The FAA had barred search-and-rescue volunteer Gene Robinson from flying this five-pound Spectra styrofoam drone to find the missing.
New documents released by the Federal Aviation Administration show that there are now more entities than ever that have been granted permission to fly drones—from military grade models all the way down to an inexpensive hobbyist drones.
According to the June 2014 list that was released this month to MuckRock and published this week by Motherboard under a Freedom of Information Act request, there are now over 700 military units, universities, government agencies and local law enforcement that have applied for a Certificates of Authorization (COA). Over 500 of those applications are currently active, with the remainder pending. Previously, such a list had not been publicly updated since January 2013.
“Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft—manned or unmanned—in US airspace needs some level of authorization from the FAA to ensure the safety of our skies,” Ian Gregor, a FAA spokesman for the Pacific Division, previously told Ars in a statement. “The FAA authorizes UAS [unmanned aircraft system] operations that are not for hobby or recreation on a case-by-case basis. Public entities (federal, state, and local governments and public universities) may apply for a COA, which, when approved, provides authorization for UAS operations in the [national airspace system].”
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