Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Safety First

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As an electronic component supplier to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturers, and with the upcoming XPONENTIAL 2016, we thought it would be a good time to remind people of the regulations that accompany the privilege of operating an UAS or drone.

With the help of the “Know Before You Fly” campaign, the following are some reminders to commercial, recreational and public entities about the safe and compliant use of UAS.


  1. You must have authorization from the FAA and obtain a certificate of authorization (COA) from the agency to operate a UAS
  2. You can use UAS with an FAA airworthiness certificate and operate pursuant to FAA rules.
  3. Exemptions may be applied for here: https://www.faa.gov/uas/legislative_programs/ section_333/
  4. Be advised that even with an exemption, you still need to obtain a COA


  1. The FAA largely regulates the commercial UAS community, whereas Congress is the rule maker when it comes to recreational use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS)
  2. There is a Special Rule for Model Aircraft that states that recreational UAS must be operated in accordance with multiple requirements, including a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA); operators not operating within the safety program of a community-based organization should follow the FAA’s guidance at https://www.faa.gov/ uas/publications/model_aircraft_operators/
  3. Fly no higher than 400 feet and remain below any surrounding obstacles
  4. Keep your sUAS in eyesight at all times
  5. Manned aircraft systems have the right of way
  6. For more recreational safety tips and regulations, read the AMA’s Model Aircraft Safety Code and Community-Based Guidelines

Public Entities

  1. Only government entities—such as federal and state government agencies, law enforcement agencies and public colleges and universities—can receive a COA for public UAS aircraft operations
  2. Public aircraft operations are required to be conducted for a governmental function
  3. COAs are most commonly issued to public entities, but are also required for civil operations
  4. Each COA application is evaluated by the FAA to determine the safety of the proposal
  5. COAs are issued for a specific period of time, typically two years, and may include special provisions unique to each proposal

With the XPONENTIAL2016 show just around the corner, it’s a good time to increase your knowledge about the future of unmanned systems policy and regulations to ensure you’re implementing the best solutions. As an electronics manufacturing services firm that provides dynamic manufacturing and engineering design expertise to UAS OEMs, we will be exhibiting at the show and invite you to visit us in booth #1023.

If you would like to partner with an EMS company that is focused on delivering maximum ROI to clients, contact us today.

For more information, go to www.auvsi.org, www.modelaircraft.org, and www.faa.gov/UAS.

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