It would appear that even with prior warnings, numerous exemption holders do not have exemptions for all of the regulations needed to comply. Again, these waiver inconsistencies counter the FAA’s safety of the NAS mantra and charge. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person with his eye on the ball with these FAA waiver issues since the “Amazing” Grogan moved on to greener pastures.

As of the beginning of August, at least 48 exemptions were defective. These exemptions are missing
91.403(b). Some of you want to take advantage of the timely announcement and find a new huckster or
hawker capable of the old cut and paste at one of the drone shows. I’d caution the reader to ensure that the new ‘expert” carries malpractice insurance. No one wants to get the you’re grounded call when the
contracted client has a crop in the field.

And this should not have caught anyone off guard. On May 12, 2021, sUAS News broke the story 

Can You Cut And Paste Your Way To Big Drone Money?   

Just to refresh your memory, “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 91.403(b)? 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 fulfil 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.”

It’s not just the hayseed bunch, but HSE-UAV, Harris Aerial LLC, Rocoza LLC, Hylio Inc., and Google Research Climate and Energy Group.I guess these companies, consultants, and attorneys were not readers of sUAS News. Well, maybe those folks were too busy reading up on drone selfies? Some were filed by do-it-yourselfers, some consultants, some attorneys. The complete list is down below.

The FAA did put some people on notice of this. Lisa Ellman of Hogan Lovells filed a petition for exemption for BFD Systems LLC and the  FAA granted the exemption  saying, “While the petitioner did not request relief from 14 CFR § 91.403(b), the FAA has determined such relief is necessary as in the Overwatch Aero Grant of Exemption No. 18596.” 

Kelly Neubecker of UASolutions Group Inc. filed the petition for exemption for Dronexum and the  FAA granted the exemption on May 21, 2021which said, “the original petition nor the petition for amendment included a request for relief from said section. However, the FAA has determined that 14 CFR part 91, subpart E (“Maintenance, Preventative Maintenance, and Alterations”) applies to UAS operations conducted under the general operating and flight rules of part 91. This is consistent with FAA’s determination in Exemption 18596, FAA-2018-0857, issued to Overwatch Aero, LLC. Since the petitioner is unable to comply with the requirements of subpart E, including 91.403(b), the relief is necessary.” The FAA clued Dronexum and Neubecker into the need for 91.403(b). 

The dockets down don’t show Neubecker going back and fixing things for her clients down below.

This situation should serve as a teachable Damocles moment for the rest of us bag-holders who can’t afford the cut-and-paste consultants with or without malpractice insurance. The FAA doesn’t appear to be notifying people (yet), so consider this PSA a heads up for the rest of us.
@TheDroneDealer on Twitter

