Flying Unmanned
Aircraft in the USA
by Jeff Cozart
UAS Solutions Engineer
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unman...
UAS Basics
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
What is the hype about?
Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
What has the FAA done?
• FAA UAS Policy 05-01(2005)
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Has anything changed since
then?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
The 4 Current Ways to Fly a UAV
CivilPublic
ModelIllegal
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in t...
Illegal Operations
What is illegal and what could happen if
I get caught?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unman...
Illegal Flight Rules
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Illegal
It is illegal to fly ...
Model Operations
Can I fly UAV’s for my personal training
or entertainment?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unm...
Do You Qualify?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Model
“Unmanned Aircraft that comp...
Model Aircraft Rules
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Model
• Sufficient distance f...
What is the Process?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Model
1. Get your aircraft
2....
Public Operations
How do I fly UAV’s as a government?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the ...
Do You Qualify?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Public
• Public operations are onl...
Public Aircraft Rules
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Public
• Must be operated by...
What is Defined in a COA?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Public
• A Public Organi...
What is the COA Process?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Public
1. Request to be s...
Civil Operations
How do I fly UAV’s privately or
commercially?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraf...
Civil Aircraft Rules
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Civil
• Must have a Special A...
What is Defined in a SAC?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Civil
• SAC - Experiment...
What is the Process?
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
Civil
• Obtain Airworthiness ...
Which Will You Choose?
Jeff Cozart
jeffrey.cozart@ucdenver.edu
303-907-6163
© Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unm...
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Unmanned Aircraft in the National Airspace System

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Regulations governing Unmanned Aircraft in the United States are changing. Being aware of your responsibilities as an operator is imperative if you want to avoid penalties from the FAA. Jeff Cozart, the UAS Program Manager at the University of Colorado - Denver shares the current policy.

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  • Jeff Cozart
    Jeff is an expert in Unmanned Systems Applications. He is the UAS Program Manager for the University of Colorado at Denver, and contracts with numerous organizations to help them advance their UAS programs. He operates at UAS test facility in Colorado where he develops remote sensing applications in agriculture, natural resource management, large construction, and ISR. He has written numerous COA applications and Airworthiness standards for the University of Colorado at Denver where he also teaches Unmanned Aircraft to masters students in the Geomatics program.

    This presentation was developed to help you understand the current public policy environment and to empower you with the information you would need to fly Unmanned Aircraft in the National Airspace of the USA.

    The presentation will begin with a brief description of Unmanned Aircraft and the FAA. Then, we will proceed through the four possible ways to fly. For each of the four ways, we will look at who qualifies, the rules, and the process.
  • What are UAS?
    You have read about “Drones” in the news in the last few years. Unmanned Aircraft have been known by many names over their 100 year history. They are Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Unmanned Aircraft, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems. They come in all shapes and sizes, from full scale transport planes to vehicles as small as a mosquito. The term drone became popular recently, primarily describing military aircraft. There are several stories about where the name originated, but it has been around at least since the 1960’s.

    From the pictures here, you can see that they have lots of different functions as well. We know about the predator’s ability to drop precise munitions. But, UAS are also used for recreation by model aircraft hobbyists, surveying on construction sites, telling farmers where their crops need attention, inspecting bridges and infrastructure, finding illegal drug crops, monitoring weather conditions, and hundreds of other applications. Unmanned Aircraft do many things that save lives and improve our lifestyles.

  • So, what is causing all the recent attention?
    Unmanned Aircraft have obviously been in the news a lot recently. You might wonder, if they have been around for 100 years, why am I suddenly hearing so much about them.

    I believe there are a few reasons. First, we have seen so much news about “drone” attacks by the military in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen. The term “drone” is synonymous with a powerful government weapon that mysteriously and suddenly appears on the horizon. People are naturally a little frightened by a government with that kind of power at its disposal. Secondly, that fear is expanded by stories about the National Security Agency spying on US Citizens. Thirdly, the FAA is working on bringing “drones” into the US National Airspace. Fourthly, people are intrigued by the small flying machines they see. Add it all up, and people are simply afraid.

