Public / Government User

If you are a government entity – such as a publicly funded university, law enforcement agency, fire department, or any other federal or state government agency – you have two options available for flying a small unmanned aircraft (sUAS)

  1. Follow the same 14CFR Part 107 requirements and operating rules for business users.
  1. If you want to operate UAS for a government entity outside of these rules, you may apply for a blanket public Certificate of Authorization (COA) which allows flights at or below 400 feet in Class G airspace nationwide, self-certification of the UAS pilot and the ability to obtain emergency COAs under special circumstances. To learn more, contact [email protected]


Who can obtain a COA to operate public aircraft?

  • Only government entities – such as federal and state government agencies, law enforcement agencies and public colleges and universities – can receive a COA for public UAS aircraft operations.
  • Public aircraft operations must be conducted for a governmental function.
  • COAs are most commonly issued to public (government) entities, but are also required for civil (private) operations.
  • The FAA thoroughly evaluates each COA application to determine the safety of the proposal.
  • COAs are issued for a specific period of time, usually two years, and include special provisions unique to each proposal, such as a defined block of airspace and time of day sUAS can be used.

About the COA

  • The average COA processing time is less than 60 days.
  • Expedited authorization is available in emergency and life-threatening situations.

Virginia UAS is ready to help with facilitating the application for CoA