terrain, above 400 feet with filed flight plan. No spectators within 25 ft. Public and private airspace. Fixed wing and multicopter UAV. FAA Review. Collision Avoidance System required. (LIDAR) Airframe Certification form, logging required. Written safety test, Level B Proficiency flight test. Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written test.

Class A – Heavy Class (State, Municipal, Federal Agency)

Over 30 lbs, FPV supervision, under 400 feet above terrain, above 400 feet with filed flight plan, Insurance. Tracking or visual observer required, no spectators within 25 feet. Fixed wing and multicopter UAV. FAA Review. Collision Avoidance System required. (LIDAR) Airframe Certification form, logging required. Written safety test, Level A Proficiency flight test. Commercial Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written test.

Class O – Observer

Requires written Basic Safety test.

Proficiency Flight Test may be administered by designated certification instructor or licensed flight instructor.

Safety Test would be comprised of questions relating to 400 foot height limits, knowledge of 500 foot limits for manned aircraft, restrictions related to airports and heliports, spectator distance, VLOS requirement, observer requirement, minimum flight distance from utilities, highways, railroads and buildings, other rules.

Find Tim at Tim Trott Productions and Flying Eye Video.

The News:

U.S. Border Protection Agency Grounds Drone Fleet

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Predator B experienced mechanical failure and was unable to return to base. So the flight crew ditched the Predator in the Pacific Ocean and has grounded the fleet. The Predator B is flown by the CBP Office of Air and Marine.

Is whale watching with drones next big trend?

A California whale-watching organization used a quadcopter to create video of a whale at sea. This has created new questions about this type of UAV application. The Marine Mammal Protection Act makes it illegal to harass or alter the behavior of marine mammals. NOAA has whale-watching guidelines that suggest boaters keep 100 yards away from whales, and planes and helicopters stay 1000 feet above. What about a sUAS fifty feet above a whale?

FAA Stops Beer Drone Delivery

Lakemaid micro brewery was delivering 6 packs to ice fishermen via multi-copter, but the FAA said, “No!”

 

15 thoughts on “UAV024 – UAV Licensing and Permitting Proposal

  1. Tim

    It was my intent for all the proposed class designations to relate to “commercial” use, including class E. However, I could be persuaded to see reasons for not making a distinction between “hobby” and “commercial use” since “intent”, commercial or otherwise, matters little in an incident where a UAV causes harm or damage due to negligence, lack of experience, poor judgement or simply irresponsible bad behavior. There may be places where I have the relative weights wrong, or perhaps someone, particularly those with commercial pilot experience, can suggest where the plan should go further.

    Reply
  2. Bob

    Congrats to Tim for putting together a thoughtful “proposal.” A few comments:
    1. Why the 100 foot limit for Class E? FAA RC airplane guidelines allow up to 400 feet.
    2. I don’t understand the “only over private property” idea. I’d think it would be a lot safer flying a small UAV at a park or football field rather than over a residential neighborhood.
    3. For Class D, Tim proposes allowing flight over 400 feet with an approved flight plan, but an approved flight plan does not keep the craft (UAV in this case) separated from other aircraft unless it’s an IFR flight plan, and the operator is in contact with ATC and can comply with all IRF regulations.

    I’d also propose that all UAVs over some very small size be required to have an autonomous “return to base” capability if the control link is lost (like the DJI Phantom has).

    Reply
    1. Tim

      Bob,

      I totally agree about the autonomous “return to base” capability if the control link is lost.

      1: In my own experience, 100 ft is the adequate for most general aerial photography use, and a first level license is a necessary starting point. You can legally drive 70 mph but I would not advise it for a beginning or student driver. I have received other input that there should be an exemption for miniature UAVs (“toys”) to be operated at very low levels, say under 60 ft, and I agree.

      2: Point taken: The private property thing may have been overly cautious. The thought there was not “any residential property” but specifically the flyer’s own property or where permission was granted. Case in point was the incident regarding the Statue of Liberty… which is “public” and which was apparently a problem for park officials. You are correct that a local baseball field (and the hay field next to my house) can provide an excellent pilot training facility.

      3: Class D was viewed as a “professional” level to allow licensed pilots with radio communication and collision avoidance capabilities at some point in the future, exactly as you describe, providing for a compatible blending of UAS into the NAS. Example: movie and TV crews. This class also had political value in that it provides a path for licensee pilots into the field where their training would be necessary and required.

      Reply
  3. Tim

    Correction – my last point (3) was referring to Class A. The flight plan part for Class D probably shouldn’t be there. Over 400 ft should be probably reserved for Class A.

    Reply
  4. Matt

    As a member of the military UAS program, I applaud the attempts to regulate this burgeoning industry. I have however seen time and time again progress stifled by proposals which are too specific. I would argue each class should require a visual observer or tracking system for safety of flight (such as the requirements in class A). It seems foolish to limit class B – class E to visual tracking.

