[USC02] 49 USC 44806: Public unmanned aircraft systems
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49 USC 44806: Public unmanned aircraft systems Text contains those laws in effect on September 16, 2019
From Title 49-TRANSPORTATIONSUBTITLE VII-AVIATION PROGRAMSPART A-AIR COMMERCE AND SAFETYsubpart iii-safetyCHAPTER 448-UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS

§44806. Public unmanned aircraft systems

(a) Guidance.-The Secretary of Transportation shall issue guidance regarding the operation of a public unmanned aircraft system-

(1) to streamline and expedite the process for the issuance of a certificate of authorization or a certificate of waiver;

(2) to facilitate the capability of public agencies to develop and use test ranges, subject to operating restrictions required by the Federal Aviation Administration, to test and operate public unmanned aircraft systems; and

(3) to provide guidance on a public agency's responsibilities when operating an unmanned aircraft without a civil airworthiness certificate issued by the Administration.


(b) Agreements With Government Agencies.-

(1) In general.-The Secretary shall enter into an agreement with each appropriate public agency to simplify the process for issuing a certificate of waiver or a certificate of authorization with respect to an application for authorization to operate a public unmanned aircraft system in the national airspace system.

(2) Contents.-An agreement under paragraph (1) shall-

(A) with respect to an application described in paragraph (1)-

(i) provide for an expedited review of the application;

(ii) require a decision by the Administrator on approval or disapproval not later than 60 business days after the date of submission of the application; and

(iii) allow for an expedited appeal if the application is disapproved;


(B) allow for a one-time approval of similar operations carried out during a fixed period of time; and

(C) allow a government public safety agency to operate an unmanned aircraft weighing 4.4 pounds or less if that unmanned aircraft is operated-

(i) within or beyond the visual line of sight of the operator;

(ii) less than 400 feet above the ground;

(iii) during daylight conditions;

(iv) within Class G airspace; and

(v) outside of 5 statute miles from any airport, heliport, seaplane base, spaceport, or other location with aviation activities.


(c) Public Actively Tethered Unmanned Aircraft Systems.-

(1) In general.-Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall permit the use of, and may issue guidance regarding, the use of public actively tethered unmanned aircraft systems that are-

(A) operated at an altitude of less than 150 feet above ground level;

(B) operated-

(i) within class G airspace; or

(ii) at or below the ceiling depicted on the Federal Aviation Administration's published UAS facility maps for class B, C, D, or E surface area airspace;


(C) not flown directly over non-participating persons;

(D) operated within visual line of sight of the operator; and

(E) operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any other aircraft.


(2) Requirements.-Public actively tethered unmanned aircraft systems may be operated-

(A) without any requirement to obtain a certificate of authorization, certificate of waiver, or other approval by the Federal Aviation Administration;

(B) without requiring airman certification under section 44703 of this title or any rule or regulation relating to airman certification; and

(C) without requiring airworthiness certification under section 44704 of this title or any rule or regulation relating to aircraft certification.


(3) Safety standards.-Public actively tethered unmanned aircraft systems operated within the scope of the guidance issued pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be exempt from the requirements of section 44805 of this title.

(4) Savings provision.-Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to preclude the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration from issuing new regulations for public actively tethered unmanned aircraft systems in order to ensure the safety of the national airspace system.


(d) Federal Agency Coordination to Enhance the Public Health and Safety Capabilities of Public Unmanned Aircraft Systems.-The Administrator shall assist Federal civilian Government agencies that operate unmanned aircraft systems within civil-controlled airspace, in operationally deploying and integrating sense and avoid capabilities, as necessary to operate unmanned aircraft systems safely within the national airspace system.

(Added Pub. L. 115–254, div. B, title III, §346(a), Oct. 5, 2018, 132 Stat. 3294 .)

References in Text

The date of enactment of this Act, referred to in subsec. (c)(1), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 115–254, which was approved Oct. 5, 2018.

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in subsecs. (a) and (b) of this section were contained in section 334(a) and (c) of Pub. L. 112–95, which was set out in a note under section 40101 of this title, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 115–254, div. B, title III, §346(b)(2), Oct. 5, 2018, 132 Stat. 3295 . The remainder of the note comprised of subtitle B of title III of Pub. L. 112–95 was transferred and is set out under section 44802 of this title.

Public UAS Access to Special Use Airspace

Pub. L. 115–254, div. B, title III, §368, Oct. 5, 2018, 132 Stat. 3310 , provided that: "Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 5, 2018], the Secretary of Transportation shall issue guidance for the expedited and timely access to special use airspace for public unmanned aircraft systems in order to assist Federal, State, local, or tribal law enforcement organizations in conducting law enforcement, emergency response, or for other activities."