New FAA UAV / Drone Rules Come Into Effect – Are You Prepared to Fly?

The FAA’s new small drone rule — formally known as Part 107 – is effective as of August 29. Perhaps you’re wondering what happens to your Section 333 exemption grant or petition? According to the FAA, it’s your choice whether you fly under your exemption or under the new small UAS rule.  Compare the conditions and limitations in your exemption and COA to the operating requirements in the new rule to determine which one best addresses your needs – see www.faa.gov/uas

2016-09-01 13_21_01-Operating Options Guidance for Small UAS Operators - YouTubeA new world of opportunities for drone operators opened up on August 29 when the new small drone rule for non-hobbyists becomes effective. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to make sure you have the information you’ll need to take advantage of those opportunities.

Some considerations regarding the new rules include:

  • Even after Part 107 becomes effective, you may choose to fly following the conditions and limitations in your exemption
  • if you want to operate under the new Part 107 regulations, you’ll have to obtain a remote pilot certificate
  • If you already have a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization under your Section 333 exemption – a “COA” – you can continue to fly under the COA limitations until it expires
  • if you want to fly in controlled airspace, you will need permission from FAA air traffic control
  • Under Part 107, you may request a waiver of certain provisions starting August 29 if your operations don’t quite fit under the rule’s provisions
  • If your proposed operation doesn’t quite comply with Part 107 regulations, you’ll need to apply for a waiver of some restrictions
  • You can fly your drone in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace without air traffic control authorization, but operations in any other airspace need air traffic approval

Testing centers nationwide can now administer the Aeronautical Knowledge Test required under Part 107. After you pass the test, you must complete an FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application to receive your remote pilot certificate at: https://iacra.faa.gov/IACRA/Default.aspx

Aeronautical Knowledge Test

One very important step you have to take is to obtain your remote pilot certificate. Under the new rule—also known as Part 107—the person actually flying a drone must have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate.

To qualify for the certificate, you must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate. If you are qualifying under the latter provision, you must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and must take an FAA UAS online training course. The Transportation Security Administration will conduct a security background check of all remote pilot applications prior to issuance of a certificate.

The FAA has posted extensive materials, including a test guide and sample questions, to help you prepare for the knowledge test. You can review the materials by clicking on the “Knowledge Test Prep Part 107” button at www.faa.gov/uas. Additionally, those interested in a more in-depth ground school, there are a number of options around including the options provide by DartDrones.

You also can watch a short video about the knowledge test here: https://youtu.be/v-d1RuTFvbs.

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GEOspatial Evangelist & CMO

Geographer, GIS professional, writer, and fan of all things mobile.

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