All posts by Andrew Rieker


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The Federal Aviation Administration has established an interim policy to speed up airspace authorizations for certain commercial unmanned aircraft (UAS) operators who obtain Section 333 exemptions. The new policy helps bridge the gap between the past process, which evaluated every UAS operation individually, and future operations after we publish a final version of the proposed small UAS rule.

Under the new policy, the FAA will grant a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for flights at or below 200 feet to any UAS operator with a Section 333 exemption for aircraft that weigh less than 55 pounds, operate during daytime Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions, operate within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the pilots, and stay certain distances away from airports or heliports:

  • 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower; or
  • 3 NM from an airport with a published instrument flight procedure, but not an operational tower; or
  • 2 NM from an airport without a published instrument flight procedure or an operational tower; or
  • 2  NM from a heliport with a published instrument flight procedure

The “blanket” 200-foot COA allows flights anywhere in the country except restricted airspace and other areas, such as major cities, where the FAA prohibits UAS operations. Previously, an operator had to apply for and receive a COA for a particular block of airspace, a process that can take 60 days. The agency expects the new policy will allow companies and individuals who want to use UAS within these limitations to start flying much more quickly than before.

Section 333 exemption holders will automatically receive a “blanket” 200 foot COA. For new exemption holders, the FAA will issue a COA at the time the exemption is approved. Anyone who wants to fly outside the blanket parameters must obtain a separate COA specific to the airspace required for that operation.

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Thanks to our proven technological capabilities – Robotics : Mechanics : Electronics Computing, V-TOL Aerospace guarantees its clients a complete technical, operational and servicing solution.

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Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authorities (CASA) initiative ten years ago to legislate regulations and a pathway for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) commercialization in Australia has resulted in the world’s first aviation authority approved Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) pilot training program.

Brisbane based V-TOL Aerospace Pty Ltd, has gained that coveted approval from CASA and will deliver its programs under the Australian Unmanned Systems Academy (AUSA) brand at Marburg, near RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.

The full time two-week training program involves both theory and practical flying instruction which if students are successful, secures them a CASA issued ‘Remote Pilot’s Certificate’ allowing them to be employed as pilots in the commercial UAV industry.
V-TOL Director, Kelvin Hutchinson confirmed that the first training program will be held later in May and that interest in the program is very encouraging in Australia and overseas.

“Its taken four years in close collaboration with CASA to achieve this major milestone in Australia”. “We have significant interest from course applicants as well as major aviation interests overseas that want to establish similar programs” said Mr Hutchinson.

Click here to visit the AUS Academy website