Ed O'Grady

FAA Airspace Authorization & Waiver Experiences / Notes

166 posts in this topic

Based on the response I received on here (thanks for your help/suggestions)... I called AND sent an email last week asking the status of the Class D Authorization.... this is the response I received today:

 

"Hello,

The application referenced below is for an Airspace Waiver. Your request is in the queue of applications being processed but, unfortunately, we do not have a timeframe of when it will be completed. Due to the complexity of waiver requests and the volume of applications received, it is taking longer than 90 days to provide a response. To ensure the safety of the National Airspace System, each individual waiver is carefully reviewed and coordinated by the specialists working them, which contributes to the long wait time since a large number of waiver applications have been submitted. Discussions are ongoing to improve the process and decrease the wait time for waivers.

 Kind Regards,

ATO Part 107 Authorization and Waiver Team

ATO Emerging Technologies Team

Federal Aviation Administration"

 

Not sure why mine would take longer than other Class D Authorizations... I even hired DroneLaw/Enrico Schaefer to write/prepare the Authorization... so that didn't help much.

hmmm...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the reply a mistake or did you request a waiver? Waivers are not getting processed from what I last understood, only authorizations. If you submitted a waiver, you may as well submit for an airspace authorization...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I applied for what DroneLaw told me to apply for... I wanted to be able to shoot images/video in Class D airspace... on an ongoing regular basis. I may have called it the wrong thing in the post above... but it appears that I applied for a Waiver.... isn't that what I need?  So I can shoot anytime (based on procedures) within a two year period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey @PLKetchum, it sounds like you applied for a WAIVER and not AIRSPACE AUTHORIZATION. Here's the distinction on the form itself:

request-a-waiver---8203-airspace-authorization--ndash--small-unmanned-aircraft-system--suas-.thumb.png.11896491fa667c820bc8c63604bab175.png

Why the FAA chose to combine both processes into one form is beyond me, but they're actually two different requests.

We do our best to break down the difference in this free FAA airspace authorization guide

This is a far-too-common thing, so you shouldn't feel bad about doing it. There just needs to be more education around this. If I were you, I'd reapply and ask for "airspace authorization" by checking the first box and not the second one. And I'd encourage you to ask others in this thread to review any language you create for the two open form fields, proposed area of operations, and description of your proposed operation.

Hope that helps!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

14 hours ago, PLKetchum said:

Based on the response I received on here (thanks for your help/suggestions)... I called AND sent an email last week asking the status of the Class D Authorization.... this is the response I received today:

 

"Hello,

The application referenced below is for an Airspace Waiver. Your request is in the queue of applications being processed but, unfortunately, we do not have a timeframe of when it will be completed. Due to the complexity of waiver requests and the volume of applications received, it is taking longer than 90 days to provide a response. To ensure the safety of the National Airspace System, each individual waiver is carefully reviewed and coordinated by the specialists working them, which contributes to the long wait time since a large number of waiver applications have been submitted. Discussions are ongoing to improve the process and decrease the wait time for waivers.

 Kind Regards,

ATO Part 107 Authorization and Waiver Team

ATO Emerging Technologies Team

Federal Aviation Administration"

 

Not sure why mine would take longer than other Class D Authorizations... I even hired DroneLaw/Enrico Schaefer to write/prepare the Authorization... so that didn't help much.

hmmm...

As Alan and Steve pointed out, you  most likely checked the wrong box. Authorization takes in the neighborhood of two months. Waivers take what they take is the best way I can state it. Fill out a new request and check the box under "Regulation subject to airspace authorization" which is the first box under section WAVIER/AIRSPACE AUTHORIZATION.

Under *Description of your proposed operation" enter this:

"All flights will be conducted at or below ___ft AGL within _._nm of the latitude and longitude above.Prior to each flight the RPIC will check the airspace that will be operated in to ensure compliance with all restrictions that may be present in accordance with 14 CFR 107.45 and 107.49 (a)(2). To prevent contact with special VFR operations, sUAS flights will not be conducted if the ceiling is 1,000ft AGL or less. In the event that the sUAS loses communications or GPS signal, the sUAS will return tp a predesignated landing area and immediately land. In the event of unpredicted obstacles or emergencies, the RPIC will abort the flight and land at a predesignated landing site."

Additionally, my local FSDO requires that I be available by cell at all times during flight. Until your local FSDO makes this requirement, leave the above alone. If they do make the requirement, in all future descriptions your can add the following line to the above:

 

" <Insert your name> will be the RPIC and will be available by the above cell phone number at all times when the sUAS is airborne."

 

Every waiver request I send goes in like that and the local FSDO doesn't even bother calling and instead just issues the waiver. Turn around time for me is about 1 month. Oh, and do your own authorizations. They are easy to do and once you figure out the format, they sail through the system (not always at warp speed but turtles eventually get where they are going too...). Leave the legal team for waivers. Less expensive and a lot fast that way.

