As Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) moves closer to integrating drones in the national airspace, the agency published airworthiness criteria for the proposed certification of 10 different Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones as special class aircraft.
FAA publishes airworthiness criteria for certification of 10 different drones
The certification of commercial drones is a big step forward in moving the drone industry forward as it is the foundation of more complex drone operations, such as using unmanned aircraft to deliver packages beyond-visual-line-of-sight to consumers. Such operations are not allowed under the current Part 107 rules.
“The development of airworthy, durable, and reliable unmanned aircraft is a crucial step forward for this innovative sector,” said Dr. Michael C. Romanowski, director of Aircraft Certification Service Policy and Innovation. “Type certification will help increase both public and regulatory confidence in drone technology as operations become more advanced.”
According to the FAA, the airworthiness criteria provide a level of safety equivalent to that provided by existing airworthiness standards applicable to other categories of aircraft. The criteria are also meant to pave the way to type certification for specific drones.
Every drone maker that strives to get a type certificate for their unmanned aircraft has to follow the FAA’s requirements and safety objectives.
The airworthiness criteria notices have been published in the Federal Register for the following drone makers:
Among the applicants’ drones, we find both rotorcraft as well as fixed-wing drones, ranging from five to 89 pounds. All of the drones are electrically powered.
Every notice in the list describes the applicant’s proposed drones for certification as well as the FAA’s proposed airworthiness criteria.
The FAA points out in their press statement that the “certification process and does not imply these applicants have earned type certificates. Final determination of whether a specific drone meets FAA safety requirements will occur after the applicant demonstrates they have complied with these requirements.”
The commenting window for the general public will be open for 30 days and the FAA says that it will consider the comments as it establishes criteria for type certifying each UAS.
The final airworthiness criteria will be made public after the comment period closes.
DJI and Wing Aviation are not on the list
While many DJI drones have been used for delivery purposes, Walmart uses the DJI Inspire 2 and other companies have used drones from the DJI Matrice series, the world’s largest drone maker is not on this list. And while Amazon and UPS Flight Forward (UPS uses Matternet and Wingcopter drones) are on the FAA list, Wing Aviation is missing in action.
The FAA has proposed airworthiness criteria to define a path to type certification for 10 drone companies: @3DRobotics, @AiroboticsUAV, @Amazon, @Fly_Flirtey, @flytrexcom, @matternet, @PerceptoDrones, @Telegrid, @Wingcopter & @zipline. https://t.co/N0Q7KWyvJq #FlySafe #DroneFirst pic.twitter.com/XIMZULh1j8
— FAA Drone Zone (@FAADroneZone) November 23, 2020
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