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FAA Certificate of Authorization and Waivers for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS COAs for Dummies)

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FAA Certificate of Authorization and Waivers for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS COAs for Dummies). Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs). Not compliant with various sections of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR)

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unmanned aerial systems uass
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs)
  • Not compliant with various sections of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR)
    • Lack of on-board pilot requires alternate method of compliance with “see and avoid” provisions of 14 CFR 91.113, Right–of-Way Rules: Except Water Operations
what is a coa and why do i need one
What is a COA and why do I need one?
  • FAA main concern is that UAS operate safely among all users of the NAS, including manned aircraft and other airborne operations not reliably identified by radar (balloons, gliders, parachutists, etc.).
  • No current certifiable system to “detect, sense, and avoid” manned a/c below FL180.
      • Alternate methods of compliance, other risk mitigation strategies required (i.e., visual observers).
  • Specific authorization is required to conduct UAS operations in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS) outside of active Restricted, Prohibited, or Warning Area airspace.
    • Issuance of Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA)
    • Issuance of Special Airworthiness Certificate
coa is not required
COA is not required…
  • For operations conducted wholly within active Restricted, Prohibited, Warning Area airspace with permission from appropriate authority or using agency of that airspace (must be scheduled by proponent).
  • When operating under Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between FAA and DoD dated 24 Sep 07 in class G airspace.
what about hobbiests model aircraft provisions
What about hobbiests/model aircraft provisions?
  • Advisory Circular (AC) 91-57, Model Aircraft Operating Standards
    • Currently under revision
    • CANNOT use AC 91-57 as basis to operate UASs
    • Applicable to recreational and hobbiest use only (Not commercial purposes)
    • Cannot be used by DoD!
memorandum of agreement moa
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
  • Dated 24 Sep 07
  • Between the FAA and DoD.
  • Allows for enhanced access for DoD UAS into elements of the NAS.
  • COAs ARE NOT required in Class G airspace when operating under the conditions outlined in this MOA.
  • Notification procedures are mandatory and can be made via COA online.
  • Two separate provisions
provision 1 coa req d
Provision 1 (COA req’d)
  • DoD UAS operations conducted wholly within Class D airspace with an associated DoD-controlled, non-joint-use airfield, provided:
    • Ops not conducted over populated areas
    • Not within airspace covered in 14 CFR 91.215 b(2).
      • This refers to the 30 nm Mode C requirement associated with Class B airspace. See Appendix D to Part 91 for complete list of airports with associated Class B airspace.
      • Bottom line: Can’t fly a UAS within 30 nm of an airport with associated Class B airspace (even if UAS equipped with Transponder with Mode C).
    • DoD shall develop uniform air traffic control procedures in coordination with the FAA prior to implementation.
    • COA will be issued to TOWER facility.
provision 2 coa not req d
Provision 2 (COA not req’d)
  • DoD UAS that weigh 20 pounds or less, under following conditions:
    • Ops conducted within Class G airspace, below 1,200’ AGL over military bases, reservations, or land protected by purchase, lease, or other restriction. Not applicable to airspace identified by 14 CFR 91.215 b(2).
      • Airspace within 30 nm of an airport with associated Class B airspace (even if UAS equipped with Transponder with Mode C).
    • UAS within clear visual range of pilot (or certified observer in ready contact with the pilot) to ensure separation from other aircraft.
    • UAS must remain more than 5 miles from any civil use airport or heliport.
  • Notification procedures via COA online (contact NAVREP for assistance).
other requirements of the moa
Other Requirements of the MOA
  • Airworthiness Certification
    • UAS operating outside of Restricted and Warning Areas shall be certified by one of the military departments as airworthy.
  • UAS Pilot/Operator/Crewmember Qualification
    • Shall be qualified to fly in the class of airspace in which operations are to be conducted.
  • If UAS proponent cannot satisfy all of the requirements outlined in this MOA, then they must apply for COA.
so how do i get myself one of them fancy coas
“So how do I get myself one of them fancy COAs?”
