The FAAâ€™s streamlined process for approving unmanned aerial system (UAS) permits is clearly working, if Bloomberg Newsâ€™ analysis is to be believed. Using a database it compiled from federal data, the news service said, it found the aviation agency is approving about 250 UAS operating permits each month by way of Section 333 exemption. The agency had issued only 51 permits this year by the end of March, according to the news service. But that number had increased to 714 by the end of June. (By July 20, the FAA reported on its Section 333 web page that it had granted 822 exemptions. Within the preceding four days, 25 UAS-related exemptions had been grantedâ€”roughly 50 percent of the yearly total in March.)
The FAA implemented an expedited approval process in April, pending its issuance of permanent rules for small UAS next year. The expedited process makes approval nearly automatic if a new permit request is similar enough to a previously approved permit. Bloomberg said half the permits were for photography and videography, while 27 percent were for inspections and 24 percent for mapping and surveying, although most applicants listed multiple potential uses.