The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed certifying some drones as a new “special class” of aircraft, a step toward greater integration of unmanned aircraft into controlled airspace and enabling advanced operations, such as delivery services.
The notice of policy released by the FAA proposes to issue type certificates for drones with no occupants onboard under 14 CFR § 21.17(b), typically used for certifying special class aircraft with unusual features — such as gliders and balloons. Through this route, manufacturers can pick and choose from various aircraft requirements in a process better suited to novel designs.
AirMap, a provider of unmanned traffic management services, also voiced its approval. “The change of policy on UAS type certification is good for enterprise drone operations, and we broadly support this change by the FAA,” Jacob Ruytenbeek, director of government affairs at AirMap, told Avionics International.
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