In the United States, people who wish to earn some extra cash as a drone pilot or use a high-tech quadcopter for achieving some business objectives need to apply for a 333 Exemption from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in order to do business successfully and without getting into any legal trouble. This is also known as receiving a UAV or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Certification. Until last year only about a dozen companies were flying drones to achieve some commercial objective. The year 2016 is seen as a year when commercial drones will really take off because the FAA plans to approve many applications this year.
In this article we will take a look at how a drone certification can be obtained so that you can concentrate more on your business goals rather than worrying about getting certified for commercial drone usage.
What is meant by an FAA Exemption?
To perform commercial operations using an unmanned aerial vehicle, some sort of regulations have to be kept in mind. If somebody fails to adhere to these guidelines, there can be serious legal repercussions especially if the person was flying drone for some business purpose. It is therefore important to first take clearance from the FAA before using drones for business. A person doesn’t need an exemption if he or she wishes to fly drone for the sake of fun. No certification is required in such a case. However, there are some safety guidelines that need to be followed in order to stay safe and also protect others when flying an aerial machine.
It is recommended to fly only in the daylight and under 400 feet. In order to practice this pastime safely it is advisable to always keep your machine in front of your eyes. Sometimes the drone can be uncontrollable especially when the person flying it is a beginner and doesn’t have command over the basic controls of this machine. You also need to keep in mind that in the start you will have to balance out certain controls so that the drone doesn’t take off or tilt/rotate on its own. These controls should be learned before attempting to fly an aerial vehicle or a quadcopter for recreational purpose.
A 333 exemption is required for entrepreneurs and seasoned business owners who wish to introduce the drone technology to carry out their business activities. Since these machines help them in increasing sales, earning more profits and building a fruitful relationship with their customers, there is a need to get some sort of certification so that you can leverage and justify your actions to suit your long-term business plans.
Remember that if you are not using a drone for the purpose of fun and entertainment but the machine weighs more than 250g, you still need to register it with the FAA.
Benefits of Getting a 333 Exemption
This sort of an exemption is not just a requirement to be fulfilled it is also beneficial to the person who gets it. Just like any other certification, it tells the world that your business activities are credible and trustworthy. This can help to increase the number of prospects and eventually expand your business. When regulations are updated, you as a certified individual do not have to abide by the new rules. All you have to do is renew your membership and you are all set. New businessmen would have to apply for an exemption based on the new regulations. For those who wish to apply for drone liability coverage, they are eligible for more competitive rates if they have a drone certification. The process of getting a 333 exemption from the FAA is a very detailed one, which allows a businessman to rethink his or her strategy regarding drone usage, what equipment they wish to use, and whether drone maintenance should be integrated with the entire business plan or not.
Do You Need a 333 Exemption?
If you are still undecided on whether you should incorporate drone technology into your overall business plan, this section will help you decide more easily. Commercial drone pilots are more likely to use their skills for real estate and filming or cinematography. Agriculture and monitoring in the energy infrastructure are also common applications of drone technology. You need to specify the type and model of the aircraft you would be flying when applying for an exemption. A good number of projects are using a DJI product. These models are quite sturdy and robust and are very much popular all over the world.
As a business, there is no need to apply for a pilot license when you already hold a 333 exemption. However, the person who would be flying the drone needs a pilot license. Go through the 333 exemption guidelines to determine the qualifications required to be a licensed pilot for flying a drone for a commercial purpose.
A complete summary of all the regulations as well as other guidelines and requirements can be found on the internet. It is recommended that you, as an individual applying for a 333 exemption, must go through these documents at least once.
What to File for a 333 Exemption?
Although the FAA provides all the instructions on what documents to file for drone certification, here is a review of those instructions to give you an idea of what exactly you would need:
In some cases a separate COA application is required, so find out whether you need one or not. For each drone you would be flying, you need to file for an N-number. There will be a separate fee associated with each of your N-number registrations. In addition to regular paperwork, you will also need additional information to support why you are making this request. Characteristics of the intended area of use and how you will achieve line-of-sight while flying your drone are to be mentioned or explained in detail. In some cases, certificate of authorization is also required. So, make sure you have read all the requirements and guidelines for filing the petition before submitting your application.