    Reply
  5. RC Enthusiast

    Warning, the following comments do not beat around the bush. Proceed at your own risk. This was clearly written by some FAA wonk that is completely out of touch with general use RC enthusiasts and frankly, it sucks. You can take your class E requirements and stick ’em where the sun doesn’t shine! And should this proposal get any consideration, you can let it rest on your shoulders that an entire class of users was regulated and alienated out of existence. All this over some apparent threat of dire consequences should a hobbyist quadcopter fall from the air in a public area. How many bystander deaths are attributed to hobbyist drones vs. the 40,000 automotive deaths each year? This does not fly.

    Reply
  6. Max Flight

    We love different perspectives – it tends to make the end result better. And there are certainly a lot of perspectives on this issue.

    So the question is: Where do we draw the line? And on what basis should it be drawn?

    Below the line, we’re talking about hobby flyers and it’s unregulated. Above the line, it’s classes of aircraft that need to be regulated.

    The basis for the line should be the criteria under which we say regulation is needed. Is it safety? Piloting skills? What do you think?

    Reply
  7. Ken

    WTH? Private property? Trash the whole idea. How many of us own enough property to fly out of a 20×30 foot area?

    Reply
  8. Tim

    Ref: “RC Enthusiast”

    I am certainly not “some FAA wonk”. I only wish I had that much connection with the FAA.

    The fact is that “rules” are inevitable and unavoidable, and events such as the injury to a marathon runner (http://www.suasnews.com/2014/04/28431/unfortunate-event-as-triathlete-sustains-head-injuries-from-drone/) by a falling sUAV (“hacked”?), the spectator injured by an out of control UAV at a sports event, and others such incidents, along with the booming number of sUAV sales (15,000 per month?) only underscores the need for bringing order to the chaos, and rules are the price we pay for civilization.

    The rules will come, possibly as soon as “this fall”. We can only hope that they include reasonable standards and requirements that are not excessive or unattainable. (Although involvement by the F-38 committee of the ATSM scares me more than a little. http://www.astm.org/COMMITTEE/F38.htm)

    The recent “suggestion” by the FAA that sUAV operators keep logs is a hint that the anxiously awaited FAA rules and sanctioning for commercial sUAV operation will likely include requirements similar to those required by Australia for evidence of 5 hours sUAV operator experience. That much certainly makes sense. Case in point, the recent Tweet about the idiot who says “I like to bring it down fast as possible, hoping that the battery will last for just a little bit longer”. The quote is accompanied by a view from a sUAV above the clouds…..

    I would also hope that the new rules make a distinction between large UAVs designed for long range corporate functions (pipe lines and oil rigs) and sUAVs used by small business and farms.

    When I attempted to submit my “suggestions” to the rule makers at the FAA, I was informed “that ship has already sailed”. When the rules recommendations are submitted for public comment I hope that we can head off any odious and unreasonable constraints they might contain.

    We can reasonably expect that there will be requirements for demonstration of proficiency, tests for knowledge of safety practices and applicable rules and regulations, insurance coverage, and familiarity with procedures and other things (reading sector charts) related to coexisting with other aviation activities. The new rules will also need to deal with integration with the new ADS-B transponder standards, situations requiring flight plans, autonomous flights and other potential activities outside of VLOS, which is a whole other potential can of worms. The alternative would be sUAVs becoming an increasingly dangerous public nuisance with consequences nobody wants.

    By the way, for no really good reason, I have recently expanded my original proposal to something approaching a more comprehensive plan encompassing most of what I have mentioned here. By the way , my new version extends the altitude for “Class E” to 400 ft, not that it matters that much at this stage.

    Reply
  9. Tim

    For what it is worth (probably not much):

    Proposal/Suggestion for (Immediate?)
    UAS/sUAS Phased Licensing/Certification/Registration Process
    (Updated, revised and expanded from previous)
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    PROPOSAL FOR RULE STRUCTURE FOR REGULATION
    OF SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT BY FAA

    SUMMARY
    It is proposed or suggested that:

    1. The FAA provide online registration process at earliest possible date (immediate would be good). Registration number would include -R suffix indicating temporary or restricted designation. Registered operators would be allowed to operate under certain specified restrictions. Commercial operations under restricted registration would be allowed for specified period (e.g. 2 years), after which registered operator must qualify for and pass applicable class certification requirements for the restricted designation to be removed (issued registration in PDF form with -R removed.) to continue operating after the preliminary registration expiration date. Operator would be required to cease operating until passing the required qualifications. Full implementation of rules would become effective at a suitable later date. Commercial operation under Restricted registration would be illegal after specified date when UAS rules have been adopted and approved.
    2. Manufacturers would provide specifications and/or test models to existing test sites for type designation determination (Weight, GPS Return To Base and other safety capabilities, etc.). This data would be assembled in a public reference database in relation to operator class qualification.
    Example: Product Model NN manufactured by ZZ, Inc. is approved for operation by Class 4 operators and below.
    3. NO DIRECT LICENSING OF SMALL AIRCRAFT DEVICES (No “tail numbers”) Operation of higher class devices would require upgrade to that higher class Operator Certification.

    CLASSIFICATION DESIGNATION STRUCTURE:

    -O- Observer (-R registered or certified)
    Registered Observer: Must read and sign safety rules manual (printed or online) Check box appears at end of online scrolling text (Must view all before check box is visible) or signature on printed version attached as PDF to online registration.

