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All inventors, developers, entrepreneurs and investors interested in the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems, or more commonly referred to as “drones,” take note; this morning the FAA announced the release of the long awaited regulations governing the commercial use of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems – to be promulgated in 14 C.F.R. Part 107 (the “Commercial UAS Regulations”).  The new Commercial UAS Regulations make it much easier and less expensive for businesses to use drones…
The first legal delivery by an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), or “drone,” took place last Friday, July 17. In three trips over a 35-mile span, the UAS delivered 60 pounds of needed medical supplies to a health clinic located in a remote rural area of Wise County, VA. As part of a joint venture called “Let’s Fly Wisely,” Australian startup Flirtey, NASA, Virginia Tech and a number of healthcare organizations worked together to obtain the FAA’s…
This month marks the first time a large aircraft has flown at any of the FAA-designated unmanned aircraft system (UAS) test sites. On June 12-15, Aurora Flight Sciences’ Centaur aircraft flew multiple unmanned flights out of the Griffiss UAS Test Site, located at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York.  The Centaur is large-scale, fixed wing optionally-piloted aircraft (OPA) based on the four seat, twin engine Diamond DA42 general aviation platform and is used for…
Today the FAA granted four more companies exemptions to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) commercially. In October and November the FAA for the first time approved the commercial use of UAS through petitions for exemption under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (“Special Rules for Certain Unmanned Aircraft Systems”) to seven aerial photo and video production companies: Aerial Mob, Astraeus Aerial Cinema Systems, Flying-Cam Aerial Systems, Heli Video…
In a historic decision, the FAA for the first time last month approved the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) through petitions for exemption under the Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (“Special Rules for Certain Unmanned Aircraft Systems”). The FAA has previously provided Certificates of Authorization (COA) to allow for certain public and governmental uses, and earlier this year issued a civil COA to allow BP and ConocoPhillips…
In a historic decision, the FAA today approved the request of six aerial photo and video production companies to use unmanned aircraft systems to support their filming operations. In its decision, announced this afternoon, the FAA addressed certain rules and requirements from which the companies are exempted and procedures that the companies must follow.…
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a 60-day extension for the public to comment on its interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (the Act). The new deadline for comment is September 23, 2014. On July 25, 2014—the original deadline for public comment—the FAA agreed with and granted the Academy of Model Aeronautics’s request for an additional 60 days for…
On July 18 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed Texas EquuSearch’s challenge of the FAA’s directive that it stop flying search-and-rescue missions using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)/drones.  In doing so, the Appellate panel, siding with the Justice Department/FAA, reasoned that the FAA’s email at issue was simply a warning and not subject to judicial review. The court said it lacked authority to review a claim in which “an agency merely expresses…
Without taking a position regarding the merits of any of the petitions for exemption that seven aerial photo and video production companies submitted to the FAA last month, Husch Blackwell LLP voiced its support for the exemption process to permit commercial operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).  In response to the FAA’s request for comment, Husch Blackwell noted in its submission (submitted by Co-Chairs of the firm’s UAS team Tom Gemmell and David Agee, with…
Earlier this week, two of Husch Blackwell’s UAS team members, Matt Grant and Tom Gemmell, attended the inaugural Delta AgTech Symposium sponsored by Entira with support from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), which took place at the Agricenter International complex in Memphis, Tennessee. The Symposium offered an early glance at the use of UAS to support precision farming. Attendees included farmers, UAS manufacturers and operators, precision farming consultants and seed companies.…