Israeli drone safety systems company ParaZero, which designs and manufacturers autonomous drone parachute systems for commercial drone safety, announced this past weekend that the first Federal Administration Aviation (FAA) waiver for flight over people with a parachute system was granted to an unmanned aerial system (UAS) operator using the company’s SafeAir system.
Prior to the waiver, FAA’s rule for commercial UAS restricted all UAS flight over unprotected people.
The waiver was granted to the North Dakota operator, Botlink, using ParaZero’s SafeAir system on a DJI Phantom 4 drone. According to a statement, the company will use the waiver to perform missions for local law enforcement and generate media content for the UAS Integration Pilot Program lead by the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
The Kiryat Ono-based company’s SafeAir recovery system has fully autonomous capabilities including a triggering system that deploys a parachute without depending on the operator’s response time. The company already has at least five different SafeAir systems and a sixth one coming soon.
“We spent many months developing and testing our parachute systems. The data that was collected from these tests was provided to the FAA and is a critical component of the waiver application.” said Avi Lozowick, ParaZero’s director of policy and strategy. “We had to prove to the FAA that the descent rate was consistently low enough to provide an acceptable impact energy and that the system will work properly in all types of failure scenarios.”
ParaZero conducted its first flights using the waiver during a tailgating event before a college football game at the FargoDome in North Dakota. “The drone performed multiple flights over the crowd gathered in the stadium’s parking lots and provided important, real-time footage for local law enforcement and media companies,” the company said.
“Our goal is to enable the UAS industry to reach its full potential by opening the skies for business. Until today, the handful of existing waivers for flight over people have either been for closed-set operations or for very lightweight and sometimes frangible UAS. This waiver opens the gates for safe flight over people with larger, more advanced UAS that can carry more sophisticated payloads and cameras.” said Eden Attias, ParaZero’s CEO, “This is a major step towards reaching our goal. We hope to learn from this process together with the FAA and are eager to see additional waivers for flight over people in the future.”