Drone Law


5 Problem Areas When Integrating Drones Into Large Companies

drone-fleet-enterprise-company-problems

5 Areas to Consider When Integrating Drone Operations into a Large Company

This article is written based upon my experience interacting with small to multiple billion dollar companies. This article is designed to ask questions which will be the starting point for discussions which need to happen internally in a company. If you are a company wanting to continue the discussion further, contact me. 

Don’t want to read the article?  Watch it here!

 

1. Operations – (Internal, External, & Flight Operations Procedures Manual)

A. Internal Operations Within the Company Between the Different Departments

drone-enterprise-internalHow does the drone department fit into the immediate company?  How will it interact with the other departments? For example, is the drone department also going to be doing the R & D for business cases using drones, or will the R & D department do the business cases for drones?  Are there are other departments which might want to use the drone technology such as the marketing department for obtaining photos or videos?

How is the legal department going to exercise oversight? It might not be the wisest use of company resources to have an attorney in legal do the aviation law compliance work but instead work with experienced outside counsel who focuses on this area. Additionally, many states, counties, cities, and towns are all trying to create drone laws. Who is going to manage that? The legal department or more outside attorneys?

Is the drone flight department going to be its own department completely separate from the corporate flight department with the jets or will the drone department be located in the corporate flight department?

drone-enterprise-flight-department-drone-department

In addition to WHERE will the department go, WHO will be the one in charge of it. (We all know everyone wants to be in charge of it.) This will cause some interesting dynamics between different departments.  Will the drone department be on its own or be under supervision from the flight department?

B. External Operations Outside the Company?

 

Where is the drone flight department(s) going? For smaller and mid-sized companies, this might not be a problem, but for large companies which have multiple subsidiaries, it can be an issue.  For example, a parent company might want to create a completely new service company by which to service their other companies or they might want to create a drone flight department in each of their subsidiaries.

drone-enterprise-company-interactionIn Scenario 1, if each company is to have its own drone department, who is actually responsible for updating manuals and distributing them to the other departments You don’t want to be paying for duplicate work. Who is responsible for recurrent training?

What are the long term goals of the company? Scenario 2 with a completely separate drone department is already set up (D) for doing business with other companies who might want to supplement their drone operations (X & Y) or hire out for certain regions because it is more cost effective. Company D could service other companies (potentially even competitors) in the same industries as A, B, and C who haven’t established drone inspection departments. D could be a revenue generator.

Why would a company hire their competitor for drone service?  Trying to find a legitimate drone service provider is the equivalent of trying to find a legit pair of sunglasses at the flea market. I would trust my competitor’s drone inspection department more than an independent drone service provider’s.

C. Flight Operations Procedures Manual Outlining Step-by-Step Procedures for Internal & External Interactions

How many different operations are needed? (Day, night, beyond visual line of sight, moving vehicle, operating near an airport in controlled airspace, etc.) Each operation might need its own operations manual.  Why?  Each type of operation has its own unique set of hazards which need to be mitigated. Those mitigations are built into the manual and checklists.

There are hazards everywhere. Some we know about and some we don’t know about. As operations go on, new hazards will be identified and will need to be reported back to the flight department.  For example, let’s say a Phantom 5 comes out and certain drone operators are starting to experience flight controller problems. Who is to receive this information and who will track it?

Another thing to consider is the procedures and quality controls on delivering the data to the appropriate people without it falling through the cracks. For example, if a utility sub-station is being inspected and an element is found to be overheating, who is to receive this knowledge? How is it to be documented?  If during a line inspection, vegetation is found starting to get very close to the powerlines, who is supposed to be get notified? Should the drone operator in the field make the direct calls to the appropriate department? Should the drone operator just report back to a dedicated individual in the drone flight department who will make sure the situation is resolved?  Maybe both?

What type of data and how much is to be collected? Should the drone operator quickly take some pictures and send those to the appropriate department so they can prioritize the response in their schedule?  Is video needed? Where is that data to be stored and what happens if there is a lawsuit with a clever attorney requesting all the data? The legal department knows where to find that data right?