    Certified Observer Rating requires passing Basic Safety(**) written test related to observation function (avoiding obstacles and hazards, watching for aircraft, etc.) – (**See below)

    – R- Restricted/Registered Operator (Temporary up to 1 year)
    Restricted operational authority, including commercial uses, for LIMITED PERIOD subject to FUTURE requirements for certification and/or licensing (see below), Registration and signature acknowledging conditions of restriction, limited to max 150 ft AGL, VLOS (Visual Line Of Sight) only, no night flying (between local sunset and sunrise), observer (-O-) and flight log required, observation of restricted spaces indicated on sectional charts for restricted space, and such other restrictions as deemed necessary by the FAA. This registration function would create the FAA with a database of sUAS owners and provide a basis for communicating future rulings and requirements (NOTAMS). Dealers selling UAVs would be requested or required to provide registration forms to all future and previous purchasers of UAV/UAS aircraft.
    Commercial AND hobby use:
    FAA could exempt toy devices below 6 oz.

    Operating Classes (5 and above) may be certified(*) by a licensed pilot (Private or Commercial) or Certified Qualifier, at recognized AMA or other R/C club facility. (“Recognized Club” means 10 or more members, affiliation with national group providing facility insurance coverage).

    EXCEPTION: Registration/certification NOT required for operations under 150 ft AGL at designated AMA or other R/C fields, activities, events or functions where AMA member or other insurance coverage is provided. (This allows continued unrestricted hobby use under safety provisions of designated flying sites. “Home” hobby use under 50 ft AGL might also be allowed.)

    -5- Experimental/Photographic (sUAS)
    Devices under 5 lbs, VLOS only, operations under 400 ft AGL, no spectators within 50 ft. Registered Observer recommended. Airframe approval , logging. (No Autopilot or Flight Control at this level) Fixed wing and multi-copter. Must maintain current flight log. On-board digital logging is suggested. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights are not allowed in this class.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test. Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    -4- Motion Picture/Corporate (UAS)
    Devices uinder 20 lbs, VLOS only, limited to 400 ft AGL unless flight plan filed and approved by local ATC. Registered or Certified Observer required (subject to insurance carrier requirements), no spectators within 25 ft. Fixed wing and multi copter s. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight log. On-board logging is recommended. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights are not allowed in this class.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test. Autopilot or Flight Control is allowed in this classification.

    FUTURE DATE REQUIREMENT:
    Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and notice to local ATC for use over 400 ft)

    -3- Agricultural/Industrial (UAS)
    Devices under 25 lbs, FPV supervision, limited to 400 ft above terrain (AGL) without Flight Plan or ATC Notification. Registered Observer required. Must maintain flight log., no spectators within 25 ft. (Includes utility, power line, pipeline and oil well monitoring operations) Fixed wing and multi-copter UAV. Certified Observer or radar tracking required. ATC notification or flight plan filing may be required for flights over 400ft or beyond VLOS range. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight log. Must maintain flight log. Autopilot or Flight Control may allowed in this classification under certain specified conditions. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights are allowed in this class.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    FUTURE DATE REQUIREMENT: Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and notice to local ATC for use over 400 ft)

    -2- Public Safety/Utility (UAS)
    Devices under 30 lbs, (Fire, rescue, etc.) limited to 400 ft above terrain (AGL) without Flight Plan or ATC Notification. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight and maintenance log. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights may be allowed in this class under specified conditions which may include filing a flight plan.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance, __ hours supervised operating experience verified by flight logs

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    FUTURE DATE REQUIREMENT: Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and notice to local ATC for use over 400 ft)

    -1- Heavy/Large Class (UAS – “Drones”)
    Over 30 lbs, FPV supervision, under 400 ft above (State, Municipal, Fed.) terrain. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight log. On-board logging may be required. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights may be allowed in this class under specified conditions which may include filing a flight plan.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level A Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    FUTURE REQUIREMENT: Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and/or aircraft communications monitor (scanner).

    OPERATOR REGISTRATION NUMBERING SYSTEM:
    U# – 000-000-000-000 – R (Example)

    [Unmanned Vehicle] [# Classification] – [12-digit-registration-number] – [Restricted/Registration only or Certfied]
    Example: U5-000-000-123-456 -C

    _____________________________________________________

    (*)PROFICIENCY FLIGHT TEST administered by Certification Examiners who are licensed private or commercial pilot or flight instructor. Testing agent allowed to charge up to $100 for testing. Applicants should be required to provide evidence (logs) of sufficient practical experience (model aircraft club flying, supervised flight time, etc.)

    (**)WRITTEN SAFETY TEST comprised of questions relating to 400 ft AGL height limits, knowledge of 500 ft limits for manned aircraft, restrictions related to airports and heliports, spectator distance, VLOS requirement, observer requirement, minimum flight distance from utilities, highways, railroads and buildings, ability to recognize designations for restricted space and hazards on sectional charts, and other safety rules and other considerations. (Multiple choice format test from FAA contracted testing provider).

