The FAA granted FreeFlight Systems an exemption from Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which gives the Secretary of Transportation “the authority to determine whether an airworthiness certificate is required for a UAS to operate safely” in the National Airspace System.
FreeFlight Systems said its exemption would let the company use its 300-acre flight-test facility for the development of “a host of applicable ground and airborne equipment.”
“FreeFlight Systems is well positioned to advance ADS-B applications in the UAS sector of the NAS. These include sense-and-avoid and other applications promoting safe UAS operation and manned / unmanned airspace integration,” the company said in a news release.
The exemption “is very important in providing us the opportunity to advance our proven, highly successful, certified manned aircraft solutions for UAS applications,” said John DeBusk, FreeFlight Systems’ chief technology officer.
FreeFlight Systems was founded in 2001. The company offers solutions that “deliver substantial safety, cost, environmental, and other benefits from the NextGen airspace transformation.” FreeFlight Systems pioneered the first certified aviation WAAS/GPS receiver and the first rule-compliant universal access transceiver (UAT) ADS-B system, the company said.