UAS Public COA Application Process (CAPS)

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Public UAS Operations; Applying for Certificate of Authorization or Waiver – A Guide for Public Service and Governmental Agencies.

This training course has been developed from information, provided to the presenter, by a Senior Aviation Analyst for the FAA. However, this study material is not represented in any way as an official FAA training course , and the FAA cautions that changes can happen almost daily.  When making application for the COA process, the FAA will provide the most current requirements.

The registration/login for the COA process, now identified as CAPS (COA Online Application System) has been changed but the process remains the same.  Upon our inquiry, the FAA responded to our questions as follows:

Question: Other than the registration and login, is the Public COA (334) process essentially the same as it was under E-COA? If not, what is different now?
Answer: The COA Approval process is the same, the tool has just been replaced

Question: Is the PDF for the old E-COA still valid or is there a replacement?
Answer: Yes it is still valid

Question: Is the CAPS page the correct entry point? It appears to be aimed at “contractors and FAA/DOT employees”, rather than fire/rescue/municipal/law enforcement, (334, 333, 101) etc.
Answer: Yes it is. There is a “Register Here” button for external users. One validated they will login using their email address

Question: Are there resources that you can provide regarding the new CAPS process for online public COA/Waiver processing?
Answer: We are working on job aids, and will share when they are available for release

Question: What are the “new options” that are provided in the new system?
Answer: The ability to draw the Operations on a map with different aeronautical chart layering

Question: Is there an update to the guidance document: COA sample application v 1-1.pdf?
Answer: Not at the current time

Question: What about the “required video” UAS NOTAM Registration? Is it still relevant?
Answer: This was not effected by the CAPS program deployment.

—-As time permits we will be revising our training video as needed.

From APSA:

“The FAA has moved the Certificate of Authorization or Waiver (COA) application and reporting site (CAPS) to a new domain and URL (CAPS.FAA.GOV). The new site requires the establishment of a new account. The new account registration requires an unacceptable amount of personally identifiable information (PII) such as date of birth, HOME address, PERSONAL cell phone number and social security number. For reasons of officer safety and fiduciary security this is unacceptable. APSA has been working to resolve this issue with Randy Willis in the FAA’s UAS Integration Officer since we first learned of this situation in December 2017.  As you know, nothing moves quickly at the FAA. However, Mr. Willis recently advised us of an “interim solution”. He requests that agencies with COA’s submit their monthly report via email using the attached form. This form requests MUCH MORE information than the previous online COA activity reporting form. Mr. Willis advises that this is the “new” report that is posted on the current CAPS site. Mr. Willis was informed that operational security and privacy of the individuals we protect will often preclude law enforcement from completing all of the fields (i.e. exact long/lat of location).  The completed forms should be emailed to:
APSA recommends that agencies comply to the degree possible without compromising operational security or citizen privacy.Mr. Willis advises agencies wishing to establish a new CAPS account contact Ms. Tamisha Thomas at  in order to try to come up with a “work-around” to the need to enter PII to establish a new account.
While this is by no means an ideal solution, it is at least progress. APSA will keep [its members] posted on developments as they occur.”

Also, I have been informed that the Chrome browser works best on the new CAPS.FAA.GOV web site.

NOTE: Be sure to review the FAA’s Waiver Saftey Explantation Guidelines
NOTE: Review the FAA’s Waiver Webinar series
NOTE: VFR Raster Charts (Graphics)


The objective of this course is to provide a background understanding of the process, for the Public Agency applying for a Certificate of Authorization or Waiver (COA):

This course will cover:
The Public Declaration Letter
Preparation for a public COA/Waiver
Expanded COA Applications  (the Jurisdictional COA)
Training and Certification Programs
Aircraft Registration
The procedure for Emergency COA and Waivers
Part 107 Waiver alternative

The presentation is intended to help to clarify the process, of obtaining a Certificate of Authorization and Waiver, for a public agency, such as police, fire, search and rescue, emergency medical services and other governmental entities. The purpose of this course is not so much train for a particular skill but to assist public agencies in understanding the process of obtaining approval of a Certificate of Authorization or Waiver for Public UAS Operations.

There are four sections of this course, followed by a short quiz:
Developing Public UAS Programs
The COA Process
The COA Application
What If….
Total course length: over 1 hour

Public employees seeking to earn training credit may submit the syllabus to their training officer for approval.

PLEASE DON’T FORGET to RATE your course experience!

Section 1Applying for a Public Service COAFree Preview

Lecture 1Applying for a Public Service COAFree Preview

Section 2Developing a Public UAS Program
Lecture 1Developing Public UAS Programs
Section 3The COA Process
Lecture 1The COA Process
Section 4The New "CAPS" COA Process
Lecture 1The New "CAPS" COA process
Section 5Wrap up (conclusion)
Lecture 1Wrap Up and "What If"
Final Quiz
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