For UA less than 55 lbs, operations under 107 are expected. 

For a UA 55 lbs and over there are two options.

  1. They can support the issuance of a Special Airworthiness Certificate/Experimental Certificate with a test site DAR. A test site DAR may be able to react quicker than an FAA Manufacturing Inspection District Office or a Flight Standards District Office inspector. Location could be external to the test site.
  2. They can help pursue a 44807 exemption utilizing their proven safety case process.

There are negotiations with FAA leadership concerning a new authority under the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 that would allow for civil aircraft waivers (not exemptions) operating at the test sites. If this is implemented in the near future, it could provide an expedited path.

Each test site has its own COAs for operations of aircraft above 55 lbs. All test sites have “blanket” COAs for small UAS.