 

2. Aircraft – (Mission Type, Maintenance, Aircraft Manuals, & Batteries)

A. What Types of Missions Will the Aircraft Perform?

Going back to the two scenarios above, drone departments in Scenario 1 might want mission specific aircraft while Scenario 2 might want a platform that will be adequate for all missions across the multiple companies.

There are a few popular aerial platforms out there that are not that expensive, but certain missions might require aircraft specifically built for that operation which means they will be more expensive.

B. Will the Aircraft Have a Maintenance Program? (Preventive & Corrective Maintenance).

How robust will the maintenance program be? Will it cover all types of repairs?  As the repairs needed are more sophisticated, there will be a bigger need for a specialist to conduct those repairs. Will you send it to the manufacturer or will you hire a specialist in-house.  Many logistical issues arise; for example, where do you base an in-house specialist if you have offices across the country?

Since unmanned aircraft are getting cheaper and cheaper, you could go to a completely disposable set up. Think of laptops and cellphones as opposed to airplanes. The question is what damage will be considered minor and what or how much damage will cause you to just scrap the drone.  You could always sell off the scrap to an aftermarket repair company.

Regarding either scenario, you’ll need to still set up periodic inspection schedules on the aircraft. How are you going to arrange that? Are you checking everything or certain things? What about updates for the drone and the ground station? What about any peripheral equipment like iPads?

C. Aircraft Flight Manuals

Many of the manuals that come with these drones are a joke. You might want to develop your own standardized aircraft flight manuals that are standardized for all platforms.  For example, Chapter 1 is Definitions, Chapter 2 Quick Specifications, etc.

D. Batteries

How many batteries will you need per drone operator to have in the field?

Batteries are hazardous. If you accidentally drop one just right, you can start a fire.

If you drop something on one, you can start a fire.

If you look at it funny, you can start a fire. Starting to get the picture?

Watch this video of what happened to a LiPo battery in a car:

 

 

Here is another story where a guy was charging some batteries and a fire erupted which damaged his home:

 

Where are they going to be charged? In the car while in the field or back at the office?

If you are going to charge these at the office, how do you prevent them from being a big fire hazard like what happened to the guy in the 2nd video where he had multiple batteries next to each other?

Are there requirements for your operators on the storage of the batteries in the cars when driving out to job sites? It would be a big problem if a vehicle was rear-ended and caught on fire. Will they carry a fire extinguisher? Are the extinguishers appropriately rated for a chemical fire?

E. The Aircraft Manufacturer

From Gus Calderon:

“Selecting the appropriate drones for your intended operation type is a critically important decision. Too often, companies are influenced by drone salesmen boasting features such as fully autonomous operation. There will always be a need for a skilled and experienced pilot so don’t be fooled by this common sales pitch. You should be most concerned about reliability and safety. When considering safety, keep in mind that the more a drone weighs, the more damage it could cause if it has an “unscheduled landing.”

Another consideration is how long the manufacturer has been in business? What is their product support like? What is the availability of replacement parts and consumables for the drones you select? Also, are training courses available for the drones you are considering?”

3. Drone Pilots – (Pilot Standards, Quality Control, & 107 Waivers and Training.)

A. What Are the Standards for Selecting Pilots?

You are going to have to figure this out if you hire within-house or outside help. What will be the objective grading criteria you will use for selecting pilots? Will it be based upon test proving just skills? What about experience? Do you use hours or cycles? Do you give more weight to time in certain environments as opposed to others?

B. What Are the Quality Controls?

If you are planning on hiring purely outside help or maybe a hybrid with in-house, how are you going to audit them?  I was talking with another drone attorney and this one drone service provider company name came up. We shared the same story of this company that was basically being shady to their clients and not admitting they were NOT approved to fly at the location. That company was trying to get the work done and hoped the clients didn’t ask any questions. Drone service providers like dumb clients.  You should seriously consider getting either an aviation attorney or someone in the flight department to do vetting on the front end and some random audits on whoever you hire outside.