Edited by R Martin
Addition
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@PLKetchum - technically you applied for the correct thing - a waiver to be able to do so for 2 years straight. However, the airspace authorizations are typically good for 6 months. Yes you would have to re-submit a couple times over 2 years, but you have a much better chance of getting it approved.

@Alan Perlman - I'm curious if drone law pro would be willing to say how many waivers they've seen approved since Part 107 went into affect?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know daylight waivers have been granted, I meant waivers for airspace... 

i just find it odd that DLP would suggest a waiver for airspace instead of an authorization. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Steve Bennett said:

I know daylight waivers have been granted, I meant waivers for airspace... 

i just find it odd that DLP would suggest a waiver for airspace instead of an authorization. 

I doubt they did. It was likely a miscommunication. 

Would be a good infographic / report to see the breakdown of how many waivers have been issued in what category. Airspace authorization requests as well, but there's no database / transparency there like there is with the waivers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To Steve's point about airspace waiver vs authorization. the contractor I dealt with back in October told me that it should be considered a waiver since it's not a one time event - if that's what you are looking for.  In my case he issued it for 8 months and It will expire soon.  There is no formal renewal process apparently although there is a box to check if you hold "an approved Certificate of Waiver/Airspace Authorization under part 107 that has not expired:" That's where I am at and it may make it quicker.  In addition, the grids for the airspace in question are in line with the original waiver so we will se how easily (or not) it progresses. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Ed O'Grady said:

  In my case he issued it for 8 months and It will expire soon.  There is no formal renewal process apparently although there is a box to check if you hold "an approved Certificate of Waiver/Airspace Authorization under part 107 that has not expired:" That's where I am at and it may make it quicker.  In addition, the grids for the airspace in question are in line with the original waiver so we will se how easily (or not) it progresses. 

All the authorizations I have been granted were processed by the same person. The first round of three was a learning process of what they were looking for but after that, its been pretty smooth. The last one I filed a renewal for was processed and issued same day, though it took about 29 days to get there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked at all the documentation they sent me and it was absolutely a waiver they suggested I file... the title of the document they sent was "OPERATIONAL WAIVER GUIDLINES." Then in that document it provides the language to insert. They also said to state I wanted it for FOUR YEARS.... which is what I inserted.

I need approval to shoot at any time in a certain period of time... so will an Authorization provide that... foo for a year I can shoot at any time?  I always thought that an Authorization was for a specific shoot on a specific day... not for an ongoing type basis. If an Authorization covers six months at a time, that would be okay too.

Thanks R Martin for the language... if it covers anytime shoots this is what I should do.  Can you confirm that it would?

Thanks for all your help... I really appreciate this.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, PLKetchum said:

I need approval to shoot at any time in a certain period of time... so will an Authorization provide that... foo for a year I can shoot at any time?  I always thought that an Authorization was for a specific shoot on a specific day... not for an ongoing type basis. If an Authorization covers six months at a time, that would be okay too.

Thanks R Martin for the language... if it covers anytime shoots this is what I should do.  Can you confirm that it would?

Thanks for all your help... I really appreciate this.

According to the people at the FSDO I have spoken with, an authorization is granted "usually" for a six month period. As long as the authorization has not expired at the end of the period, you can submit another request and they will renew it for another six month period. The approval process is a lot less time-consuming for an authorization; the FAA states up to a 90 day approval process but I am getting much better results (30ish days).

Waivers are (again this is what the local FSDO stated) being granted for two years. The approval process is a lot longer vs an authorization (can take up to 6-9 months). I am not an expert nor do I work for the FAA. This is all word of mouth from FSDO people over the course of months of conversations.

The language I provided is good for daylight operations for a specific geographic area. It does not cover night operations. A waiver separate waiver would be required for that, although you need authorization to fly in controlled airspace before you can get authorization to fly at night in controlled airspace (again, just what I have been told). You can make the radius in nautical miles as large or small as you need....the more accurate you are about requesting authorization to operate in just what you need instead of a huge area is more likely to be approved without question. Some of my CoAs are for a 0.1NM radius, some are for 1.0NM radius...depending upon how close I am to the active pattern of the Class D airport I am near.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So an Authorization would cover shooting aerials at any time, multiple shoots... same as the waiver... however an Authorization is just for shorter periods?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, PLKetchum said:

So an Authorization would cover shooting aerials at any time, multiple shoots... same as the waiver... however an Authorization is just for shorter periods?

If by any time you mean any day within a six month period that the authorization is issued for, yes. You can do multiple shoots over different days within the covered period. You just need to renew it or let it lapse and file again. Authorizations are short-term. waivers are for longer periods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now



  • Welcome to UCCF.

    The UAV Coach Community Forum is actively moderated by the UAV Coach team and offered to help serve those in the UAV industry. Use this space to meet and greet, to ask and answer questions, to share what you're working on, etc. Have fun, play nice, and fly safe! :)

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      2,019
    • Total Posts
      10,139