What YOU Need to Know About Drone Waivers, Part 5: Operation of Multiple Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
As we make our way through the nine drone waivers available from the FAA, you will see that this fifth one is probably one of the most detailed-oriented waivers we will talk about. The Section 107.35 waiver allows the operation of multiple small unmanned drones. Most of the time this will be used for entertainment companies such as Intel or Disney. However, the most recent usage can be seen during the opening scene of Lady Gaga's Super Bowl performance in 2017.
With so many drones operating in such close proximity, it can be easy to see that one drone malfunctioning can cause a chaotic domino effect. For this reason, obtaining a Section 107.35 waiver can be hard. When applying for this waiver, the FAA wants you to have prepared the following:
You must show that you have detailed knowledge of the layout of the area. This helps in preventing run-ins with taller items such as mountains, trees, buildings etc. Ability to communicate with Pilot and Visual Observer in an instantaneous manner. This insures that the moment something goes wrong, or something unforeseen comes in the way, the pilot has enough time to change course or react. Show that if one drone malfunctions or crashes, it won't damage the others. Your Geo-fencing system works. Geo-fences are virtual geographic boundaries that are put into place to notify the pilot when a drone exits or enters the set area. File a Notice to Airmen. In this notice you want to include the altitude at which you will be flying, the locations, and the duration of the flight. You want to make sure this is submitted 72 hours before your flight, but not less than 24 hours before. This lets other pilots know that they are sharing the airspace with a drone. Also, in your plans, state and show that the ground speeds of the drones will be no more than 7 mph.
In order to get a better idea of the required provisions take a look at the Waiver Granted to Disney.
As always, no matter if it's one drone or multiple drones, don't forget to check the FAA's B4U fly app to make sure you are able to fly.