Author: Lindsey Mitchell, Safety Coordinator / UAS Pilot
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued ARE-AirShark a Certificate of Waiver, allowing certified Remote Pilots to safely fly a parachute-equipped sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft System) over people. ARE is one of nine organizations to be granted an operational waiver for flights over humans utilizing the Parazero Safe Air System.
With drone technology only in its infancy, the FAA enforces regulations to protect people from injury and integrate drones into the National Airspace System (NAS). CFR 14, Section 107.39 restricts all sUAS operations over human beings, so flight operations in a populated area or worksite can require restricting pedestrian traffic, off-hours operations, utilizing manned aircraft or not being able to gather the data. By utilizing Parazero’s SafeAir Parachute System combined with ARE’s UAS safety and training procedures, ARE is one of the first Drones as a Service (DAAS) providers to gain approval for operations over people.
ARE specializes in civil and structural engineering, infrastructure inspection services, and LiDAR data collection and processing. Securing their place as a market leader in providing technology, UAS and GIS solutions, ARE acquired the drone service provider, AirShark in January of 2018. AirShark, now an ARE Brand, was the first drone service provider in Vermont to gain an FAA 333 exemption in January of 2014 for commercial UAS operations. With custom-built UAS they provided infrastructure inspections and mapping to local utility companies and engineering firms. Over the last 5+ years, ARE dba AirShark has developed formal safety procedures, general operating guidelines and a robust training program to standardize safe UAS operations across the company.
“At ARE, safety is our TOP priority, so finding a system that was tested, proven and could provide an extra safety net while operating over people was mandatory in applying for this waiver,” says Lindsey Mitchell, ARE’s Safety Coordinator. “With the Parazero SafeAir Parachute System combined with our general operating procedures, safety protocols, and highly experienced pilots, we have a winning combination for safe and efficient operations over people.”