14 CFR Part 21 defines three separate certifications: type, production, and airworthiness.
- Type certification is the approval of the design of the aircraft and all component parts (including propellers, engines, control stations, etc.).
- Production certification is the approval to manufacture duplicate products under an FAA-approved type design.
- Airworthiness certification is necessary for operation of civil aircraft outside of 14 CFR Part 107 or without an exemption under the Special Authority for Certain Unmanned Systems (U.S.C. 44807). This includes Special Airworthiness Certificates using a UAS-DAR, and can accomodate unmanned aircraft greater than 55lbs GTOW, in BVLOS, at Night and above 400′ AGL.
The FAA has recently announced a new process for 21.17(b) Certification. This new process is reliant upon testing to demonstrate the UAS has an established reliability commensurate with the risk:
- Number of hours necessary dependent on population density (between 175 and 7200 hours)
- Hours divided into two categories
- Portion of hours will be conducted in operationally representative conditions
- Remainder will prescribe specific test conditions (corners of flight envelope)
- Multiple UA utilized to demonstrate hours (minimum of three)
With 300+ days of flying weather a year, PACI can support Applicants seeking a Determination of Reliability (with third-party oversight) and our affiliated UAS DAR can assist in obtaining operating approval and permission to fly for the needed limitations.