New FAA COA guidelines document.

Some opening lines, the complete document is here. Expect some forthright opinions from Patrick and Gene in the Podcast.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operational Approval

1. Purpose of this Notice. This notice provides policies necessary for reviewing and evaluating the safety and interoperability of proposed Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) flight operations conducted within the United States (U.S.) National Airspace System (NAS) for the Aviation Safety (AVS) Flight Standards Service (AFS), UAS Integration Office (AFS-80), when assessing applications for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) or special airworthiness certificate.

2. Audience. This notice applies to AFS divisions at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Washington headquarters (HQ) and regional field offices.

3. Where You Can Find This Notice. You can find this notice on the MyFAA Web site at
https://employees.faa.gov/tools_resources/orders_notices/. Inspectors can access this notice
through the Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS) at
http://fsims.avs.faa.gov. Air carriers and operators can find this notice on the FAA’s Web site at:
http://fsims.faa.gov. This notice is available to proponents and the public at
http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/orders_notices.

4. Background.

a. UAS Operations. UAS operations have increased dramatically in both the public and private sectors. This proliferation has introduced greater exposure and elevated risk to the safety of operations within the NAS. This growth in UAS operations has increased the number of applications for operational approvals and increased demand on the FAA to process them. For these activities, the development of a notice is required for the FAA to use when evaluating applications for COAs and special airworthiness certificates.

b. Policy. Policy identifies Unmanned Aircraft (UA) as “aircraft” flown by a “pilot” regardless of where the pilot is located. Aircraft and pilots must demonstrate compliance with applicable sections of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) to operate in the NAS. However, UA are not compliant with certain sections of 14 CFR. For instance, the absence of an onboard pilot means that the “see-and-avoid” provisions of 14 CFR part 91, § 91.113, cannot be satisfied. Without an onboard pilot, there is a significant reliance on the command and control link, and a greater emphasis on the loss of functionality associated with lost link.

Furthermore, for air traffic control (ATC) operations requiring visual means of maintaining in-flight separation, the lack of an onboard pilot does not permit ATC to issue all of the standard clearances or instructions available under the current edition of FAA Order 7110.65, Air Traffic Control. Consequently, to ensure an equivalent level of safety, UAS flight operations require an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) or risk control to address their “see-and-avoid” impediments to safety of flight, and any problems they may generate for ATC. In the future, permanent and consistent methods of compliance will be needed for UAS operations in the NAS without the need for waivers or exemptions.

5. Consensus Opinion. This notice is subject to continuous review, will be updated when appropriate, is not meant as a substitute for any regulatory process, and was jointly developed by and reflects the consensus opinion of:

• Flight Technologies and Procedures Division (AFS-400);
• UAS Integration Office (AFS-80) and the ATO component of AFS-80; and
• Aircraft Certification Service, Production & Airworthiness Branch (AIR-240).

Note: In general, and as a minimum, proponents must observe all applicable regulations of 14 CFR parts 61 and 91. This notice identifies acceptable AMOC with the regulations when evaluating requests for approval of proposed UAS operations.

Refer to the following Web site for a listing of regulations: http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/faa_regulations/.

6. Discussion. This notice represents the culmination of input from government agencies, industry, and user stakeholders along with best practices and procedures that have been used by FAA in prior approvals for UAS applications for COAs or special airworthiness certificates. The material presented in this notice represents the process and procedures necessary for approving applications for UAS flight operations. However, because of the uniqueness of various UAS flight operations, each application must be evaluated on its own technical merits, including operational risk management (RM) planning. Each application may require unique authorizations or limitations directly related to the specific needs or capabilities of the UAS and/or the proposed specific mission and operating location.

http://www.faa.gov/documentlibrary/media/notice/n%208900.207.pdf

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