UAv Consulting and Services


NOTE: The COA application process is separate from the petition for the Section 333 exemption process. The COA process makes applicable FAA Air Traffic Control facilities aware of proposed UAS operations, and provides the FAA the ability to consider airspace issues unique to UAS operations. Both the COA application and the petition for exemption should be submitted under the same name/company name.

The FAA will automatically grant a "blanket" COA for flights at or below 400 feet to any UAS operator with a Section 333 exemption, provided the aircraft weighs less than 55 pounds, operations are conducted during daytime Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions and within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the pilots, and stay certain distances away from airports or heliports:

  • 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower; or
  • 3 NM from an airport with a published instrument flight procedure, but not an operational tower; or
  • 2 NM from an airport without a published instrument flight procedure or an operational tower; or
  • 2  NM from a heliport with a published instrument flight procedure

The “blanket” 400-foot COA allows flights anywhere in the country except restricted airspace and other areas, such as major cities, where the FAA prohibits UAS operations. Previously, an operator had to apply for and receive a COA for a particular block of airspace, a process that can take 60 days. The agency expects the new policy will allow companies and individuals who want to use UAS within these limitations to start flying much more quickly than before.

AFTER receiving a grant of exemption, petitioners who want to fly outside these blanket parameters will be eligible to apply for a separate COA specific to the airspace required for their operation. Applications MUST be submitted through the UAS Civil COA Portal. The FAA will ONLY accept and process complete COA applications.

COA applications are actually more involved than Section 333 Exemptions.  It takes a knowledge of the National airspace system and the FAA approval process to get a COA approved in a timely manner. Our AeroUAVs staff has 35+ years of experience in dealing with the FAA and the Certification process for Commercial applications. A COA request MUST include:

An exemption number – corresponding to the Federal Register Docket ID for your petition for exemption.
A registration number – all aircraft must be registered with the FAA to be issued a COA.

​To inquire about filing for your own FAA COA, contact us here.