The Federal Aviation Administration today said it has issued 1,008 exemptions to businesses wanting to fly unmanned aircraft in the national airspace.
The FAA said most of the exemptions allow aerial filming for uses such as motion picture production, precision agriculture and real estate photography. The agency also said it has issued grants for new and novel approaches to inspecting power distribution towers and wiring, railroad infrastructure and bridges.
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The exemptions fall under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 which lets the gives the Secretary of Transportation authority determine if an airworthiness certificate is required for an unmanned aircraft to operate safely in the national airspace system. This exemption typically allows flights anywhere in the country at or below 200 feet except in restricted airspace, close to airports, and other areas, such as major cities where the FAA prohibits drone operations.
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Such small drones have been on the bad side of the news in the past few days as there have been at least 3 complaints about the diminutive aircraft flying near the flight path of JFK airport in New York. All three of the flights landed safely but the events prompted New York Senator Charles Schumer to call for called for “tougher FAA rules on drones, as well as geofencing software that could prohibit a done to fly higher than 500 feet, and keep it two miles away from any airport or sensitive area,” according to local news station PIX11.
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