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Frequently Asked Questions About Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

  • Why purchase small helicopters instead of larger, more commonly used helicopters?

    Unmanned aircraft technology provides an alternative to traditional aviation for law enforcement agencies. Unmanned or remotely piloted aircraft are much cheaper to own and operate than traditional fixed-wing planes and helicopters. Although our small helicopters look similar to hobby aircraft, they are equipped with more sophisticated navigation and communication equipment that allows for safer and more reliable operations and are operated under different FAA regulations.
    FAA Fact Sheet for  Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

  • What is a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)?

    An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) also referred to as an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is a helicopter or aircraft, which can operate under its own control or under the control of a remote human pilot. An aircraft (as defined by 14 CFR 1.1) that is intended to navigate in the air without an onboard pilot. More Information

  • What is a Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)

    An unmanned aircraft and its associated elements related to flight operation which may include Control Stations, data communications links, support equipment, payloads, flight termination systems, and launch/recovery equipment.
    More Information

  • What is a VTOL UAV?

    A VTOL UAV is a Vertical Take Off Landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which has the ability to take off and land without a runway. Because a VTOL UAV does not need a runway to take off or land, they can be easily be deployed in locations that conventional aircraft can't.  More Information

  • What is the difference between an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), a Remotely Operated Aircraft (ROA), and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)?

    ROA and UAV were terms previously used to identify unmanned aircraft. Currently the FAA and most of the international community uses the term “UAS."

  • What is a RC Model Aircraft?

    A UAS used by hobbyists and flown within visual line-of-sight under direct control from the pilot, which can navigate the airspace, and which is manufactured or assembled, and operated for the purposes of sport, recreation and/or competition.

  • Do I need to get approval from the FAA to fly a model aircraft for recreational use? No. FAA guidance does not address size of the model aircraft. FAA guidance says that model aircraft flights should be kept below 400 feet above ground level (AGL), should be flown a sufficient distance from populated areas and full scale aircraft, and are not for business purposes. FAA Fact Sheet for  Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

  • Are their restrictions for model airplanes?

    Yes! Although a hobbyist does not need a license of COA to fly RC model RC airplanes and helicopters must also obey FAA Rules and Regulations.  See UAS Aviation Rulemaking CommitteeDOT Model Aircraft Operating Standards; FAA Regulations.

    And, Model Aircraft operations that are conducted in accordance with an FAA accepted set of standards established and administered by a community based association as discussed in Section 2.2, shall otherwise be exempt from the requirements of any Special Federal Airworthiness Regulation (SFAR) that results from this recommendation as long as they are operated by:

  • Do I need to get FAA approval for commercial use of a UAV?

    Yes! You will need to file a Petition for a FAA 333 Exemption.  Our Team of strategic partners can help you with the process.

  • What’s the difference between public and civil aircraft?

    A public aircraft is one that is only for the United States government or owned and operated by the government of a state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the U. S. or a political subdivision. Operators of public aircraft include DOD, DOJ, DHS, NASA, NOAA, state/local agencies and qualifying universities. Civil aircraft means other than a public aircraft.

  • Do I need a License to Operate to fly a commercial UAV in the National Airspace (NAS)?

    Yes, before you can operate a UAV in National Airspace System (NAS) you must have a Certificate of Authorization (COA).

  • Who can receive a COA to fly a UA in the NAS?

    Public agencies and individuals/companies for commercial use an unmanned aircraft.

  • Are FAA issued pilot certificates required to operate civil UAS?

    It depends on where you intend to operate, but in all cases you need to be additionally trained in all specific details of the UA being operated.  

  • How long does the process take?

    From our experience, depending on the complexity, from 2 months to 1 year. But, 60-90 days is typical.

  • What is a “Public Agency?”

    Any agency that operates a public aircraft (14 CFR Part 1.1). If you receive funding from the federal government at some level, you are probably a “Public Agency.” a public agency can never operate under the guidelines of Advisory Circular 91-57 (Model Aircraft Operating Standards).

  • Are there Grants available for the purchase of a UAV for government public agencies?

    Yes, grants are available for the purchase of an unmanned aerial aircraft.  FEMA is a great source for UAV grants.

  • Does Homeland Surveillance & Electronics LLC offers Grant writing services?

    Yes! Our team of experienced Grant writers can help with your grant writing?

  • Is financing, leasing or rental available?

    Yes!  Homeland Surveillance & Electronics LLC will help you arrange financing, leasing or rental of our products.

  • Is there training available?

    Homeland Surveillance & Electronics LLC offers several comprehensive training courses to qualify you on all aspects of our products as well as special law enforcement training procedures.

  • How long does the process take to obtain an experimental certificate?

    From our experience, depending on the system and operational complexity, the process may take from 60 to 90 days.  

  • What are FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions (TLR)?

    TLR's are used for operations in the vicinity of disasters or hazards; For Presidential and VIP movement; Operations in the proximity of Space Flight Operations; Management of aircraft operations in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations and major sporting events

    Special Security Instructions - While not a TFR, 99.7 instructions usually have the same effect as a TFR and is included in this reference

  • What does Auto Flight Management mean?

    Pilot-in-Command (PIC) is able to maintain stable flight without constant direct intervention. To at least some degree, control surface movements result from sensors and software automation on-board the aircraft.

  • What is Collision Avoidance?

    Considered a last resort maneuver of an aircraft to avoid an imminent collision. Without the maneuver a collision might occur.

  • What is Conflict Avoidance?

    Activity which seeks to ensure that aircraft remain safely separated and well clear of each other as to not present a collision hazard.

  • What is a Control Station?

    Equipment, not on the aircraft, used to maintain control, communicate, guide, or otherwise operate an unmanned aircraft.

  • What are Data Communications Links?

    All links between the unmanned aircraft and the Control Station which includes the command, status, communications, and payload links.

  • What is Launch/Recovery Equipment?

    Equipment, not on-board the aircraft, used to launch and recover an unmanned aircraft which could also include unique navigation and differential positioning equipment used for autonomous landing.

  • What is Pilot-in-Command?

    Same as 14 CFR 1.1

  • What is Manual Flight Control?

    PIC is able to directly control the aircraft such that control inputs made at the Control Station are translated directly into corresponding control surface positions. Augmentations which help maintain flight stability are permitted.

  • What is a UAS Flight Crewmember?

    a pilot, visual observer, payload operator or other person assigned duties for a UAS for the purpose of flight.

  • What is a UAS Pilot?

    a person exercising control over an unmanned aircraft during flight.

  • What is Visual Line-of-Sight?

    Unaided (corrective lenses and/or sunglasses exempted) visual contact with aircraft sufficient to be able to maintain operational control of the aircraft, know its location, and be able to scan the airspace in which it is operating to decisively see and avoid other air traffic or objects.

  • What is a Visual Observer?

    a UAS flight crew member who assists the UAS PIC in the duties associated with collision avoidance. This includes, but is not limited to, avoidance of other traffic, airborne objects, clouds, obstructions, and terrain.

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