Thursday, 30 October 2014

FAA issues Compliance and Enforcement Bulletin on UAS

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Compliance and Enforcement Bulletin, to guide its personnel on enforcement actions against Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and model aircraft operators, who violate FAA rules by endangering the safety of the US National Airspace System (NAS). The most interesting part of the Bulletin refers to sanction determination.

The Bulletin amends Order 2150.3B (FAA Compliance and Enforcement Program). In determining what sanctions to impose for violation of FAA rules by operators of unmanned aircraft (UAS or model aircraft), the FAA provides the following guidance:
(1) For first-time, inadvertent violations posing a low actual or potential risk to safety, but one in which the aviation safety inspector determines compliance cannot be gained through education, administrative action should be undertaken, i.e. warning notices or letters of correction.
(2) When the risk to NAS safety is medium or high, or when repeated or intentional violations of FAA rules occur, then the FAA prescribes legal action, i.e. a fine or other sanctions. The amount of the fine depends on the risk posed and the behavior of the operator: medium risk will incur a moderate fine, whereas high risk or repeated/intentional violations will bring about a fine in the maximum range.

It is also noteworthy that the FAA has decided to inflict stricter sanctions to certificate holders, i.e. mainly to persons who have a pilot license. Such persons have special knowledge that enables them to better appreciate the risks they create by violating the FAA safety rules. Therefore, the FAA instructs its personnel to impose higher penalties and possibly suspend or revoke the certificate of these persons.

You can find the FAA Bulletin here. Click here for the entire text of Order 2150.3B (warning - long document).

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