A local government may operate a drone under either the new Small UAS, Part 107 rule, or the government may apply for a public Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA), which permits nationwide flights in Class G airspace at or below 400 feet, self-certification of the drone pilot, and the option to obtain emergency COAs (e-COAs) under special circumstances. The FAA maintains an online portal (https://ioeaaa.faa.gov/oeaaa/Welcome.jsp) for processing COA applications.
If you are a local government or academic institution that is interested in obtaining a COA, you can initiate the process by reaching out to the online COA administrator (currently Dina Reyes-Garcia) via email at vog.a1500906871af@ai1500906871craG-1500906871seyeR1500906871.aniD1500906871. Send an email to the online COA administrator with the following information:
- The name of the public entity
- Small description of the drone, and
- The concept of the operation (a short paragraph should suffice)
The online COA administrator will provide you with the necessary credentials to log into the online application system. From there you can log in and begin to fill out the application.