April 2015

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  • FAA Grants Topcon UAS Exemption for Sirius UAV
    FAA Grants Topcon UAS Exemption for Sirius UAV

    Posted: 4/27/2015
    FAA Grants Topcon UAS Exemption for Sirius
    April 27, 2015 - By GPS World staff


    Topcon Positioning Systems has received a national exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that allows for operation of its unmanned aerial system (UAS) in the United States. The exemption covers the operation of the Sirius Basic and Sirius Pro for aerial data collection.

    In early April, the FAA issued 30 more commercial exemptions, bringing the total to 99. That number has since grown to 235.

    The Sirius Pro and Sirius Basic systems are designed to produce accurate solutions for the automated mapping of a wide range of sites ? regardless of terrain ? including construction sites, mines and quarries. The UAS are designed for land surveying, transmission line and pipeline inspection, and agricultural operations such as field mapping and livestock management. With the Sirius Pro model, Topcon eliminates the need for ground-control points by combining real-time kinematic (RTK) GNSS solutions with precision timing technology to provide accurate mapping results, Topcon said.

    ?This exemption is exciting news for the U.S. marketplace,? said Eduardo Falcon, executive vice president and general manager of the Topcon GeoPositioning Solutions Group. ?It allows Topcon to be a resource for end-users and provide UAS demonstrations and training. Aerial data collection has a strong impending impact on all the industries we serve, and the possibilities for survey, construction, and agricultural applications are seemingly limitless.

    ?Building on the success the Sirius models have already seen in the European and Australian markets, this exemption allows Topcon to expand on that momentum in the U.S.,? Falcon said.

  • FAA Allows Commercial Use of Drones Flying Under 200 Feet!
    FAA Allows Commercial Use of Drones Flying Under 200 Feet!

    Posted: 4/7/2015
    On March 23rd the FAA issued an update to streamline the Certificate of Authorization (COA) for previously granted 333 Exemption holders for sUAS operations? below 200ft. see the official comments below from the FAA website:

    The Federal Aviation Administration has established an interim policy to speed up airspace authorizations for certain commercial unmanned aircraft (UAS) operators who obtain Section 333 exemptions. The new policy helps bridge the gap between the past process, which evaluated every UAS operation individually, and future operations after we publish a final version of the proposed small UAS rule.

    Under the new policy, the FAA will grant a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for flights at or below 200 feet to any UAS operator with a Section 333 exemption for aircraft that weigh less than 55 pounds, operate during daytime Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions, operate within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the pilots, and stay certain distances away from airports or heliports:
    * 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower; or
    * 3 NM from an airport with a published instrument flight procedure, but not an operational tower; or
    * 2 NM from an airport without a published instrument flight procedure or an operational tower; or
    * 2 NM from a heliport with a published instrument flight procedure
    The "blanket" 200-foot COA allows flights anywhere in the country except restricted airspace and other areas, such as major cities, where the FAA prohibits UAS operations. Previously, an operator had to apply for and receive a COA for a particular block of airspace, a process that can take 60 days. The agency expects the new policy will allow companies and individuals who want to use UAS within these limitations to start flying much more quickly than before.