VOLUME 16 UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND, ORGANIZATION, AND DEFINITIONS
Section 1 General Information
16-1-1-1 PURPOSE. This volume provides information and policy guidance
regarding how civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operators, public UAS operators,
and model aircraft operators are authorized to conduct flight operations in
a manner which complies with the applicable Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR).
16-1-1-3 AUDIENCE. The primary audience for this volume is Flight
Standards Service aviation safety inspectors (ASI), aviation safety technicians (AST), their managers
and supervisors, and other operational and administrative employees. The aviation
industry and the general public may find this volume helpful for informational and planning purposes.
16-1-1-5 POLICY. To operate in the National Airspace System (NAS),
pilots and operators of UAS must demonstrate compliance with the applicable parts of 14 CFR, including 14 CFR part
of exemption, and/or Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (CoW/A).
16-1-1-7 UAS INTEGRATION.
A. Diverse Purposes. UAS come in a variety of shapes and sizes
and serve diverse purposes. They may weigh more than 10,000 pounds or less than
1 pound. UAS weighing less than 55 pounds total takeoff weight are considered by statute and regulation to be “small UAS.”
Regardless of size, the responsibility of a pilot to fly safely and within the regulatory construct applies equally to all aircraft operations.
B. Significant Challenges. Introducing UAS operations into the
National Airspace System (NAS) remains a significant challenge for the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as the aviation community, because they
are inherently different from manned aircraft. As of the date of this change, UAS NAS integration has included:
1) The issuance of CoW/As to public and civil aircraft operators, as applicable;
2) The issuance of Special Airworthiness Certificates for civil
UAS operations to include specific operating conditions and limitations;
3) The issuance of part
of exemptions for sUAS (less than 55 pounds) operations without
an Airworthiness Certificate (also known as Public Law (PL) 112-95, section
333 Exemptions) and larger UAS that include specific conditions and limitations;
4) Small UAS operations conducted under 14 CFR part
107, including part
of Waiver (CoW) and Certificates of Authorization (CoA); and
5) Model Aircraft operations that are conducted in accordance with PL 112-95, section 336, and 14 CFR part
101 subpart E.
16-1-1-9 APPLICABILITY AND AUTHORIZATION CRITERIA. The applicability
and authorization for UAS operations are dependent on whether the operations are civil, public or model aircraft (part
the UAS operation being within the territorial airspace of the United States (the airspace above the contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii,
U.S. territories, and U.S. territorial waters). UAS operations outside the territorial
airspace of the United States will be classified as either state or civil operations in accordance with international law.
16-1-1-11 TYPES OF UAS OPERATORS.
A. Civil. Civil aircraft operations must be conducted in accordance with one of the following:
107 sUAS. Part
weighing less than 55 pounds, including those provisions of
part 107 that
are waived through a CoW/A.
2) Exemptions. Exemptions issued under section 333.
3) Special Airworthiness Certificate. Special Airworthiness Certificate
issued by the FAA Aircraft Certification Service (AIR), including operational limitations.
NOTE: Special Airworthiness Certificates will be coordinated through
the Delegation and Organizational Procedure Branch (AIR-160) staff with assistance
from Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and Flight Standards Service for final approval and disposition.
4) Type Certification. Type certificate (TC) issued by AIR signifying the
airworthiness of an aircraft manufacturing design. The certificate is issued by a regulating body and once issued, the design cannot be changed.
5) Other Certifications. Certificates issued for part
other certifications applicable to the operational conditions.
6) Model Aircraft. UAS operated for hobby or recreation must be conducted in accordance with one of the following:
E Model Aircraft.
including any provisions of part
are waived through a CoW.
B. Public. A public aircraft operation is one that is intrinsically
governmental in nature usually conducted by Federal, State and local government agencies. Refer to Advisory Circular (AC)
00-1.1, Public Aircraft Operations.
1) COA online application process, which can be found at the FAA COA Application Processing System website:
online applications for UAS flight operational approvals are processed through ATO and coordinated with Aviation Safety (AVS).
provided that all of the provisions of part
complied with, including any provisions of part
are waived through a CoW.
11 grants of exemption.
16-1-1-13 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. You may find additional information regarding UAS regulations and policies at
16-1-1-15 through 16-1-1-29 RESERVED.