Section 333: The Crack In The Wall…

Section 333 of the 2012 legislation allows the FAA to grant exemptions from certification requirements to begin incremental integration of UAS into national airspace. (UPDATED TO INCLUDE TEXT OF SECTION 333)

While some of the process appears straightforward, other provisions seem less so.

The process to file for an exemption is described in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations Chapter 1 sections 11.63 and though 11.83, the FAA told Inside GNSS in response to a query. A company submits the language for an exemption and then provides information, including technical and scientific data, supporting the proposal. Companies are also supposed to provide information such as the extent of the regulatory burden of the project on small businesses and the cost and benefits of the exemption to society.

For example, one paragraph tells applicants to be sure to submit a petition 120 days before the requested exemption needs to take effect. Another section says that, if the agency determines a petition justifies their taking action, they may issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) or advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) no later than six months after receiving the petition.

Although Section 333 allows the FAA to exempt operators from aircraft certification requirements, “there will still have to be a certified pilot with specific training for that type of aircraft,” he says. “We can’t waive that.”

(Source: Aviation Week)

We leave it open to your own interpretation, but I see some light through that crack, but not much.

Note: Remember that news item about Astraeus Aerial applying for an exemption from the FAA? Remember the FAA said it was open to comment on that petition? Here’s where it is now. Don’t hold your breath.

REF: Section of 14 CFR:Part 21, 45.23(b), 61.113(a)(b), 91.7(a), 91.9(b)(2), 91.103, 91.109, 91.119, 91.121, 91.151(a), 91.203(a)(b), 91.405(a), 91.407(a)(1), 91.409(a)(2), 91.417(a), and 91.417(b). Description of Relief Sought: Astraeus Aerial is seeking an exemption to operate commercially a small unmanned vehicle (55lbs or less) in motion picture and television operations.


For reference, here is the text of Section 333 which forms the basis for exemptions:


.—Notwithstanding any other requirement of this subtitle, and not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall determine if certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in the national airspace system before completion of the plan and rulemaking required by section 332 of this Act or the guidance required by section 334 of this Act.

.—In making the determination under subsection (a), the Secretary shall determine, at a minimum—

(1) which types of unmanned aircraft systems, if any, as a result of their size, weight, speed, operational capability, proximity to airports and populated areas, and operation within visual line of sight do not create a hazard to users of the national airspace system or the public or pose a threat to national security; and

(2) whether a certificate of waiver, certificate of authorization, or airworthiness certification under section 44704 of title 49, United States Code, is required for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems identified under paragraph (1).

.—If the Secretary determines under this section that certain unmanned aircraft systems
may operate safely in the national airspace system, the Secretary shall establish requirements for the safe operation of such aircraft systems in the national airspace system.