Is FAA oversight flying on an uncertified autopilot? Everyone knows I am a big fan of
the FOIA, and the contents for this story came right out of the FAA.
Question 1. When petitioning for exemption for an unmanned aircraft operation, should you ask for an exemption from 91.105(a)(2) to be legally compliant?
Answer: To operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, a person does not need relief from § 91.105(a), which requires “required flight crewmembers” to remain at the appropriate crewmember station and “keep the safety belt fastened while at the crewmember station.” Section 91.105 does not apply to unmanned aircraft that do not carry flight crewmembers; therefore, relief is not necessary.
Question 2. Should a company petition for an exemption for 91.405 (a);
91.407 (a) (1); 91.409 (a)(1); 91.417(a) & (b) also petition for an exemption from
Answer: Yes. The FAA has determined that 14 CFR Part 91, Sub Part E
(“Maintenance, Preventative Maintenance, and Alterations”) applies to UAS
operations conducted under the general operating and flight rules of Part 91.
Operators that are unable to comply with the requirements of Sub Part E , including § 91.403(b), should file a petition for exemption asking for relief from applicable requirements and should show why granting the petition is in the public interest and would not adversely affect safety.
Question 3. If a company failed to obtain an exemption from 91.105(a)(2) and
91.403(b) and performed maintenance not according to Part 43 or without the services of an FAA certificated Airframe and Powerplant mechanic, would that unmanned aircraft flight under Part 91 be legally compliant?
Answer: As noted above, § 91.105(a)(2) does not apply to UAS operations that
occur under Part 91. As a result, relief from § 91.105(a)(2) is not necessary. As
for the applicability of § 91.403(b), operators should petition for exemption from
§ 91.403(b) unless they will fulfill all requirements of Sub Part E and Part 43.
The FAA has, however, issued some exemptions that lack this relief, but provide
relief from various other provisions in Part 91, Sub Part E , such as the regulations
listed in Question 2, above. Section 91.403(b) specifies that the prohibition
applies only to maintenance not performed in accordance with applicable regulations.
Maintenance that occurs in accordance with existing exemptions is legally compliant as long as a petitioner complies with all conditions and limitations of the exemption the petitioner holds. For an abundance of clarity, the FAA is now including relief from § 91.403(b) in each exemption that contains relief from any provision of Sub Part E , provided that operations occurring under a grant of such relief remain in the public interest and do not adversely affect safety.
Office of Communications | Federal Aviation Administration
End transmission –
It should be easy to see that the crux of the biscuit is 91.403(b) –
91.403(b) says, “(b) No person may perform maintenance, preventive maintenance,
or alterations on an aircraft other than as prescribed in this subpart and other
applicable regulations, including part 43 of this chapter.” 91.403 says, do what’s in
Part 91 subpart E.
So who amongst the tradeshow cavalcade of symposium hucksters, consultants,
visionaries, and federal employees do you suppose missed this one? What else is
there to uncover, and will the “experts” be undoing the fustercluck pro bono, or will
the malpractice insurance cover the tab? I’m digging through the public information
right now, and I’m sure many other revelations will be part of follow-up stories just
in time for drone symposium season.
@TheDroneDealer on Twitter