The Federal Aviation Administration has granted eight more regulatory exemptions for commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations, bringing the total number of exemption grants to 24.
The agency has issued new exemptions to Total Safety U.S. Inc. for flare stack inspections, to Slugwear, Inc. (dba LikeonaTree Aerial) for aerial photography and surveys, and to Team 5, LLC; Shotover Camera Systems LP; Helinet Aviation Services, LLC; and Alan D. Purwin for film and television production. The FAA also amended the exemptions previously granted to Pictorvision, Inc. and Aerial MOB, LLC to let the companies fly additional types of small UAS.
These small quad-copter type UAS can pose a hazard to aviation. But there’s a fair bit of question whether the FAA even has the statutory authority to arrogate to itself regulatory powers.
I think there’s a good argument to be made that the FAA should have some authority, given that these UAS can pose real hazards to manned aircraft. But the requirement for a valid private pilot license and for a current valid physical are obviously regulatory overreach and overreaction. One can guess that the requirement for a private pilot license is to ensure the operator clearly understands the various restrictions upon the use of the national airspace. That’s a laudable goal, but could easily be ascertained by a simple written test, rather than the expense and time of learning to actually fly a manned aircraft.