UAS Civil FAQs (latest version 01/29/2015)

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This section gives answers to some frequently asked questions about the UAS Civil COA process:

Q. Is it true I need a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to fly a civil UAS?
A. Yes. Prior to commencing civil UAS operations, the operator will need to obtain a civil COA from the FAA.
Q. How can I register for a civil COA account?
A. Petitioners must register at the UAS Civil COA Web site . The process for obtaining a username and password is a self-registration process.
Q. Is there a fee for obtaining a UAS civil COA?
A. No.There are no fees associated with the COA application process.
Q. How do I recover my Username?
A. If you forget your username, select the Forgot My Username link. Enter your email address and last name and then select the Submit button. The system will send you an email with your username so you can regain access to the system.
Q. How do I recover my Password?
A. If you forget your password, select the Forgot My Password link. Enter your username and last name and then select the Submit button. The system will send you an email with password reset instructions so you can create a new password and regain access to the system.
Q. If I submit a COA is that the same as submitting a Petition for Exemption under Section 333?
A. No.The COA application process is separate from the petition for exemption process. Instructions for filing a petition for exemption under Section 333 are available at http://www.faa.gov/uas/legislative_programs/section_333/how_to_file_a_petition/. Instructions for applying for a COA are available on the UAS Civil COA Web site. Please note that an exemption number is required before a petitioner can apply for a COA.
Q. What actions do I need to accomplish before applying for a civil COA?
A. Before applying for a civil COA, petitioners must register the UAS with the FAA and submit a petition for exemption under Section 333 with the FAA.
Q. Can I apply for a civil COA without an exemption number?
A.No. Your COA application must include the exemption number granted under the Section 333 process. Without it you will be unable to process a civil COA application.
Q. I have not received my exemption number yet; can I look at a sample civil COA application or start working on it beforehand?
A.If you have applied for an exemption and your exemption is still in progress, you may register for a civil COA account and may begin working on the COA application, but you will not be able to submit the COA application until you are granted an exemption.
Q. Can I apply for a civil COA with a Federal Registry Docket number?
A.No. Your COA application must include the exemption number granted under the Section 333 process. Without it you will be unable to process a civil COA application.
Q. What is the difference between a Federal Registry Docket number and an exemption number?
A. A Federal Registry Docket number is the confirmation number you receive when you file for an exemption under Section 333. An exemption number is the confirmation number you receive when you have been granted an exemption status.
Q. Does it matter if the name/company name for my COA application is different from the name/company name submitted with my petition for exemption?
A. Both the COA application and the petition for exemption should be submitted under the same name/company name.
Q. What is the impact if I disagree or don't want to answer "Yes" to the civil COA FOIA declaration?
A. If you answer No to the civil COA FOIA declaration, you will be unable to apply for a civil COA. If you do not consent to the release of your information you must contact us for further guidance. For more information, please visit http://www.foia.gov/.
Q. If I select "NO" to either of the civil COA Declarations can I still submit an application?
A. If "No" is selected you will not be able to proceed with the application.
Q. I'm not sure what my UAS aircraft registration number is. Can I apply for a civil COA without it?
A. No. The valid aircraft registration number of your UAS is required.
Q. I don't know my Aircraft Registration. Can I use something else like TBD?
A. A valid Registration number is required. TBD is not acceptable. You cannot proceed with the application until a valid Aircraft Registration number is available.
Q. What type of launch/recovery information is needed to submit a civil COA application?
A. Describe in detail the launch and recovery of the aircraft. How does the aircraft take-off (hand-launched, catapult launched, needs a runway, can use any flat surface, etc). How does the aircraft land (returns to departure point and floats down, caught by net, needs runway, hard surface, etc.).
Q. What information do I need to provide in a civil COA application concerning how I plan to use my UAS?
A. Briefly describe the type of operation to be conducted (agriculture, pipeline, movie making, etc.).
Q. What class of airspace can I submit to use in a civil COA application?
A. C, D, E, and G.Class B is approved on a case by case basis.
Q. Can I attach documents in a civil COA application?
A. Yes, you can attach VFR charts with coordinates.
Q. I just submitted a civil COA application for my UAS. How can I get my submittal expedited to receive my COA?
A. The FAA requires a reasonable amount of time to conduct the study. Whenever possible, all efforts are made to handle proposals expeditiously. The FAA will endeavor to process civil COA applications within sixty (60) business days (excludes federal holidays and weekends). Please note that the timeframe for processing a civil COA application can be impacted by the type of operation that is requested.
Q. I just submitted a civil COA application for my UAS. What's next? Will the FAA contact me?
A. Once you have submitted your civil COA application, a FAA Specialist will be assigned to your case and he/she will contact you
Q. Why do I need a civil COA?
A. To ensure an equivalent level of UAS safety to manned aircraft operations. Usually, this entails several safety mitigations.
Q. Do I need a pilot's license to operate a UAS? What other credentials do I need?
A. For more information on the requirements for UAS operators, please review document 8900.1 Volume/Chapter 16. This chapter addresses the qualifications of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) flightcrew members, observers, maintainers, and other personnel, as appropriate.
Q. Why do I need to use this site?
A. Your information will assist the FAA in determining whether to grant relief from its regulations for your UAS. It will assist the Secretary of Transportation with determining whether to grant your UAS relief from airworthiness certification requirements under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Public Law 112-95 FEB. 14, 2012, Section 333.
Q. Who can file for a COA using the COA online system?
A. The COA Online System is used for public and civil operators only (national, state, and local government agencies, as well as public universities). The FAA issues a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) permitting public agencies and organizations to operate a particular UAS, for a specific purpose, in a designated area.
Q. Who is the FAA contact for the civil COA process?
A. Further questions about the civil COA process should be submitted to 9-AJV-115-UASOrganization@faa.gov.