Share | 12/16/2022
In April 2021, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a rule allowing drone Operations Over People (OOP) and Moving Vehicles (OOMV). With the new rule, approved UAS don’t need a waiver to conduct these operations.
AgEagle’s eBee X series drones are the first and only UAVs to date approved by the FAA for OOP and OOMV in the United States under the new rule.
In this guide, AgEagle’s Head of Regulation, Pierre-Alain Marchand, explains the current U.S. regulations for flying over people and over moving vehicles.
The U.S. rule Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Over People is divided into four categories that determine the eligibility and operational conditions under which it is permitted to fly certified drones over people and over moving vehicles:
Fly over people (OOP)
Fly over moving vehicles (OOMV)
Currently, AgEagle’s eBee X series drones are the first and only approved sUAS by the FAA for Operations Over People (OOP) and Moving Vehicles (OOMV) in the United States. Moreover, they are Remote ID approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Other professional drones, such as Wingtra, Quantum-Systems, or the DJI M300 RTK drone are not eligible for OOP and OOMV until a change in their design is made (for example, adding a parachute).
Note, however, that adding a parachute increases the weight and hence decreases the flight time. Moreover, parachute mitigation can fail, while mitigation on drone design doesn’t.
Currently, the only assessment protocol approved by the FAA is the one from Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), which doesn’t allow parachutes for impact testing.
Waivers are granted case-by-case for a specific drone, flight location, mission, and more unalterable parameters. If something in the mission changes, a new waiver is needed.
With the new rule, once the aircraft and its potential risk of injury are assessed according to an FAA-accepted method (MOC) and get the OOP approval, the complex waiver process is no longer necessary.
Getting a waiver is still technically possible. However, the number of approved waivers in the U.S. for OOP (107.39) was low in 2022 – only 19, mostly for delivery drones – and it’s expected to continue decreasing in 2023.
Waivers already issued and still in the process are valid. Nevertheless, the renewal procedure can be complex now that a new rule is in place and that the FAA has shown a clear preference for OOP certified drones.
Moreover, with a waiver, flights over people are generally limited to sparsely populated areas.
To be an OOMV and OOP approved drone, the aircraft must undergo thorough testing to demonstrate operational safety around people.
The only approved drones to fly over people in the U.S. are the eBee X series sUAS. The assessment was done by Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (VT MAAP), and it consisted of:
If you want more details about the testing regime, read VT MAAP’s article.
Pilots that would like to fly over people in the United States must have the following:
Drone pilots are responsible for checking outside conditions when planning a mission. The airspace is shared with other aircraft, and the ground has restricted zones, such as prisons or airports, which prohibit flyovers.
In eMotion, the flight planning software for eBee drones, U.S. geo-zones are integrated, making it easier to plan your mission.
For air traffic awareness, the eBee X Ping USB accessory is an ADS-B device that allows the operator to view live air traffic data directly within eMotion.
Purchasing a drone that matches your operational needs while bearing in mind U.S. drone regulation compliance can greatly simplify your operations. We strongly recommend that you check:
For more information about the U.S. or other drone regulations, contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
OOP – Drone Operations Over People
OOMV – Drone Operations Over Moving Vehicles
BVLOS – Flights Beyond Visual Line of Sight
sUAS – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Synonyms: UAS, UAV, drone.
FAA – Federal Aviation Administration of the United States. The agency regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the country.
Remote ID – UAS remote identification. A drone with Remote ID built-in and approved by the FAA, like the eBee X, provides identification and location information during the flight. This electronic license plate ensures public safety and reduces security risks by notifying other aircraft of the UAV’s identity, position and altitude. All drone pilots are required to fly Remote ID-compliant drones from September 2023.
Waiver – Official document issued by the FAA which approves certain aircraft operations. You may request to fly specific drone operations not allowed under Part 107 or when the drone is not OOP certified by requesting an operational waiver.
Part 107 – The FAA Part 107 is the regulations for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in the U.S. In order to fly your drone under the sUAS Rule (Part 107), you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA.
MOC – Means of Compliance. Testing method to prove operational drone safety around people. The FAA must approve the MOC. The method evaluation process includes drone failure mode and safety defect assessment, impact and laceration testing, and more.
DOC – Declaration of Compliance. Form submitted to the FAA page where the manufacturer declares that the drone complies with the MOC. Besides the form, the manufacturer must submit the testing report (received by the testing center) and the user manual for OOP. The DOC is necessary for final OOP drone approval.
Geo-zone – Information on the geographical zones that a drone can fly over. Generally excluded geo-zones are prisons, airports and other national security key points.
ADS-B – Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast technology. Live air traffic device.
AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc provides this information for informational purposes only. The texts, graphics, images, and references don’t constitute legal advice. While we try to keep the information timely and accurate, we make no guarantees. AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. is not liable for the actions taken based on this document’s information.
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