Feb. 9, 2016

The FAA announced it will now allow commercial (and hobbyist) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations in the DC Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA), cancelling prohibitive restrictions previously in place.

“This is very welcome news for commercial operators of UAS, which include NBAA members, in and around the DC area,” said Bob Lamond, NBAA’s director, air traffic services and infrastructure. “The potential for commercial operations in this area is very high, and the decision by the FAA will enable that activity.”

The NOTAM spells out three operating requirement for commercial operators:

  • The UAS is registered and marked as required by the FAA.
  • Operations must comply with the operator’s applicable FAAs grant of exemption pursuant to public law 112-95, section 333, and FAA certificate of authorization or waiver.
  • Operators must contact the National Capital Region Coordination Center at least an hour in advance of operations to provided operating details.

“NBAA has long maintained that any plan for integrating UAS in the NAS be thoughtful, deliberative and focused on safety,” noted Lamond. “We think this latest announced by the FAA takes this into consideration, while still allowing for the use of UAS in the highly congested area.” Lamond noted that the 15 nautical mile flight restricted zone (FRZ) remains in effect.

NBAA took part in the government/industry task force that recently issued regulations governing the registration of UAS operated in the national airspace system. Read more about the work of the task force.

View NBAA’s UAS resources.