The FAA is making big efforts to communicate with and educate commercial operators. A part of the program, they kicked off a live summer Webinar series on Tuesday offering insight into FAA waiver and authorization processes, starting with “Where’s My Waiver?”
FAA put together a team of staffers to present and answer questions, from their Flight Standards Division to Air Traffic Control. They started out the webinar by defining terms: authorization, waiver, or
A waiver, says the FAA, is “an official document issued by the FAA which authorizes certain operations of aircraft outside the limitations of the regulation, but under conditions ensuring an equivalent level of safety.” Waivers are designed for operations like night flight, or flight over people. It is not, however, an airspace authorization.
An authorization, the webinar clarifies, allows flight in specific airspace:
“Part 107 requires that you have an authorization from Air Traffic Control prior to operating in Class B, Class C, Class D, or surface area of Class E airspace”
Authorizations are processed through the DroneZone or third party apps with the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) capability. An authorization gives you permission to fly in certain airspace while still following all of the regulations.
The hour-long webinar went on to explain the basics of applying for a waiver, and how to apply to have the best chance of success.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.