    SMALL UAS AIRCRAFT TYPE-APPROVAL REGISTRATION/CERTIFICATION

    Under this proposal manufacturers and/or resellers of affected R/C devices would be required to send notification of FAA Registration requirement, online registration URL and Operation Safety Practices form to all (known) previous and future purchasers. It is assumed that most current owners are connected to manufacturers and resellers for warranty and marketing purposes, so the necessary communication structure already exists.

    TESTING

    Class 1,2:
    (Suitable test contents to be determined, perhaps based on military/DOD testing criteria or may include accredited UAV course study)

    Class 3,4,5:
    20 Questions = 75% pass
    (5 questions each)
    1) Safety (Distance from buildings, roads, etc.)
    2) Understanding Sectional Charts (Identifying restricted space, heliports, etc.)
    3) UAS Class level distinctions and applications (Agricultural use would fall under Class _?_)
    4) Testing and qualifications (Logging, registration, fees, logs, flight time records)

    FEES
    Online Operator Registration: $10 (Voluntary but required prior to Operator Certification). Operators would be required to select from Listed models (see Manufacturers below) or list weight and other specifications and capabilities of owned/operated models.

    Operator Certification: $25 for 5 years (renewable).
    Must have Online Operator Registration, pay Certification Examination Fee to Certification Examiner (see below), pass safety test (online), provide record of 2 hours logged flight time, provide proof of liability insurance coverage or binder, pass flight test by a Certification Examiner over course specified for fixed wing or multi rotor for the specific class. (Example: must demonstrate competence for the Class of Operator Certification.)
    Process: Present Operator Registration to Certification Examiner. Examiner submits testing results online using Operator Registration number. If Operator has passed the online Safety Test the Operator is issued what amounts to a license (PDF) and is notified by email unless requesting notification by other means (mail).

    Certification Examiner License: $250 (Renewable for 5 years)
    May charge up to $150 for conducting operator tests). Open to licensed commercial pilots, licensed pilot trainers, retired or inactive DOD trained UAV pilots. Must pass the Safety test for Operators with 75% to pass. Administers competency (field) demonstration tests for fixed wing or rotor. FAA specifies course pattern to be flown. Testing may be conducted at model airplane events or at other suitable testing location, such as a sports facility, which would not result in excessive noise or disruption to the public. Other than the operator and testing agent, no other persons may be within 50 feet of the testing.

    Manufacturers Product Listing: $250 fee to submit specifications for each differentiated model identification including weight, speed, type of propulsion, dimensions (including multi rotor props), features (Return To Base, GPS, etc.). Products must be designated by serial number registered to owner, with no discrimination against custom or home built models. FAA may require test model to be presented for evaluation at an FAA Regional Office or FAA Testing Location by a person designated and qualified by the FAA to conduct product testing. (Smaller fee to submit updates, revisions to existing models and software)

    LOGS:
    Flight logs for UAVs for commercial use must contain (but not limited to):
    • Date
    • Time
    • Location
    • Duration
    • Notation of any accidents, incidents or failures
    • Maintenance and preventative maintenance actions
    • Notations

    GRANDFATHERED MILITARY TRAINED UAV OPERATORS
    Military trained UAV operators (DOD) may provide verification of such training to be issued certification for classes 1 and 2 (only). These operators must still demonstrate proficiency for class 3, 4 and 5 level models.

    AIRCRAFT (LISTING) MODEL DESIGNATION AND TESTING (LISTING)
    Manufacturers must provide specifications for each differentiated model identification for Listing, including weight, speed, type of propulsion, dimensions (including multi rotor props), features (Return To Base, GPS, etc.). Products must be designated by serial number registered to owner, with no discrimination against custom or home built models. FAA may require test model to be presented for evaluation at an FAA Regional Office or FAA Testing Location by a person designated and qualified by the FAA to conduct product testing.

    ———————————————————————–

    Reply
  10. Tim

    For what it is worth (probably not much):

    Proposal/Suggestion for (Immediate?)
    UAS/sUAS Phased Licensing/Certification/Registration Process
    (Updated, revised and expanded from previous)
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    PROPOSAL FOR RULE STRUCTURE FOR REGULATION
    OF SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT BY FAA

    SUMMARY
    It is proposed or suggested that:

    1. The FAA provide online registration process at earliest possible date (immediate would be good). Registration number would include -R suffix indicating temporary or restricted designation. Registered operators would be allowed to operate under certain specified restrictions. Commercial operations under restricted registration would be allowed for specified period (e.g. 2 years), after which registered operator must qualify for and pass applicable class certification requirements for the restricted designation to be removed (issued registration in PDF form with -R removed.) to continue operating after the preliminary registration expiration date. Operator would be required to cease operating until passing the required qualifications. Full implementation of rules would become effective at a suitable later date. Commercial operation under Restricted registration would be illegal after specified date when UAS rules have been adopted and approved.
    2. Manufacturers would provide specifications and/or test models to existing test sites for type designation determination (Weight, GPS Return To Base and other safety capabilities, etc.). This data would be assembled in a public reference database in relation to operator class qualification.
    Example: Product Model NN manufactured by ZZ, Inc. is approved for operation by Class 4 operators and below.
    3. NO DIRECT LICENSING OF SMALL AIRCRAFT DEVICES (No “tail numbers”) Operation of higher class devices would require upgrade to that higher class Operator Certification.

