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FAA Issues Package Drone Certification Notice

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Old March 23rd 20, 06:31 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Larry Dighera
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Posts: 3,953
Default FAA Issues Package Drone Certification Notice

FAA Issues Package Drone Certification Notice (Corrected)
Russ Niles
February 9, 20205

The FAA is proposing to issue type certificates for individual
unmanned aircraft designs heavier than 55 pounds that will be used for
package delivery. In a Federal Register Notice
published last week, the agency says it wants to certify drones under
the “special class” category that addresses aircraft “for which
certification standards do not exist due to their unique, novel, or
unusual design features.” Drones would be subject to the same rigorous
testing and standards of manned aircraft and a future NPRM is designed
for package-carrying drones. Standards for aircraft carrying people
would follow.

The agency is looking for public comment to help it figure out the new
set of standards and warns that it’s the beginning of what will
certainly be a long and complex process toward integration of drones.
Comments are being accepted until March 4 and it’s urging commenters
to be specific. “The most helpful comments reference a specific
portion of the policy, explain the reason for any recommended change,
and include supporting data,” the NPRM reads.

Type Certification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems
A Proposed Rule by the Federal Aviation Administration on 02/03/2020

Comments on this document are being accepted at Regulations.gov.
Printed version: PDF
Publication Date: 02/03/2020
Agencies: Federal Aviation Administration
Comments must be received on or before March 4, 2020.
Comments Close: 03/04/2020
Document Type: Proposed Rule
Document Citation: 85 FR 5905
Page: 5905-5906 (2 pages)
CFR: 14 CFR 21
Agency/Docket Number: Docket No. FAA-2019-1038
Document Number: 2020-01877
Page views: 7,033
as of 03/23/2020 at 12:15 pm EDT
Regulations.gov Logo
Docket Number: FAA-2019-1038
Start Printed Page 5905
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of policy; request for comments.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is announcing and requesting
comments on its policy for the type certification of certain Unmanned
Aircraft Systems as a special class of aircraft under our regulations.

Comments must be received on or before March 4, 2020.

Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2019-1038 using any of
the following methods:

? Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and
follow the online instructions for sending your comments

? Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12-140, West
Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

? Hand Delivery of Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room
W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue
SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m., and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays.

? Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.

Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change,
to http://regulations.gov, including any personal information the
commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket website,
anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received
into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the
comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor
union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the
Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as
well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.

Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at
http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions
for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room
W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue
SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m., and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays.

Andrew Guion, AIR-694, Federal Aviation Administration, Policy and
Innovation Division, Small Airplane Standards Branch, Aircraft
Certification Service, 901 Locust St., Room 301, Kansas City, MO
64106, telephone (816) 329-4141, facsimile (816) 329-4090.

Comments Invited
The FAA invites interested parties to submit comments on the policy
described in this notice to one of the addresses specified above.
Commenters must include Docket No. FAA-2019-1038 and identify “Type
Certification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems” policy on all submitted
correspondence. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion
of the policy, explain the reason for any recommended change, and
include supporting data. The FAA will consider all comments received
on or before the closing date before issuing the final acceptance. The
FAA will also consider comments filed late if it is possible to do so
without incurring expense or delay. The FAA may change the policy
based on received comments.

Confidential Business Information (CBI) is commercial or financial
information that is both customarily and actually treated as private
by its owner. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C.
552), CBI is exempt from public disclosure. If your comments
responsive to this notice contain commercial or financial information
that is customarily treated as private, that you actually treat as
private, and that is relevant or responsive to this notice, it is
important that you clearly designate the submitted comments as CBI.
Please mark each page of your submission containing CBI as “PROPIN.”
The FAA will treat such marked submissions as confidential under the
FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public docket of this notice.
Submissions containing CBI should be sent to the individual identified
under For Further Information Contact. Any commentary that the FAA
receives which is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in
the public docket for this notice.

In 2012, Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012
(Pub. L. 112-95). Section 332 of Public Law 112-95 (codified at 49
U.S.C. 44802) directed the FAA to develop a comprehensive plan to
safely accelerate the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)
into the National Airspace System (NAS). As part of that plan, the FAA
integrated small UAS (less than 55 lbs.) into the NAS by issuing a
rule on the Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft
Systems (81 FR 42064, June 28, 2016). The small UAS final rule added
part 107 to the FAA's regulations in Title 14 of the Code of Federal
Regulations (14 CFR).