    Do they have reason to be afraid? Possibly. But the truth is that the benefits of integrating Unmanned Aircraft into the National Airspace far outweigh the possible costs. It is the job of our regulators to make sure that people using Unmanned Aircraft improperly are punished, without curtailing people from using them for our societal benefit. Can this balance be reached? Of course. That is what we have always done in this country. As the aviation industry developed in the early 20th century, the Federal Government saw a need for keeping operations safe and established the Federal Aviation Administration.

  • As a starting point for determining the regulation, the FAA, in 2005 established a policy framework that basically had the effect of temporarily denying access to all unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace (NAS).

    The FAA is responsible for keeping the National Airspace (NAS) safe. As the demand for unmanned aircraft has grown, the FAA has recognized the increasing need for special rules governing UAS. Policy 05-01 laid the groundwork for the FAA to conduct research and figure out what the ultimate rules should be. It also established a set of processes that people could use in the interim to continue flying with special permissions from the FAA. We continue to operate UAS today through these special permissions, or “exceptions”. These “exceptions” are the focus of this presentation.
  • I mentioned that the FAA plan was interim. You may wonder what the long-term plan will be. A lot of people share your wonder, including congress. After several years, politicians began asking. It was apparent that they were not satisfied with the progress. So, in 2012 congress passed an FAA bill that established some intentional steps or processes.
    First, they set a deadline for full integration into the NAS. That deadline is September 30, 2015.
    Secondly, they directed the FAA to establish 6 test sites where they can evaluate the integration.
    Thirdly, they set a requirement that the FAA publish an annual “roadmap” reporting their progress.

    The FAA recently announced they will not be able to meet the deadline.

    Six test sites were selected in December, 2013:
    University of Alaska
    State of Nevada
    Griffiss International Airport in New York
    North Dakota Department of Commerce
    Texas A&M Corpus Christi
    Virginia Polytechnic and Virginia Tech University

    The first roadmap was published in November, 2013.
  • There are 4 ways that someone in the USA can fly a UAV outside of the military.
    You could fly Illegally
    You could use the Model Aircraft rules
    You could fly a Public Aircraft
    Or you could fly under the Civil rules.

  • Let’s start with flying Illegally.

    The easiest way to fly is to find an open area where nobody will notice you and just fly. Right?

    Before you do, you might want to know what is illegal. And, you should probably know what could happen to you if you get caught.
  • While the FAA policy established in 2005 made it illegal to fly unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace, it hasn’t stopped people from flying. You can search the internet for people offering to fly UAV’s and you will find plenty of results.

    Here are a few Examples:
    Several movies including “the Wolf of Wall Street”, have used UAV’s to collect film.
    ESPN regularly uses UAV’s for footage of sporting events.
    Beer is being delivered to ice fishermen with UAV’s.

    However, flying a UAV illegally can result in fines, jail time, and loss of pilot privileges.

    Examples:
    On February 12, the FAA shut down UAV operations for Flower Delivery Express in Commerce, Michigan
    During the floods in Colorado last year, a UAV company was threatened with arrest if they flew over the damaged area.
    On October, 2011 an aerial film maker was fined $10,000 for operating a UAV for commercial purposes.


    The truth is that the FAA doesn’t have the enforcement bandwidth to deal with the thousands of UAV flights that occur every day.
    The FAA conducted 17 enforcement actions for illegal UAV use between July 2012 and July 2013.


    Flying a UAV in the National Airspace is forbidden. You can take the associated risks, which we do not recommend, or you can apply for an exemption. There are three exemptions to this policy, in addition to military. They are model aircraft, public, and civil (each of which has its own set of rules and processes). We will cover these now.

    A couple of references:
    “Runaway Drones … as FAA Gives Chase”, Bloomberg, http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-14/illegal-drones-dare-faa-to-stop-filming-wolf-to-bulls.html
    “Drone Pilot Challenges FAA Commercial Flying Ban”, Scientific American, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/drone-pilot-challenges-faa-commercial-flying-ban/
    “Beer Drone Can Buzz the Skies No More”, National Public Radio, http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/01/30/269039542/beer-drone-can-buzz-the-skies-no-more-faa-says
    “Fema threatens to arrest volunteer drone operators during Colo. Flood relief”, The Daily Caller, http://dailycaller.com/2013/09/16/fema-threatens-to-arrest-volunteer-drone-operators-during-colo-flood-relief/


  • Ok, let’s say you have decided not to risk flying illegally and besides, you wouldn’t want to do something the government says is wrong. Your second option is to fly under the model aircraft rules. Model Aircraft are very minimally regulated so this might be your answer. Right?

