On April 27, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to release the first set of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) facility maps. The FAA will release these maps in order to improve the quality of airspace authorization requests made under 14 CFR part 107 and speed up the process of part 107 approvals.
Under part 107, businesses and individuals may operate small UAS for commercial purposes without having to seek a formal FAA exemption from existing manned aviation regulations, so long as operators follow specific rules and presumptive guidelines. Operators looking to fly in airspace that is not presumptively permitted under part 107 must apply for a waiver pursuant to §107.41 of part 107 if the proposed operation can otherwise be performed safely.
These UAS facility maps will depict areas and altitudes near airports where UAS may operate safely, allowing the FAA to more quickly process the requests made under §107.41. The FAA is releasing these facility maps in phases, with the first release on April 27 containing approximately 200 facility maps. Additional facility maps are planned to be released over the next 12 months.
Visit the FAA's website here on April 27, 2017 to view the first wave of facility maps. UAS operators will be able to download the data in several formats, view the site on mobile devices, and customize their views.
Please contact DLA Piper if you have any questions regarding the FAA's UAS facility maps or the commercial use of UAS generally.
*Legal consultant Gary Michel is not a member or employee of DLA Piper.