Part 107 sets forth rules for the operation of small UAS without the
need for FAA airworthiness certification. Under part 107, operations
may not occur over persons, at night, above an altitude of 400 feet,
or beyond visual line-of-sight, without a waiver issued by the FAA.
UAS weighing 55 lbs. or more and small UAS operating outside the
limitations imposed by part 107 must receive airworthiness
certification from the FAA or an exemption.

The FAA establishes airworthiness criteria and issues type
certificates to ensure the safe operation of aircraft in accordance
with 49 U.S.C. 44701(a) and 44704. Section 44704 requires the
Administrator to find an aircraft, aircraft engine, or propeller to be
of proper design, material, specification, construction, and
performance for safe operation before issuing a type certificate for

Part 21 contains the FAA's procedural requirements for airworthiness
and type certification. When the FAA promulgated part 21 as part of
its Start Printed Page 5906recodification to combine and streamline
the Civil Air Regulations, it originally required applicants for a
type certificate to show that the product met existing airworthiness
standards (29 FR 14562, October 24, 1964). Existing airworthiness
standards for aircraft and other products, issued as a separate part
of the FAA's regulations, a Normal category airplanes under part
23, transport category airplanes under part 25, normal category
rotorcraft under part 27, transport category rotorcraft under part 29,
manned free balloons under part 31, aircraft engines under part 33,
and propellers under part 35.

The FAA amended part 21 to add procedural requirements for the
issuance of type certificates for special classes of aircraft at
amendment 21-60. In the final rule, the FAA explained that it intended
the special class category to include, in part, those aircraft that
would be eligible for a standard airworthiness certificate but for
which certification standards do not exist due to their unique, novel,
or unusual design features. The FAA further stated that the “decision
to type certificate an aircraft in either the special class aircraft
category or under . . . the FAR is entirely dependent upon the
aircraft's unique, novel, and/or unusual design features.” (52 FR
8040, March 13, 1987). Amendment 21-60 revised §?21.17(b) to include
the certification procedure for special classes of aircraft. For
special classes of aircraft, for which airworthiness standards have
not been issued, the applicable airworthiness requirements will be the
portions of those existing standards contained in parts 23, 25, 27,
29, 31, 33, and 35 found by the FAA to be appropriate for the aircraft
and applicable to a specific type design, or such airworthiness
criteria as the FAA may find provide an equivalent level of safety to
those parts.

An “unmanned aircraft” is an aircraft operated without the possibility
of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft. See 49
U.S.C. 44801(11); 14 CFR 1.1. Unmanned aircraft include all classes of
airplanes, rotorcraft, and powered-lift without an onboard pilot. Many
UAS elements, while essential for safe operation, are part of the UAS
system but are not permanent features of the unmanned aircraft (UA).
For example, instead of traditional landing gear with wheels and
brakes, many UAS have a launch and recovery system. Additionally,
because the pilot is not situated within the aircraft, unique
configurations and applications of airframes, powerplants, fuels, and
materials are possible and can result in flight characteristics
different from those of conventional aircraft. These features specific
to UAS are the very unique, novel, and/or unusual features the special
class category was designed to accommodate.

Accordingly, the FAA proposes that some UAS may be type certificated
as a “special class” of aircraft under §?21.17(b). The FAA proposes to
issue type certificates for UAS with no occupants onboard under the
process in §?21.17(b). However, the FAA may still issue type
certificates under §?21.17(a) for airplane and rotorcraft UAS designs
when appropriate. This proposed policy applies only to the procedures
for the type certification of UAS, and is not intended to establish
policy impacting other FAA rules on unmanned aircraft, such as
operations, pilot certification, or maintenance.

The FAA will announce and seek public comment on the particularized
airworthiness criteria for each applicant as certification standards
for this new special class evolve. Once generally-applicable standards
are identified, the FAA intends to issue rulemaking or publish the
standards as guidance in an Advisory Circular, as it has done for
other special classes such as gliders, airships, and very light

The FAA's rulemaking on small UAS was only the first step in the FAA's
plan to integrate UAS into the NAS. Many long-term activities are
required for full integration of present and future UAS operations,
including the delivery of packages and transportation of people. The
UAS affected by this policy will include those used for package
delivery. Future FAA activity, through either further policy or
rulemaking, will address type certification for UAS carrying

The contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law
and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is
intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing
requirements under the law or agency policies.

Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on January 27, 2020.

Pat Mullen,

Manager, Small Airplane Standards Branch, AIR-690, Policy and
Innovation Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

[FR Doc. 2020-01877 Filed 1-31-20; 8:45 am]



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