FAA releases airworthiness criteria for UAS operators

Progress is slowly being made on the certification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for advanced operations in the United States. 

The FAA have recently published airworthiness criteria for 10 UAS operators who intend to conduct advanced operations including remote delivery and Beyond Visual line of Sight (BVLOS) operations.  

Because the FAA have no specific airworthiness standards for UAS, the criteria are a mix of manned aviation special class requirements tailored to each UAS. 

It’s now up to the operators to prove their UAS meet the requirements, and can be safely integrated into the National Airspace System. 

Hopefully we will start to see some of these innovative concepts come to fruition as operators prove their designs, and begin conducting advanced operations in the US.  

Check out the FAA press release here:


New Zealand still have much work to do on this front.  Currently UAS are only required to meet specific airworthiness requirements when they have a maximum take-off weight of greater than 15 kilograms, or they are operated by a UAOC holder in accordance with CAA rules Part 102.  New Zealand has no defined airworthiness criteria, and are currently relying on experienced organisations and individuals to assess UAS airworthiness on a case by case basis.  Fortunately here at Drone Trust one of our Co-owners has extensive engineering and operations experience, and is one of two individuals in New Zealand certified to conduct these approvals.  

Until there are clear international standards for the certification of UAS we continue to rely on these case by case approvals.  Hopefully regulators will continue to work on developing clear standards for the certification of UAS, so manufacturers and operators know during the design and manufacture stage what is required of them, and they can focus on putting this technology to use in new and innovative ways.  

If you would like to learn more about these topics, and your responsibilities as a drone pilot, check out our range of drone pilot courses at https://dronetrust.com/training

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