The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is calling for public opinion on applications by four companies that aim to operate drones beyond the usual visual field of the pilot. Phoenix Air Unmanned, a company specializing in aerial data collection, along with drone tech developer uAvionix, and autonomous delivery services UPS Flight Forward and Zipline, are petitioning for the authorization to carry out these operations at or under 400 feet.
Currently, the FAA issues waivers for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) to public institutions that require drones to fly beyond the standard sight range of their remote pilots. The FAA released the statement on Tuesday, saying it's open to public comments regarding these proposed waivers for the next 20 days. The input collected from the public will be instrumental in guiding FAA's ongoing policy formation and rule-setting procedures.
The four firms, Phoenix Air Unmanned, uAvionix, Zipline, and UPS Flight Forward, are poised to push the boundaries of FAA-sanctioned BVLOS drone operations if their requests are granted. The resulting data from these operations will further contribute to the FAA's continuous efforts in policy-making and regulation-setting activities.
The period for public comments starts on May 25, 2023. The FAA is expected to reach a decision on these applications by this summer.
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