FAA updates list of waivers granted


Ed O'Grady
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The FAA has updated the online list of waivers that have been granted since they stopped publishing that information in late January.  As has been discussed previously, they did continue to issue waivers but just were not posting them online.  The new information adds 379 waivers issued since 1/23 and every one is a waiver of 107.29 - daylight operations.  4 of those waivers add relief from 107.35 - operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft and 1 adds 107.35 along with 107.31 - visual line of sight operations.

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Thanks to @Uaviator53 for providing that which I overlooked - the link!  Thank you my friend.  I still don't know exactly why FAA stopped posting the info online.  At first I thought they were just not acting upon them due in some way to the President's executive order regarding new regulations, even though they were not regulations at all.  One mid level FAA person said that was it and then another a few days later said not at all.  But I knew thanks to some of our friends here that they were in fact granting some waivers and rejecting some as well ( I was one of the "rejectees"). But it is interesting that the "moratorium" on posting the approvals lasted about 90 days - whatever that means.

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I was just going through the list of exemptions and it looks like Astraeus Aerial and BNSF Railway are the only ones to be granted an exemption for 107.31visual line of sight aircraft operation. Does anyone know what they are doing?

@Ed O'Grady How did you find the application process? It seems like the FAA is approving a lot of Daylight operation (§ 107.29) exemptions, is that what you applied for?

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BNSF has been working closely with FAA on a pathfinder project since May 2015.  On opening day of Part 107 they were granted the waiver under 107. They are limited to inspecting their own right of way but they remain a partner with FAA.  Here's a link to an early article  http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/communications/faa-bnsf-partner-on-use-of-drones.html

Astraeus Aerial's .31 waiver is a re-issued waiver that was originally granted in November I believe.  Both waivers involve the use of FPV and their website will give you a sense of where they are.  http://www.astraeusaerial.com/

Yes it was a 107.29 waiver I applied for.  I made the very same mistake that FAA has complained about.  I looked at previous approvals, looked at the performance standards, and basically mimicked previous approvals. Wrong!.  In reality, I really don't need it at the moment so I have not reapplied yet.

 

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12 hours ago, Up Sonder said:

I was just going through the list of exemptions and it looks like Astraeus Aerial and BNSF Railway are the only ones to be granted an exemption for 107.31visual line of sight aircraft operation. Does anyone know what they are doing?

BNSF is currently (as of the last I heard) digitizing their entire rail network with LiDaR to create an automated failsafe in case the engineer is incapacitated. This may or may not be what the UAS is used for.

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1 hour ago, Steve Bennett said:

Track inspection is a huge undertaking in the rail industry. Being able to fly a track remotely is a huge boost in being able to regularly capture info about all track lengths.

At the last telling, BNSF was creating a 3D point cloud of the entire rail line. That has been a few years back but the scope of the job was such that i bet it will be running at least a few more years until it is complete.

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57 minutes ago, Up Sonder said:

@Ed O'Grady @R Martin Thanks for the info!

Digitizing their rail network, sounds like quite the undertaking!

Any idea what kind of drones BNSF is using?

No @Up Sonder, I'm sorry but I don't know. The initial work was actually completed with a LiDaR unit mounted on the back of pickup trucks that rode the rails. Using UAVs is a new one on me as well.

Edited by R Martin
right post, wrong person & Pall Mall can't Spall
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Here's something of interest I think.FAA listed a waiver that was approved on 4/27 but did not appear with the others released that day.  It just appeared today and it waives 6 sections of Part 107.  They are Small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) operations from a moving land or water-borne vehicle. Night sUAS operations. sUAS operations beyond the remote pilot’s visual line of sight. sUAS operations over human beings. sUAS operations in reduced visibility and reduced cloud clearance (2 sections).

Here's the link if anyone is interested   

https://www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver/waivers_granted/media/107W-2016-00993_FLIR_Arne_Skjaerpe_CoW.pdf

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