    CLASSIFICATION DESIGNATION STRUCTURE:

    -O- Observer (-R registered or certified)
    Registered Observer: Must read and sign safety rules manual (printed or online) Check box appears at end of online scrolling text (Must view all before check box is visible) or signature on printed version attached as PDF to online registration.

    Certified Observer Rating requires passing Basic Safety(**) written test related to observation function (avoiding obstacles and hazards, watching for aircraft, etc.) – (**See below)

    – R- Restricted/Registered Operator (Temporary up to 1 year)
    Restricted operational authority, including commercial uses, for LIMITED PERIOD subject to FUTURE requirements for certification and/or licensing (see below), Registration and signature acknowledging conditions of restriction, limited to max 150 ft AGL, VLOS (Visual Line Of Sight) only, no night flying (between local sunset and sunrise), observer (-O-) and flight log required, observation of restricted spaces indicated on sectional charts for restricted space, and such other restrictions as deemed necessary by the FAA. This registration function would create the FAA with a database of sUAS owners and provide a basis for communicating future rulings and requirements (NOTAMS). Dealers selling UAVs would be requested or required to provide registration forms to all future and previous purchasers of UAV/UAS aircraft.
    Commercial AND hobby use:
    FAA could exempt toy devices below 6 oz.

    Operating Classes (5 and above) may be certified(*) by a licensed pilot (Private or Commercial) or Certified Qualifier, at recognized AMA or other R/C club facility. (“Recognized Club” means 10 or more members, affiliation with national group providing facility insurance coverage).

    EXCEPTION: Registration/certification NOT required for operations under 150 ft AGL at designated AMA or other R/C fields, activities, events or functions where AMA member or other insurance coverage is provided. (This allows continued unrestricted hobby use under safety provisions of designated flying sites. “Home” hobby use under 50 ft AGL might also be allowed.)

    -5- Experimental/Photographic (sUAS)
    Devices under 5 lbs, VLOS only, operations under 400 ft AGL, no spectators within 50 ft. Registered Observer recommended. Airframe approval , logging. (No Autopilot or Flight Control at this level) Fixed wing and multi-copter. Must maintain current flight log. On-board digital logging is suggested. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights are not allowed in this class.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test. Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    -4- Motion Picture/Corporate (UAS)
    Devices uinder 20 lbs, VLOS only, limited to 400 ft AGL unless flight plan filed and approved by local ATC. Registered or Certified Observer required (subject to insurance carrier requirements), no spectators within 25 ft. Fixed wing and multi copter s. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight log. On-board logging is recommended. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights are not allowed in this class.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test. Autopilot or Flight Control is allowed in this classification.

    FUTURE DATE REQUIREMENT:
    Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and notice to local ATC for use over 400 ft)

    -3- Agricultural/Industrial (UAS)
    Devices under 25 lbs, FPV supervision, limited to 400 ft above terrain (AGL) without Flight Plan or ATC Notification. Registered Observer required. Must maintain flight log., no spectators within 25 ft. (Includes utility, power line, pipeline and oil well monitoring operations) Fixed wing and multi-copter UAV. Certified Observer or radar tracking required. ATC notification or flight plan filing may be required for flights over 400ft or beyond VLOS range. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight log. Must maintain flight log. Autopilot or Flight Control may allowed in this classification under certain specified conditions. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights are allowed in this class.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    FUTURE DATE REQUIREMENT: Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and notice to local ATC for use over 400 ft)

    -2- Public Safety/Utility (UAS)
    Devices under 30 lbs, (Fire, rescue, etc.) limited to 400 ft above terrain (AGL) without Flight Plan or ATC Notification. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight and maintenance log. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights may be allowed in this class under specified conditions which may include filing a flight plan.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance, __ hours supervised operating experience verified by flight logs

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    FUTURE DATE REQUIREMENT: Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and notice to local ATC for use over 400 ft)

    -1- Heavy/Large Class (UAS – “Drones”)
    Over 30 lbs, FPV supervision, under 400 ft above (State, Municipal, Fed.) terrain. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight log. On-board logging may be required. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights may be allowed in this class under specified conditions which may include filing a flight plan.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level A Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    FUTURE REQUIREMENT: Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and/or aircraft communications monitor (scanner).

    OPERATOR REGISTRATION NUMBERING SYSTEM:
    U# – 000-000-000-000 – R (Example)

    [Unmanned Vehicle] [# Classification] – [12-digit-registration-number] – [Restricted/Registration only or Certfied]
    Example: U5-000-000-123-456 -C

    _____________________________________________________

    (*)PROFICIENCY FLIGHT TEST administered by Certification Examiners who are licensed private or commercial pilot or flight instructor. Testing agent allowed to charge up to $100 for testing. Applicants should be required to provide evidence (logs) of sufficient practical experience (model aircraft club flying, supervised flight time, etc.)

