Recognizing the demand to expedite integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS), the FAA continues efforts to develop the regulatory framework for safely integrating small UAS into routine NAS operations. This will primarily be accomplished by the small UAS (sUAS) rule, which is scheduled to be released for public comment later this year.
While these efforts continue, the FAA is also working to leverage the authority granted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012(FMRA) to establish an interim policy that bridges the gap between the current state and NAS operations as they will be once the small UAS rule is finalized. Section 333, “Special Rules for Certain Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” provides flexibility for authorizing safe civil operations in the NAS by granting the Secretary of Transportation the authority to determine whether airworthiness certification is required for a UAS to operate in the NAS. Specifically, Section 333 authorizes the Secretary to determine: