The FAA released a new website to allow hobbyist and commercial operators to register their drones online. This is a great first step towards incorporating drones in the NAS however we discovered bugs in the system that directly affect our ability to operate commercially.

As per the blanket Certificate of Authorization (COA) issued by the FAA, flights within 5 NM of the airport centerline will require a COA. To apply for a COA, UAS operators are directed to another website, to file.

Unfortunately, at this time to file a COA a valid N number is required to complete the form. The registration number issued by the online registration process is s FA number which is not valid when applying for a COA.

Applying for a N number takes approximately 35 days and requires proof of ownership and a signed FAA form mailed to their Oklahoma offices. Once this paperwork is received you will be contacted by the FAA for additional information.

Until this issue is resolved all UAS operators should apply for N numbers in addition to the online registration, especially if they need to operate outside of the parameters set in the Blanket COA.

For more information on filing a Certificate of Authorization we have printed the manual in our next blog post or you can download it from our reference section, OE_EXternal_UAS_Civil_COA_Guide_V_2015_4_0.