    (**)WRITTEN SAFETY TEST comprised of questions relating to 400 ft AGL height limits, knowledge of 500 ft limits for manned aircraft, restrictions related to airports and heliports, spectator distance, VLOS requirement, observer requirement, minimum flight distance from utilities, highways, railroads and buildings, ability to recognize designations for restricted space and hazards on sectional charts, and other safety rules and other considerations. (Multiple choice format test from FAA contracted testing provider).

    SMALL UAS AIRCRAFT TYPE-APPROVAL REGISTRATION/CERTIFICATION

    Under this proposal manufacturers and/or resellers of affected R/C devices would be required to send notification of FAA Registration requirement, online registration URL and Operation Safety Practices form to all (known) previous and future purchasers. It is assumed that most current owners are connected to manufacturers and resellers for warranty and marketing purposes, so the necessary communication structure already exists.

    TESTING

    Class 1,2:
    (Suitable test contents to be determined, perhaps based on military/DOD testing criteria or may include accredited UAV course study)

    Class 3,4,5:
    20 Questions = 75% pass
    (5 questions each)
    1) Safety (Distance from buildings, roads, etc.)
    2) Understanding Sectional Charts (Identifying restricted space, heliports, etc.)
    3) UAS Class level distinctions and applications (Agricultural use would fall under Class _?_)
    4) Testing and qualifications (Logging, registration, fees, logs, flight time records)

    FEES
    Online Operator Registration: $10 (Voluntary but required prior to Operator Certification). Operators would be required to select from Listed models (see Manufacturers below) or list weight and other specifications and capabilities of owned/operated models.

    Operator Certification: $25 for 5 years (renewable).
    Must have Online Operator Registration, pay Certification Examination Fee to Certification Examiner (see below), pass safety test (online), provide record of 2 hours logged flight time, provide proof of liability insurance coverage or binder, pass flight test by a Certification Examiner over course specified for fixed wing or multi rotor for the specific class. (Example: must demonstrate competence for the Class of Operator Certification.)
    Process: Present Operator Registration to Certification Examiner. Examiner submits testing results online using Operator Registration number. If Operator has passed the online Safety Test the Operator is issued what amounts to a license (PDF) and is notified by email unless requesting notification by other means (mail).

    Certification Examiner License: $250 (Renewable for 5 years)
    May charge up to $150 for conducting operator tests). Open to licensed commercial pilots, licensed pilot trainers, retired or inactive DOD trained UAV pilots. Must pass the Safety test for Operators with 75% to pass. Administers competency (field) demonstration tests for fixed wing or rotor. FAA specifies course pattern to be flown. Testing may be conducted at model airplane events or at other suitable testing location, such as a sports facility, which would not result in excessive noise or disruption to the public. Other than the operator and testing agent, no other persons may be within 50 feet of the testing.

    Manufacturers Product Listing: $250 fee to submit specifications for each differentiated model identification including weight, speed, type of propulsion, dimensions (including multi rotor props), features (Return To Base, GPS, etc.). Products must be designated by serial number registered to owner, with no discrimination against custom or home built models. FAA may require test model to be presented for evaluation at an FAA Regional Office or FAA Testing Location by a person designated and qualified by the FAA to conduct product testing. (Smaller fee to submit updates, revisions to existing models and software)

    LOGS:
    Flight logs for UAVs for commercial use must contain (but not limited to):
    • Date
    • Time
    • Location
    • Duration
    • Notation of any accidents, incidents or failures
    • Maintenance and preventative maintenance actions
    • Notations

    GRANDFATHERED MILITARY TRAINED UAV OPERATORS
    Military trained UAV operators (DOD) may provide verification of such training to be issued certification for classes 1 and 2 (only). These operators must still demonstrate proficiency for class 3, 4 and 5 level models.

    AIRCRAFT (LISTING) MODEL DESIGNATION AND TESTING (LISTING)
    Manufacturers must provide specifications for each differentiated model identification for Listing, including weight, speed, type of propulsion, dimensions (including multi rotor props), features (Return To Base, GPS, etc.). Products must be designated by serial number registered to owner, with no discrimination against custom or home built models. FAA may require test model to be presented for evaluation at an FAA Regional Office or FAA Testing Location by a person designated and qualified by the FAA to conduct product testing.

    ———————————————————————–

    Reply
  11. Tim

    For what it is worth (probably not much):

    Proposal/Suggestion for (Immediate?)
    UAS/sUAS Phased Licensing/Certification/Registration Process
    (Updated, revised and expanded from previous)
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    PROPOSAL FOR RULE STRUCTURE FOR REGULATION
    OF SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT BY FAA

    SUMMARY
    It is proposed or suggested that:

    1. The FAA provide online registration process at earliest possible date (immediate would be good). Registration number would include -R suffix indicating temporary or restricted designation. Registered operators would be allowed to operate under certain specified restrictions. Commercial operations under restricted registration would be allowed for specified period (e.g. 2 years), after which registered operator must qualify for and pass applicable class certification requirements for the restricted designation to be removed (issued registration in PDF form with -R removed.) to continue operating after the preliminary registration expiration date. Operator would be required to cease operating until passing the required qualifications. Full implementation of rules would become effective at a suitable later date. Commercial operation under Restricted registration would be illegal after specified date when UAS rules have been adopted and approved.
    2. Manufacturers would provide specifications and/or test models to existing test sites for type designation determination (Weight, GPS Return To Base and other safety capabilities, etc.). This data would be assembled in a public reference database in relation to operator class qualification.
    Example: Product Model NN manufactured by ZZ, Inc. is approved for operation by Class 4 operators and below.
    3. NO DIRECT LICENSING OF SMALL AIRCRAFT DEVICES (No “tail numbers”) Operation of higher class devices would require upgrade to that higher class Operator Certification.