C. What Type of Training Will You Provide the Pilots so They Can Fly Under a 107 Waiver?

Certain waivers, like night waivers, require training that is required to be documented and available for inspection if the FAA were to ask for it. How are you going to set up that training? Who is going to deliver it and what are the standards for determining the qualifications of that pilot? If you hire someone outside of the company to train the pilots, how do you vet them and make sure they have instructing insurance?

4. Legal – (107 Waivers or Section 333 Exemptions, External or In-House Counsel, & Crash/Accident Response).

A. Will Your Operations Need a 107 Waiver or Section 333 Exemption or Maybe Both?

This will be important to figure out for purposes of determining costs, operations, and training. Some jobs cannot be done under 107 or 107 waivers (like 55 pound and heavier operations) so you’ll need to go the 333 exemption route. It would be wise to involve a competent aviation attorney at this point to help you determine if you can do all of your operations under just Part 107.

B. Will Legal Be Performed by In-House or with Outside Counsel?

I think the most effective use of company resources will be hiring outside counsel for dealing with the FAA.  Most companies do not have any aviation attorneys in their company, and the flight departments, while skilled in navigating the FARs, are not licensed to practice law. Most states consider the unlicensed practice of law a crime.

Furthermore, it can get interesting if there is a lawsuit. Why? Attorneys have the attorney-client privilege while there is no such thing as a drone-consultant – client privilege or flight-department-guy- client privilege.   Just run this little statement by legal and I’m sure they will 100% agree with me that an attorney is the best way to go. Otherwise, your drone-consultant could get served with a subpoena in a lawsuit and then be forced to either (1) commit perjury, (2) testify against you, or (3) be held in contempt of court if they don’t testify.

Moreover, many attorneys carry malpractice insurance while I highly doubt many of the consultants in this area carry some type of insurance to protect their clients. The insurance is there to make whole injured clients. Do the consultants or attorneys you are working with carry insurance?

C. Does the Company Have Attorneys Designated to be Involved in Post-Crash/Accident Investigations and Communications?

Following on what I just said regarding having an attorney involved PRE-ACCIDENT, an attorney should be designated to be involved post-accident.  Do you have an emergency response plan (ERP)? Remember that everything your employees say can and will be used against the company in a lawsuit.

There are also reporting requirements that are to be made to the NTSB and the FAA in certain situations. It also might be beneficial to know if a NASA form should be filed or not. See my article What Are You Legally Required to do After a Drone Crash.

Setting liability aside, there is also a public relations issue here. How will your PR department be brought in?

5. Manuals & Checklists (Training, Aircraft, Flight Operations, & Maintenance).

A. Training Manuals Should Be Integrated with Pilot Standards and 107 Waiver Training Requirements.

Echoing what was said before, the training standards need to be to that of what waivers will require. Night waivers will need pilots and visual observes who are trained to recognizing the problems with operating at night.

B. Who Will Maintain the Aircraft Flight Manuals?

As time goes on, the FAA will issue interpretations. Aircraft will have software upgrades and their control stations as well. There will need to be a person who updates the manuals and ensures that the managers are briefed on the new updates and that the information is relayed to the pilots as well.

C. How Will You Ensure the Flight Operations Manuals Are Updated to Mitigate New Hazards?

The remote pilots operating out in the field will notice new hazards that were maybe not identified in the beginning or the pilots discovered that the mitigation to counter the hazard created a whole new hazard that needs to be mitigated. These hazards need to be relayed to a central point who will determine an appropriate mitigation and then update the manuals and disseminate them to the managers to relay to the pilots.

 

Conclusion

This article is merely the beginning of discussion on these 5 problematic areas. I would highly suggest you take a good long look at your operations and see how these pieces of the puzzle interact.

I would also highly, highly suggest getting knowledgeable people involved in these discussions quickly. Why?  The larger the company, the larger the group or committee working on the project. This creates more indecisiveness. On top of that, these indecisive committees can have 3-10 people on them which creates 3-10 man hours of – wasted time.

How much did it cost the company to have those 3-10 people try and figure out something? Worse yet, how much did it cost the company by not implementing drone operations? Remember, drones don’t make money, but save money. There are operating costs that can be immediately lowered or risks lowered (thus, lower insurance premiums or less chance for an accident).