  • COA applications only accepted from public entities.
  • Public Use Aircraft
    • Operated by a public user which is intrinsically governmental in nature (federal, state, local agencies)
      • Dept. of Defense (DOD)
      • Other local, state, and federal government agencies
      • State Universities
    • For a complete definition of a public aircraft, see 14 CFR 1.1, General Definitions
  • Must file Online (www.oeusers.faa.gov)
civil aircraft special airworthiness certificate
Civil Aircraft SpecialAirworthiness Certificate
  • Civil Aircraft
    • Aircraft other than public aircraft.
    • Must apply for Special Airworthiness Certificate (typically an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate).
      • FAA requires data to support a determination that the aircraft and its systems, including control station(s) is designed, built, and maintained in a safe and airworthy condition.
      • Typically issued to industry and manufacturers for Research and Development, testing, etc.
      • Issued for period of up to one year
      • FAA certifies these aircraft!
general coa process
General COA Process
  • Applications
    • Via internet (COA Online account needed)
  • Request for COA Online account
    • Provide FAA Regional NAVREP with the following info on command letterhead (validates that company is in fact under contract to support the Dept. of the Navy):
      • Name of person who needs/will be working the account
      • Their e-mail address
      • Their phone number
      • The Command proponent and DOD Rep overseeing the contract
      • The service area(s) of operation for the UAS
    • NAVREP will then coordinate obtaining account and password
  • Highly recommend all applicants coordinate with Regional NAVREP during completion of COA application.
  • NAVREP will submit completed COA application to FAA Headquarters.
  • Statement of Airworthiness
    • All UASs must be shown to be airworthy to conduct flight operations within the NAS.
    • Acceptable examples of policy/criteria
      • DOD: MIL-HDBK 516B, Airworthiness Certification
      • Air Force: AFPD 6206 USAF Aircraft Airworthiness Certification
      • Army: AR 70-62, Airworthiness Qualification of US Army Aircraft Systems (Level 1)
      • Navy and Marine Corps: NAVAIRINST 13034.1C, Flight Clearance Policy for Air Vehicles and Aircraft Systems
    • Letterhead paper and dated/signed by responsible reviewing authority.
    • Must be submitted with COA application.
    • Civil applicants using special airworthiness process receive their airworthiness certification as part of the review process with the FAA.
coa will address
COA will address…
  • Lost link procedures - Intent is to ensure airborne operations are predictable in the event of lost link.
  • Visual Observers - Required to perform “see and avoid” function as alternative method of compliance with CFR 91.113
    • Unless operating in active Restricted, Prohibited, Warning Area, or Class A airspace.
    • May be ground-based or Airborne (chase aircraft)
    • Normally positioned no greater than 1 nm laterally and 3000 ft. vertically from UAS (based on observer’s unaided vision).
coa will address1
COA will address…
  • ATC Communications
    • UAS pilot must have immediate radio comms with appropriate ATC facilities anytime:
      • The UA is operated in Class A, D or sometimes E airspace.
      • The UA is being operated under instrument flight rules (IFR).
      • It is stipulated under provisions of issued COA or special airworthiness certificate.
coa will address2
COA will address…
  • Inter-Communications
    • Visual observer, sensor operator, or other person charged with collision avoidance for the UA must have continuous communication with the UAS pilot.
    • If chase aircraft, then comms between chase aircraft pilot and UAS pilot required at all times.
  • Day/Nighttime Ops
    • All ops outside of Class A airspace must be conducted during daylight hours (except ops in class G as previously described)
    • Nighttime ops in other airspace may be considered if applicant provides a safety case and sufficient mitigation to avoid collision hazards at night.
other considerations
Other considerations
  • Flights below Class A airspace
    • All UAS ops outside of active Restricted, Prohibited, or Warning Areas and below FL 180 shall be conducted in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) and IAW 14 CFR 91.155, Basic VFR Weather Minimums.