    CLASSIFICATION DESIGNATION STRUCTURE:

    -O- Observer (-R registered or certified)
    Registered Observer: Must read and sign safety rules manual (printed or online) Check box appears at end of online scrolling text (Must view all before check box is visible) or signature on printed version attached as PDF to online registration.

    Certified Observer Rating requires passing Basic Safety(**) written test related to observation function (avoiding obstacles and hazards, watching for aircraft, etc.) – (**See below)

    – R- Restricted/Registered Operator (Temporary up to 1 year)
    Restricted operational authority, including commercial uses, for LIMITED PERIOD subject to FUTURE requirements for certification and/or licensing (see below), Registration and signature acknowledging conditions of restriction, limited to max 150 ft AGL, VLOS (Visual Line Of Sight) only, no night flying (between local sunset and sunrise), observer (-O-) and flight log required, observation of restricted spaces indicated on sectional charts for restricted space, and such other restrictions as deemed necessary by the FAA. This registration function would create the FAA with a database of sUAS owners and provide a basis for communicating future rulings and requirements (NOTAMS). Dealers selling UAVs would be requested or required to provide registration forms to all future and previous purchasers of UAV/UAS aircraft.
    Commercial AND hobby use:
    FAA could exempt toy devices below 6 oz.

    Operating Classes (5 and above) may be certified(*) by a licensed pilot (Private or Commercial) or Certified Qualifier, at recognized AMA or other R/C club facility. (“Recognized Club” means 10 or more members, affiliation with national group providing facility insurance coverage).

    EXCEPTION: Registration/certification NOT required for operations under 150 ft AGL at designated AMA or other R/C fields, activities, events or functions where AMA member or other insurance coverage is provided. (This allows continued unrestricted hobby use under safety provisions of designated flying sites. “Home” hobby use under 50 ft AGL might also be exempted from regulation.)

    -5- Experimental/Photographic (sUAS)
    Devices under 5 lbs, VLOS only, operations under 400 ft AGL, no spectators within 50 ft. Registered Observer recommended. Airframe approval , logging. (No Autopilot or Flight Control at this level) Fixed wing and multi-copter. Must maintain current flight log. On-board digital logging is suggested. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights are not allowed in this class.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test. Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    -4- Motion Picture/Corporate (UAS)
    Devices uinder 20 lbs, VLOS only, limited to 400 ft AGL unless flight plan filed and approved by local ATC. Registered or Certified Observer required (subject to insurance carrier requirements), no spectators within 25 ft. Fixed wing and multi copter s. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight log. On-board logging is recommended. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights are not allowed in this class.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test. Autopilot or Flight Control is allowed in this classification.

    FUTURE DATE REQUIREMENT:
    Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and notice to local ATC for use over 400 ft)

    -3- Agricultural/Industrial (UAS)
    Devices under 25 lbs, FPV supervision, limited to 400 ft above terrain (AGL) without Flight Plan or ATC Notification. Registered Observer required. Must maintain flight log., no spectators within 25 ft. (Includes utility, power line, pipeline and oil well monitoring operations) Fixed wing and multi-copter UAV. Certified Observer or radar tracking required. ATC notification or flight plan filing may be required for flights over 400ft or beyond VLOS range. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight log. Must maintain flight log. Autopilot or Flight Control may allowed in this classification under certain specified conditions. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights are allowed in this class.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    FUTURE DATE REQUIREMENT: Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and notice to local ATC for use over 400 ft)

    -2- Public Safety/Utility (UAS)
    Devices under 30 lbs, (Fire, rescue, etc.) limited to 400 ft above terrain (AGL) without Flight Plan or ATC Notification. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight and maintenance log. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights may be allowed in this class under specified conditions which may include filing a flight plan.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance, __ hours supervised operating experience verified by flight logs

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level B Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    FUTURE DATE REQUIREMENT: Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and notice to local ATC for use over 400 ft)

    -1- Heavy/Large Class (UAS – “Drones”)
    Over 30 lbs, FPV supervision, under 400 ft above (State, Municipal, Fed.) terrain. Fixed wing and multi-copter. Certified Observer required. Must maintain current flight log. On-board logging may be required. NO OPERATION within restricted areas as designated on current local Sector Map. Operator must have current registration/certification available for inspection while flying. Autonomous flights may be allowed in this class under specified conditions which may include filing a flight plan.

    Requirements:
    Proof of Insurance coverage. __ hours supervised training operator experience verified by flight logs. Flight and maintenance logs required for all operated craft.

    Certification:(*)
    Online or administered written Safety Test(**), Level A Proficiency (flight) test Commercial/Private Pilot Rating accepted in lieu of written safety test.

