Skyfire Consulting (Skyfire) (skyfireconsulting.com), the most trusted and experienced public safety UAS consulting group, today announced its support of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) determination that training missions conducted under a Certificate of Authorization (COA) are permitted by Public Aircraft Operators. While there has not been a change to the defined “governmental function”, the FAA is permitting public safety agencies to conduct training missions under their COA. Skyfire has reminded its clients that training is only permitted for the agency that has been issued the COA and they may not use their COA to train other agencies who do not have a COA.
“Skyfire is in full support that the FAA has rightfully addressed the issue regarding agencies not being able to train under a COA,” said Ben Kroll, Skyfire Chief Operations Officer. “This recent determination will eliminate the potential safety issue of not allowing agencies to train their own crew and avoid further burden to obtain additional certifications simply for training.”
The determination, which comes several months after Skyfire and other industry partners engaged the FAA to voice concerns and work towards a solution, will now allow public safety agencies and others a more efficient and cost-effective path towards starting and maintaining drone programs.
During the past decade, Skyfire has helped hundreds of agencies across various critical sectors navigate the complex COA application process through education, consultation and direct work with the FAA.
COA and waiver options for agencies to consider are:
Depending upon the agency’s jurisdiction, a blanket COA may be all that is needed. Blanket COAs provide permission to fly for public aircraft operations in uncontrolled airspace and include provisions for night flight and flight over people.
Should the jurisdiction lie within controlled airspace, the jurisdictional COA is likely necessary to satisfy FAA requirements. The jurisdictional COA allows for public aircraft operations in controlled airspaces within specific parameters, enabling access to full response area where otherwise inaccessible. Jurisdictional COAs also allow for night flight and flight over people.
Tactical Beyond Visual Line of Sight (TBVLOS) Waiver
The TBVLOS waiver ensures that pilots never have to make the choice between safeguarding human life and line of sight regulations. The TBVLOS waiver allows the pilot in command to fly beyond the visual line of sight to safeguard human life under the condition that line of sight be regained as soon as the emergency has concluded.
Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) COA
The BVLOS COA allows pilots to fly drones beyond visual line of sight within a department’s jurisdiction, enabling further flight distances and increased economics of drone operations. Using remote piloting software, geofencing and a visual observer, the BVLOS COA provides an increased level of flexibility other COAs do not. BVLOS COAs include night flight and flight over people provisions.
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