Report: FAA Releases List of Who Can Fly Drones In US


The Federal Aviation Administration released two documents listing government and private organizations who are authorized to fly drones in the U.S. public air space, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports. 

The agency provided the information as a result of the EFF’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for information on the agency’s drone authorization program. 

The agency included a list of certificates for authorizations issued to public entities and a list of private drone manufactures who received special airworthiness certificates.

Agencies on list include the Defense Department, the Air Force and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Parts of the departments of Energy and Homeland Security made the list along with NASA

Cornell, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and the University of Colorado were on the list with cities in Texas, Arkansas, Washington, Utah, Alabama, Minnesota and Kansas. 

The list of organizations receiving SACs in order to test drones included Raytheon and General Atomics, which produces the Predator drone

The foundation said the list does not include which drones are being flown or how many each entity is flying.

The FAA said it has issued more than 700 authorizations since 2006 and that there are 300 active COAs.

EFF representatives met with the FAA to address the lack of information as to why certain entities’ requests to fly drones were disapproved or allowed to expire.

The agency indicated the information will be released soon. 

Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) expressed their concerns in a letter to the FAA April 19 on making additional information available to the public.

The lawmakers said the public should have all necessary information and should be able to engage debate over whether drones should be incorporated in the public airspace. 

In March, the FAA sought public comment for where to set up sites to test the usability of drones in the public airspace. 

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