If you applied for a Section 333 Waiver in the past year, you probably had it granted. The FAA has been awarding exemptions — permits to fly — at a surprisingly rapid pace. As of publication, the FAA has granted over 1,700 awards of exemption (up from about 30 just six months ago). If you are among this group of grantees, or expect to join it soon, read on for news about the industry!
New Commercial UAV Services
Draganfly Innovations, a developer and supplier of multi-rotor UAVs, made the news when it announced the launch of a new suite of professionally piloted commercial UAV services. Creators of the first UAS flown by a public safety agency that saved a life, Draganfly Innovations plans to match experienced personnel with the latest UAV technology, including high-res color camera systems, FLIR thermal imaging and multi-spectral data acquisition systems.
CA Governor Vetoes Drone Bills
Governor Jerry Brown of California recently vetoed three drone-related bills that would have prohibited civilians from flying aerial vehicles over wildfires, schools, prisons and jails. Also vetoing six other bills, Governor Brown explained that the bills would have created new crimes, “usually by finding a novel way to characterize and criminalize conduct that is already proscribed.” One bill would have allowed fines up to $5,000, six months in jail, and would have given emergency responders immunity from liability for any damage to UAVs caused by electronic signal-jamming devices.
FAA Grants Harsh Penalty
While the FAA has been swiftly granting exemptions, it also announced its harshest civil penalty against a UAS operator for alleged illegal drone flights over a few major US aviation hubs. The penalty — a whopping $1.9 million — is against SkyPan International, a Chicago-based company. The FAA alleges that SkyPan flew 65 illegal flights over Chicago, New York and other locations during a 21 month period, ending in December 2014.
New Guide to Drones for Business
If you are looking to get into the industry, check out this Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Drone-Based Business. Those thinking about starting a business in aerial photography, real estate or aerial surveying will find information about training, getting certified and necessary equipment.