The Small UAS Rule (14 CFR part 107) is only applicable to unmanned aircraft (drones) that weigh less than 55 pounds at takeoff. To fly an unmanned aircraft that weighs 55 pounds or more, operators need to apply for an exemption under the Special Authority for Certain Unmanned Systems (49 U.S.C. §44807). This authority replaces Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) (PDF) (P. L. 112-95), which was repealed in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act (P. L. 115-254).
|Petitions Granted||Petitions Closed|
|As of 09/28/2016|
The Special Authority for Certain Unmanned Systems (49 U.S.C. § 44807) grants the Secretary of Transportation the authority to use a risk-based approach to determine whether an airworthiness certificate is required for a drone to operate safely in the NAS. Under this authority, the Secretary may grant exemptions to the applicable operating rules, aircraft requirements, and pilot requirements for a specific operation on a case-by-case basis.
The Special Authority for Certain Unmanned Systems (49 U.S.C. § 44807) grants UAS operators safe and legal entry into the NAS, thus discouraging illegal operations and improving safety. It is anticipated that this activity will result in significant economic benefits, and the FAA Administrator has identified this as a high priority project to address demand for civil operation of drones for commercial purposes.
- See current 333 exemption requests
- See authorizations granted via Section 333 exemption
- See instructions for filing an exemption request under 49 USC §44807.
Questions about the Special Authority for Certain Unmanned Systems should be directed to UAShelp@faa.gov.