Exemption NumberDocketIssue DateExpiration Date NameConsultant/AttorneyCompany/Lawfirm
18558FAA-2020-00835/14/20205/31/2022GrantedRemote Agri Drone LLCKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18563FAA-2020-02355/28/20206/30/2022GrantedUNMANNED AERIAL CROP SOLUTIONS, LLCKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18599FAA-2020-02328/20/20209/30/2024GrantedRosedale AG Services, LLCKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18658FAA-2020-048711/30/202012/31/2022GrantedJones Drone Spraying LLCKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18755FAA-2021-00403/31/20214/30/2023GrantedRiceTec, Inc.Kelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18776FAA-2020-11504/18/20214/30/2023GrantedAlpha Drones USA, Inc.
18779FAA-2019-02754/26/20214/30/2023GrantedLeading Edge Associates, Inc.
18785FAA-2020-11625/7/20215/31/2023GrantedSpinks Aerial Spraying Solutions, LLC
18200AFAA-2018-10495/11/20215/31/2023GrantedCoastal SprayKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18795FAA-2020-03865/13/20215/31/2023GrantedGoogle Research Climate and Energy GroupKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18793FAA-2021-01155/14/20215/31/2023GrantedPMG Vegetation ControlKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
17936DFAA-2017-11575/19/20215/31/2023GrantedDroneSeed Co.Lisa EllmanHogan Lovells
18799FAA-2020-01215/19/20215/31/2023GrantedRocoza LLCSam Rockwell
18806FAA-2021-00605/25/20216/30/2023GrantedAV-8 ORR Helicopter ServicesKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18810FAA-2020-02905/26/20216/30/2023GrantedUAS United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service
18807FAA-2020-00355/26/20216/30/2023GrantedHylio Inc.
18815FAA-2021-01816/20/20216/30/2023GrantedABC DronesKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18835FAA-2020-05206/22/20216/30/2023GrantedAerial Drone Applications
18838FAA-2019-07626/23/20217/31/2023GrantedAgrowSoft, LLC dba AgrowDrone
18831FAA-2020-03826/23/20216/30/2023GrantedEmpire Drone Company, LLC
18821BFAA-2020-11256/25/20216/30/2023GrantedAgriSprayDrones, LLCKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18844FAA-2020-06287/9/20217/31/2023GrantedUAS United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspecion Services Plant Protection and Quarantine
18034CFAA-2018-06047/22/20216/30/2023GrantedHSE-UAVKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18837FAA-2019-09228/5/20216/30/2023GrantedMoose Aye Bye LLC
18815AFAA-2021-01818/20/20216/30/2023GrantedABC DronesKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18884FAA-2021-04888/23/20219/30/2023GrantedBlue Ocean Quest 2, LLCKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18878FAA-2021-03918/23/20219/30/2023GrantedSheahan, Inc.Kelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18907FAA-2021-05249/28/20219/30/2023GrantedEmpire Drone Co. LLCJohn McGraw
18914FAA-2021-000610/4/202110/31/2023GrantedHarris Aerial, LLCKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18919FAA-2021-014910/8/202110/31/2023GrantedGarman UAVKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18709AFAA-2020-088610/18/20219/30/2023GrantedLenoc Chemical Solutions, Inc.
18709AFAA-2020-088610/18/20219/30/2023GrantedLenoc Chemical Solutions, Inc.
18923FAA-2021-058810/19/202110/31/2023Granted Ocean Air Helicopters, Inc.Kelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18792AFAA-2021-011810/20/20215/31/2023GrantedKing RanchKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18792AFAA-2021-011810/20/20215/31/2023GrantedKing RanchKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18855FAA-2020-073110/25/202111/30/2023GrantedAerial Influence, LLC
18940FAA-2021-074811/9/202111/30/2023GrantedVector Disease Control International
18942FAA-2021-070211/12/202111/30/2023GrantedMidwest Agri Drone, LLCNancy Potter Lyle, Esq.Murphy, Taylor, Siemens & Elliott P.C.
18944FAA-2021-055611/15/202111/30/2023GrantedOutlaw AG Service, LLC
18821BFAA-2020-112511/16/202111/30/2023GrantedAgriSprayDrones, LLCKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18952FAA-2021-077711/30/202111/30/2023GrantedOutlaw Ag Services, LLCKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18967FAA-2019-038512/6/20211/31/2024GrantedIntegrated AG Services, IncKelly NeubeckerUASolutions Group, Inc
18813AFAA-2021-00781/12/20221/1/1900GrantedVolitant Technologies
18813FAA-2021-00781/12/20221/31/2024GrantedVolitant Technologies
18993FAA-2021-09261/24/20221/31/2024GrantedBayer CropScience, LP
19136FAA-2019-00066/9/20226/30/2024GrantedStehly Grove Management

By Patrick Egan

Editor in Field, sUAS News Americas Desk | Patrick Egan is the editor of the Americas Desk at sUAS News and host and Executive Producer of the sUAS News Podcast Series, Drone TV and the Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition. Experience in the field includes assignments with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Battle Lab investigating solutions on future warfare research projects. Instructor for LTA (Lighter Than Air) ISR systems deployment teams for an OSD, U.S. Special Operations Command, Special Surveillance Project. Built and operated commercial RPA prior to 2007 FAA policy clarification. On the airspace integration side, he serves as director of special programs for the RCAPA (Remote Control Aerial Photography Association).