I would suggest to you that the bigger the company, the overall cost will be lower to immediately get involved competent people to (1) allow the drone group/committee to rapidly make decisions and (2) accelerate the time from discussion to implementation to enable the company the use of drones to save time, money, and lives.

Can you really afford not to start? Contact me and let’s get started.


Part 107 Statistics (3 Big Take-Aways)

 

Part 107 Statistics: 3 Big Take-Aways

The data gathered was from a source in the FAA which requested to remain anonymous. I made an effort to cite data. It is current as of October 18, 2016.

 

1. Remote Pilot Pass Rates Are Close to Private Pilot Knowledge Test Pass Rates.

Interestingly, the individuals taking the remote pilot exam had a pass rate of 88.29%, which is close to the private pilot knowledge test for airplanes pass rate of 89.44% for all of 2015[1].

I know that many have had success using the free study guide I put out.

 

 passvfail of Part 107 exam

2. TSA Responded Well to Processing the Applications.

You’ll notice that when you compare the applications filed to applications completed, it is disproportionate at the beginning; however, the TSA, while not catching up fully with the applications filed, responded well by increasing their rate of processing the applications close to that of applications being filed. Many of us were concerned the TSA would be backed up with the surge in applications which would continue to grow and grow.

 filedvcompleted of part 107 iacra applications

3. The Majority of Those Applying Are Current Part 61 Pilots.

You have two ways of obtaining a remote pilot certificate, be a current Part 61 pilot who has taken the online training course or take the remote pilot initial knowledge exam. The green columns below show the number of individuals who have successfully passed the remote pilot initial knowledge exam while the orange columns are the number of people who have applied for their remote pilot certificate.

filedv107taken
There could have been some CURRENT  Part 61 pilots who took the initial knowledge exam (green column), but that is going to be a very small portion because the test costs $150 while the online training course they would need to take as a current pilot is free. The Part 61 pilots in this group will primarily be NON-CURRENT Part 61 pilots.

 

Additionally, to file a remote pilot certificate application you will need select the test you took (the initial knowledge exam will show up in the system otherwise you are stuck till it shows up) or have your identification validated by a certified flight instructor, air a safety inspector, a designated pilot examiner, or an airmen certification representative and they certify that in the application. It is very unlikely that any of those four would commit perjury by certifying a person or that the person applying for the 107 would commit perjury himself. (Yes, it could happen but it would be a small number.)

 

This means that the difference is going to be mostly current Part 61 pilots with an unknown number of non-current Part 61 pilots in the green column. That is a lot of Part 61 pilots moving into the industry!

Conclusion

 

It looks like we are off to a good start. The new remote pilots haven’t really “dropped the ball” but have passed the test. It will be very interesting to see how these new pilots interact with the more highly trained Part 61 pilots who are currently coming into the industry. Hopefully, the culture of professionalism and safety from the Part 61 pilots will transfer over to the drone community.

 

One way to set yourself apart from the typical 107 competition is to obtain waivers or authorizations. The most commonly asked for waiver is the night waiver which allows you to fly past civil twilight (see How to Fly Your Drone at Night).  If you are interested in any of the waivers to stand out from the crowd, don’t hesitate to contact me.

[1] https://www.faa.gov/data_research/aviation_data_statistics/test_statistics/media/2015/annual/2015_Airman_Knowledge_Tests.pdf

[2] Id. on Page 2.

[3] https://www.faa.gov/data_research/aviation_data_statistics/civil_airmen_statistics/media/2015-civil-airmen-stats.xlsx

 


How to Fly Your Drone at Night-(Part 107 Night Waiver)

107-night-waiver-fly-cowInterested in obtaining a Part 107 night waiver to fly your drone at night? This article will dive into the different definitions of night, civil twilight, and what is legally required to fly at night. To start off, this article is focusing on operations under Part 107, not model aircraft operating under Part 101. Part 107 remote pilots will need a waiver from 107.29 which is sometimes called a Part 107 night waiver.

