Today, November 20, 2020, the FAA published the first batch of proposed airworthiness standards for type certification of six different unmanned aircraft system (UAS) models for public comment. The publication of the proposed airworthiness standards (also known as a “G-1 Issue Paper”) is an essential regulatory step that needs to occur before the FAA can

Germany has introduced a new “Regulation for the Operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems” (“Drone-Regulation“). On 7 April 2017, the new Drone-Regulation entered into force adapting national legislation to the risk-based approach of the European Union and setting the way for innovative technologies. However, the new rules also contain identification and qualification obligations as well as strict authorisation requirements for specific operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”).

Some aspects of Germany’s new UAS regulations parallel the Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) Small UAS Rule (Part 107) that went into effect in the United States last August. Similar to the rules adopted by the FAA, Germany’s new UAS regulations place general restrictions on operating UAS beyond visual line of sight (“BVLOS”) and limit operations over people. Notably, however, Germany’s new regulations also provide a pathway for authorizing more advanced commercial UAS operations that go beyond the scope of the regulations in circumstances where it is safe to do so. This is similar to the waiver process adopted by the FAA in Part 107 for authorizing operations beyond the scope of the rule.
Continue Reading Sky full of drones – Germany opens up for new drone opportunities as it introduces its new UAS Regulation

Yesterday we reported on the FAA’s policy shift relating to flights near people. The FAA last week made another quiet change that implicates beyond line of sight operations.

While the demand for UAS continues to grow, the FAA’s current requirement that the UAS only be operated within visual line-of-sight of the operator limits the full potential of UAS for many commercial uses. Some of the most promising commercial UAS applications—precision agriculture, powerline inspections, and railroad inspections, to name just a few—necessitate flights beyond visual line-of-sight (“BVLOS”) of the operator to be efficient. “Line-of-sight” flight requires that the pilot can visually see the UAS at all times during the operation, unless another person acting as a visual observer maintains constant visual contact with the UAS.

The concept of “daisy chaining”—that is, the use of multiple, successive visual observers to extend the flight distance of the UAS beyond the direct visual line-of-sight of the operator—could help alleviate the FAA’s BVLOS concerns. Until last week, however, daisy-chaining was generally frowned upon by the FAA. In the Small UAS Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), the FAA stated daisy chaining “would. . . pose an increased public risk if there is a loss of aircraft control.”
Continue Reading Moving UAS Policy Boundaries Forward, Take 2: Flights Beyond Visual Line of Sight of the Operator