    • Flight visibility of not less than 3 statute miles shall be required.
    • Cloud clearance as per 14 CFR 91.155
    • No Special VFR
  • Ops from off-airport locations
    • No closer than 5 nm from any airport or heliport.
other considerations1
Other considerations
  • Operating under IFR flight plan
    • Current instrument rating in manned aircraft for Pilot in Command (PIC).
    • UA’s airworthiness statement must include IFR flight and all equip. certified and working.
    • Current aviation database/charts avail. to UAS pilot.
    • ATC Pre-Coordination accomplished, IFR Flight Plan filed, clearance obtained and followed.
    • Direct two-way comms between UAS pilot and ATC (comm relay through UA required).
    • UA equipped with certified operating transponder with Mode C (Mode S preferred).
    • Visual observers utilized as required.
    • ATC control is req’d throughout flight in Class A airspace.
    • All ops outside of Class A airspace and active Restricted, Prohibited, or Warning Areas shall be conducted in VMC conditions only.
other considerations2
Other considerations
  • Chase Aircraft Operations
    • Not req’d in Class A, active Restricted, Prohibited, or Warning Area airspace.
    • Conducted during daylight hours only.
    • Flight visibility 3 statute miles or greater.
    • Chase aircraft pilots cannot concurrently perform duties of observer or UA pilot duties along with chase pilot duties.
other considerations3
Other considerations
  • UAS Ops wholly contained in active Warning Areas
    • No specific approval req’d.
    • No observers/chase aircraft req’d
your uas cannot
Your UAS cannot…
  • Fly over populated areas
    • Routine UAS ops shall not be conducted over urban or populated areas.
  • Fly over heavily trafficked roads or open-air assembly of people (e.g., stadiums)
  • Fly completely autonomous ops
    • Must have capability of pilot intervention or pilot in the loop outside of Restricted, Prohibited, or Warning areas (does not apply to lost link procedures).
personnel qualifications
Personnel Qualifications
  • UAS Pilots
    • Responsibilities
      • Thorough pre-flight
      • Accountable for controlling UAS to the same standards of a manned aircraft.
    • One designated PIC at all times
    • PIC responsible (and is final authority of) the operation of the UAS
    • Must not perform crew duties for more than one UAS at a time.
    • Not allowed to perform concurrent duties both as pilot and observer.
    • Maintain/possess Class 2 Medical certificate/military equivalent
personnel qualifications1
Personnel Qualifications
  • Ops requiring an FAA Pilot Certificate
    • Ops in Class A, C, D, and E airspace
    • IFR ops (FAA instrument rating req’d)
    • Nighttime ops
    • Ops conducted at joint use or public airfields
    • Ops conducted beyond line of sight
    • Anytime the FAA determines the need (based on UAS characteristics, mission profile, other operational parameters).
personnel qualifications2
Personnel Qualifications
  • Ops that MAYNOT require an FAA Pilot Certificate
    • Ops approved and conducted solely within visual line of sight in Class G airspace.
    • Must meet all of these conditions:
      • Sparsely populated area
      • Privately owned airfield, military installation, or off-airport location
      • Visual line of sight no further than 1 nm laterally from UAS pilot and no more than 400 AGL at all times
      • Daylight hours only
      • No closer than 5 nm form any airport or heliport
    • AND alternate compliance method is followed:
      • In lieu of pilot certificate, PIC must have completed
        • FAA Private Pilot ground instruction
        • Passed the written exam
  • 14 CFR Part 91
  • FAA Joint Order 7610.4M,Special Operations
  • Memorandum of Agreement for Operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the National Airspace System (dated Sep 24, 2007)
  • FAA AC 91-57, Model Aircraft Operating Standards
  • FAA Western Service Area NAVREPs
    • CDR B.G. Chew, US Navy
      • byron.chew@faa.gov
      • (425) 227-2740
    • LtCol. D.K. Switzer, USMC
      • douglas.switzer@faa.gov
      • (425) 227-1384