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FAA Doubles "Blanket Authorization" Altitude for Drones to 400 Feet

Accepted submission by takyon at 2016-04-05 03:03:13

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will allow drone flights without a Certificate of Authorization at an altitude of up to 400 feet [] in areas without restricted airspace:

After a comprehensive risk analysis, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has raised the unmanned aircraft (UAS) "blanket" altitude authorization for Section 333 exemption holders and government aircraft operators to 400 feet. Previously, the agency had put in place a nationwide Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for such flights up to 200 feet.

The new COA policy allows small unmanned aircraft—operated as other than model aircraft (i.e. commercial use)—to fly up to 400 feet anywhere in the country except restricted airspace and other areas, such as major cities, where the agency prohibits UAS operations.

[...] The FAA expects the move will reduce the workload for COA applications for industry UAS operators, government agencies and the FAA's Air Traffic Organization. The agency also estimates the move will lessen the need for individual COAs by 30 to 40 percent. Other provisions of an FAA authorization, such as registering the UAS and making sure pilots have the proper certification, still apply.

Also at The Register [], Digital Trends [].

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