  • The model aircraft exemption states that your UAV is a model aircraft as long as you fly under the rules they established in 1981 in (AC) 91-57. The great thing is that the FAA regulations on model aircraft are minimal. There is no inspections, no permits, no certifications, no pilot training requirements. There are very few things that would stop you from flying it as a model.

    Therefore, many people are flying their UAV’, claiming they meet the Model Aircraft exemption.

  • But, you need to be sure you follow the rules for model aircraft. Otherwise, you will step back into flying illegally.

    The rules that were defined in (AC) 91-57 are:
    You need to stay away from populated areas.
    Don’t fly over 400 feet above the ground.
    Yield the right-of-way
    Fly only within line-of-sight
    And once again, no commercial flights
  • So, what is the process for getting permission to fly under the model aircraft rules? Really, the FAA has no requirement for permits or certifications for model aircraft. You can just go fly.
  • Now, you may say that the model aircraft rules are too restrictive. Maybe you need to fly above the 400 foot ceiling to map the boundaries of a forest fire. The Public exemption might be just what you are looking for.
  • To qualify for the public exemption, first you have to be a public agency. Public, in this case, is a government (not a member of the public). Secondly, the aircraft has to be a “public aircraft”, meaning that the public agency is taking responsibility for the aircraft (as owner).

    Some good examples of public agencies are federal agencies like USGS or BLM. State agencies also qualify. Universities, like UCD, qualify because we are public. Private Universities do not qualify.
  • The rules under the public exemption are pretty simple:
    The operator has to be the public agency.
    You have to get a special permit called a Certificate of Authorization, or COA.
    And once again, you are not allowed to fly for commercial purposes.
  • The Certificate of Authorization is a document issued by the FAA that gives you permission to fly under mutually agreed circumstances. It is not a general permit to fly whenever or wherever you want to. When you apply for a COA, you are required to define the following items:

    Organization operating
    Aircraft (make and model)
    Airworthiness of Aircraft
    Place where flights will occur
    Time period
    Pilot in Command (PIC)
    Flight Procedures
  • Request is made by contacting the FAA. They will ask for a letter from the State Attorney General that states the entity is public and that the program will be flying the UAV as a public aircraft.
    FAA will open up access to their online application tool.
    Documents provide details about location, the aircraft, the time period, the PIC, and the flight procedures.
    Airworthiness of the Aircraft has to be tested. Either it is a certificate, or a statement. If the aircraft has an airworthiness certificate from the FAA, then that will suffice. Otherwise, the public entity has to submit its procedures for testing to the FAA and then certify that the aircraft has been tested and meets the entities requirements and that the entity is taking responsibility for operating it according to the defined airworthiness statement.

    The FAA states that the average time for completing the process is 9 months to a year.
    A few contractors offer COA writing as a service and the going rate is approximately $40,000
  • So, none of the earlier options work for you? Well perhaps you are not a public organization and you still want to fly, but don’t want the model aircraft restrictions. Is there an option for you?

    What is Civil Operation?
    Civil operation are for the rest of us. Right?


  • Again, the rules are straightforward. If you want to fly under the civil exemption:
    You need a Special Airworthiness Certificate
    And, once again, you are not allowed to fly for any commercial purpose. Are you seeing the theme here? The FAA does not want you making any money whatsoever from flying UAV’s in the NAS.

    COA applications do not apply to civil operations.

    Civil UA operators should follow current airworthiness certification processes established by AIR in order to operate in the NAS.
  • If you are currently a pilot, you are probably aware of the Airworthiness Certification process. The FAA has test facilities where inspectors look carefully at the aircraft and its parts to make sure it meets the required standards, and that it will fly in accordance with the specifications issued by the manufacturer. Airworthiness Certification takes a long time, and costs a lot of money. The standards for Unmanned Aircraft are exactly the same as a manned aircraft.

    Again, if you are a pilot you probably know that Airworthiness comes in many flavors. There is a standard airworthiness certificate, there is a certificate for light sport, there is an experimental certificate, and several others. Well, the FAA has restricted UAS to two categories of Airworthiness Certificates: Experimental, and a special flight permit. The special flight permit is a one-time permit for things like moving it out of the way of an impending hurricane.

