First Commercial UAS Type Certificates Describing it as a “giant leap for unmanned-kind” FAA in late July issued a restricted category type certificates to two unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturers, a milestone that will lead to the first approved commercial UAS operations later this year.
FAA called the certifications, which were given to Insitu’s Scan Eagle X200 and AeroVironment’s Puma, “an important step toward the FAA’s goal of integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace.” Until now, it was not possible to operate an UAS in the national airspace for commercial operations. Although a potential user could obtain an experimental airworthiness certificate, the certificate specifically excluded the use of an unmanned aircraft system for commercial operations.
According to FAA, a major energy company plans to fly the ScanEagle off the Alaska coast in international waters. Plans for the initial ship-launched flights include surveys of ocean ice floes and migrating whales in Arctic oil exploration areas. The 13-pound Puma is expected to support emergency response crews for oil spill monitoring and wildlife surveillance over the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Circle.