The FAA’s list of Section 333 Authorizations shows that the agency granted over 500 authorizations to commercial drone companies last month, compared to 370 in January. The FAA has processed over 3, 700 applications in total, and over 300 per month for the last 6 months. But February’s numbers demonstrate the FAA’s efforts to speed up the process and show the drone industry that they are taking business seriously.
While it’s great news that the FAA is processing Section 333 Exemptions at a faster rate, when I last checked the FAA website, the most recent Section 333 Exemption recipient was, “Barling Photography.” Barling Photography requested their exemption on September 3, 2015, and received their exemption on March 4, 2016. That’s means even though the FAA is picking up speed, they have a big backlog and they are still taking months, not weeks to process petition requests.
Petitioning the FAA for your Section 333 Exemption immediately is now more important then ever, not only because it is the only legal way to fly your drone commercially, but also because of the time it currently takes to get your petition processed. The sooner you petition for exemption, the sooner you will receive it.