    The Experimental Certificate has a lot of similarities to a COA.

    Experimental certificate is for research and development purposes only
    Experimental is for one year or less
    Limited to an experimental test area
    Communication systems are integrated with the NAS
    Aircraft includes a transponder
    Pilot in Command (PIC) is licensed (at least private pilot)
    Supplemental Pilots have completed ground school
    Maintenance and operating logs

  • Could take a year
    Costs could exceed $1M
    A few manufacturers are getting SAC’s, but mostly big miliary companies like Lockheed and General Atomics.
    The only commercial grade UAV with a SAC right now is the Gatewing products by Trimble.
    36 active SAC’s
  • Right now, it is obviously difficult to fly an unmanned aircraft in the USA. That will change soon. But until then, you really just have four options. You can fly illegally, or fly under one of the exemptions provided by the FAA for Model Aircraft, Public Aircraft, or Civil Aircraft. The University of Colorado at Denver has established a program for flying under the public exemption. We have also developed a test site, and have the ability to write COA applications. If you are interested in working with us to make advancements in this field, please contact me
  • Unmanned Aircraft in the National Airspace System

    1. 1. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA by Jeff Cozart UAS Solutions Engineer © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
    2. 2. UAS Basics © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
    3. 3. What is the hype about? Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
    4. 4. What has the FAA done? • FAA UAS Policy 05-01(2005) © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
    5. 5. Has anything changed since then? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
    6. 6. The 4 Current Ways to Fly a UAV CivilPublic ModelIllegal © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA
    7. 7. Illegal Operations What is illegal and what could happen if I get caught? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Illegal
    8. 8. Illegal Flight Rules © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Illegal It is illegal to fly Unmanned Aircraft in the National Airspace (NAS) . . .
    9. 9. Model Operations Can I fly UAV’s for my personal training or entertainment? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Model
    10. 10. Do You Qualify? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Model “Unmanned Aircraft that comply with the guidance in (AC) 91-57 are considered model aircraft.”
    11. 11. Model Aircraft Rules © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Model • Sufficient distance from populated areas • Flight ceiling of 400 feet AGL • Right-of-way to full-scale aircraft • Line-of-sight • Not for hire (no commercial purposes)
    12. 12. What is the Process? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Model 1. Get your aircraft 2. Find a good place 3. Fly!
    13. 13. Public Operations How do I fly UAV’s as a government? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Public
    14. 14. Do You Qualify? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Public • Public operations are only available to public agencies flying a “public aircraft”. • Federal government agencies • i.e. USGS and BLM • State governments • i.e. Law enforcement and Public Universities
    15. 15. Public Aircraft Rules © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Public • Must be operated by a public entity. • Must have a Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the FAA. • No commercial use.
    16. 16. What is Defined in a COA? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Public • A Public Organization • An Aircraft (make and model) • The Airworthiness of that Aircraft • A Place where flight will occur • A Time period of the operations • A Qualified Pilot in Command (PIC) • Flight Procedures
    17. 17. What is the COA Process? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Public 1. Request to be set up to initiate COA applications. 2. Certify that your agency is Public. 3. Provide documents that outline the COA definition. 4. Certify the Airworthiness of the Aircraft.
    18. 18. Civil Operations How do I fly UAV’s privately or commercially? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Civil
    19. 19. Civil Aircraft Rules © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Civil • Must have a Special Airworthiness Certificate (SAC) from the FAA. • No commercial operations.
    20. 20. What is Defined in a SAC? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Civil • SAC - Experimental is for research and development purposes only • Time Period – must be less than one year. • Test Area – flight is limited to the test site. • Aircraft – must have been tested at FAA facility. • Pilot - Pilot in Command (PIC) must be licensed (at least private pilot) • Flight procedures • Communication systems are integrated with the NAS • Aircraft includes a transponder • Maintenance and operating logs
    21. 21. What is the Process? © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA Civil • Obtain Airworthiness Certification from the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) • Only two classes of Certificates are available to UAS users (8130.34B)
    22. 22. Which Will You Choose? Jeff Cozart jeffrey.cozart@ucdenver.edu 303-907-6163 © Jeff Cozart. All rights reserved. Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the USA

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