    FUTURE REQUIREMENT: Collision Avoidance System or equivalent (LIDAR?) and/or ADS-B and/or aircraft communications monitor (scanner).

    OPERATOR REGISTRATION NUMBERING SYSTEM:
    U# – 000-000-000-000 – R (Example)

    [Unmanned Vehicle] [# Classification] – [12-digit-registration-number] – [Restricted/Registration only or Certfied]
    Example: U5-000-000-123-456 -C

    _____________________________________________________

    (*)PROFICIENCY FLIGHT TEST administered by Certification Examiners who are licensed private or commercial pilot or flight instructor. Testing agent allowed to charge up to $100 for testing. Applicants should be required to provide evidence (logs) of sufficient practical experience (model aircraft club flying, supervised flight time, etc.)

    (**)WRITTEN SAFETY TEST comprised of questions relating to 400 ft AGL height limits, knowledge of 500 ft limits for manned aircraft, restrictions related to airports and heliports, spectator distance, VLOS requirement, observer requirement, minimum flight distance from utilities, highways, railroads and buildings, ability to recognize designations for restricted space and hazards on sectional charts, and other safety rules and other considerations. (Multiple choice format test from FAA contracted testing provider).

    SMALL UAS AIRCRAFT TYPE-APPROVAL REGISTRATION/CERTIFICATION

    Under this proposal manufacturers and/or resellers of affected R/C devices would be required to send notification of FAA Registration requirement, online registration URL and Operation Safety Practices form to all (known) previous and future purchasers. It is assumed that most current owners are connected to manufacturers and resellers for warranty and marketing purposes, so the necessary communication structure already exists.

    TESTING

    Class 1,2:
    (Suitable test contents to be determined, perhaps based on military/DOD testing criteria or may include accredited UAV course study)

    Class 3,4,5:
    20 Questions = 75% pass
    (5 questions each)
    1) Safety (Distance from buildings, roads, etc.)
    2) Understanding Sectional Charts (Identifying restricted space, heliports, etc.)
    3) UAS Class level distinctions and applications (Agricultural use would fall under Class _?_)
    4) Testing and qualifications (Logging, registration, fees, logs, flight time records)

    FEES
    Online Operator Registration: $10 (Voluntary but required prior to Operator Certification). Operators would be required to select from Listed models (see Manufacturers below) or list weight and other specifications and capabilities of owned/operated models.

    Operator Certification: $25 for 5 years (renewable).
    Must have Online Operator Registration, pay Certification Examination Fee to Certification Examiner (see below), pass safety test (online), provide record of 2 hours logged flight time, provide proof of liability insurance coverage or binder, pass flight test by a Certification Examiner over course specified for fixed wing or multi rotor for the specific class. (Example: must demonstrate competence for the Class of Operator Certification.)
    Process: Present Operator Registration to Certification Examiner. Examiner submits testing results online using Operator Registration number. If Operator has passed the online Safety Test the Operator is issued what amounts to a license (PDF) and is notified by email unless requesting notification by other means (mail).

    Certification Examiner License: $250 (Renewable for 5 years)
    May charge up to $150 for conducting operator tests). Open to licensed commercial pilots, licensed pilot trainers, retired or inactive DOD trained UAV pilots. Must pass the Safety test for Operators with 75% to pass. Administers competency (field) demonstration tests for fixed wing or rotor. FAA specifies course pattern to be flown. Testing may be conducted at model airplane events or at other suitable testing location, such as a sports facility, which would not result in excessive noise or disruption to the public. Other than the operator and testing agent, no other persons may be within 50 feet of the testing.

    Manufacturers Product Listing: $250 fee to submit specifications for each differentiated model identification including weight, speed, type of propulsion, dimensions (including multi rotor props), features (Return To Base, GPS, etc.). Products must be designated by serial number registered to owner, with no discrimination against custom or home built models. FAA may require test model to be presented for evaluation at an FAA Regional Office or FAA Testing Location by a person designated and qualified by the FAA to conduct product testing. (Smaller fee to submit updates, revisions to existing models and software)

    LOGS:
    Flight logs for UAVs for commercial use must contain (but not limited to):
    • Date
    • Time
    • Location
    • Duration
    • Notation of any accidents, incidents or failures
    • Maintenance and preventative maintenance actions
    • Notations

    GRANDFATHERED MILITARY TRAINED UAV OPERATORS
    Military trained UAV operators (DOD) may provide verification of such training to be issued certification for classes 1 and 2 (only). These operators must still demonstrate proficiency for class 3, 4 and 5 level models.

    AIRCRAFT (LISTING) MODEL DESIGNATION AND TESTING (LISTING)
    Manufacturers must provide specifications for each differentiated model identification for Listing, including weight, speed, type of propulsion, dimensions (including multi rotor props), features (Return To Base, GPS, etc.). Products must be designated by serial number registered to owner, with no discrimination against custom or home built models. FAA may require test model to be presented for evaluation at an FAA Regional Office or FAA Testing Location by a person designated and qualified by the FAA to conduct product testing.

    ———————————————————————–

    Reply

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