Their are different standards and definitions floating around causing all sorts of confusion in this area. The FAA uses different terms in the regulations: night, sunset, civil twilight, 1 hour after sunset, and 30 minutes after sunset. I’m going to throw all the terms out on the table and explain them so you know what is required of you.  If you sign up for the newsletter and confirm your email, you’ll be sent an email with a link to download the above infographic to keep with you on your device. Additionally, it is optimized for 8.5×11 pieces of paper. You could print it out and keep it with you or you can give it out.

The Different Definitions in the Federal Aviation Regulations

The bold emphasis is mine. Pay particular attention to the words and context.

14 CFR § 1.1 says, “Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the Air Almanac, converted to local time.”

14 CFR § 61.57(b) says, “Night takeoff and landing experience. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise, unless within the preceding 90 days that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise[.]”

14 CFR § 91.209 says, “No person may: 

(a) During the period from sunset to sunrise (or, in Alaska, during the period a prominent unlighted object cannot be seen from a distance of 3 statute miles or the sun is more than 6 degrees below the horizon)— (1) Operate an aircraft unless it has lighted position lights; . . .

(b) Operate an aircraft that is equipped with an anticollision light system, unless it has lighted anticollision lights. However, the anticollision lights need not be lighted when the pilot-in-command determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to turn the lights off.”

14 CFR § 107.29 says,

“(a) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during night.

(b) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during periods of civil twilight unless the small unmanned aircraft has lighted anti-collision lighting visible for at least 3 statute miles. The remote pilot in command may reduce the intensity of the anti-collision lighting if he or she determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to do so.

(c) For purposes of paragraph (b) of this section, civil twilight refers to the following:

(1) Except for Alaska, a period of time that begins 30 minutes before official sunrise and ends at official sunrise;

(2) Except for Alaska, a period of time that begins at official sunset and ends 30 minutes after official sunset; and

(3) In Alaska, the period of civil twilight as defined in the Air Almanac.”

Notice that different parts of the FARs are cited. Basically, if you are a commercial drone operator, you have the option of operating under Part 107 or under a Section 333 exemption and all the applicable regulations.

Summarizing What is and is NOT Required

  • Part 107

    • You are limited to daylight operations (sunrise to sunset).
    • However, you may operate at civil twilight provided you have an appropriate anti-collision system.
    • You cannot operate at night unless you have a Part 107 night waiver
  • Section 333 Operators

    • 333 operations “may not be conducted during night, as defined in 14 CFR § 1.1.” Part 1.1’s definition of night is tied back to the Air Almanac while Part 107 definition of civil twilight is fixed, unless you are in Alaska.
      • Why is this interesting? The length of twilight changes depending on what latitude you are operating at and also at what time of the year. Florida has a greater duration of twilight during the winter than during the summer. Additionally, Maine has a greater amount of twilight than Florida on the same day because Maine is higher in latitude. See The Duration of Twilight, and if you are in the U.S., page 1 of this graph. Another interesting thing is that for those of us living in Florida, we got a good deal and picked up more operating time under 107 than those operating under a 333 exemption; however, those in the northern latitudes got goofed over and could actually operate longer under a 333 exemption than they could under 107.  I used the U.S. Naval Observatory calculator to compare Miami to Seattle during the winter and summer solstices.

         

        Difference Between Sunset & Sunset Civil Twilight at the Summer SolsticeDifference Between Sunset & Sunset Civil Twilight at the Winter Solstice

        Miami, Florida

        26 Minutes

        25 Minutes

        Seattle, Washington41 Minutes

        37 Minutes

        So for those of you operating in the higher latitudes, you could try and figure out all of this juggling of the 107 and 333 exemption stuff, or just hire me to get you a Part 107 night waiver so you do not have to worry about this. 🙂

    • 14 CFR § 61.57(b) does NOT apply because you aren’t carrying passengers. Interestingly, some of the early 333s had a 90-day currency requirement (see Aerial Mob’s exemption at restriction 12) but the 90-day currency situation was done away with as time went on with the 333s.
    • First off, this section is only for 333 operators, not 107 operators. 14 CFR 91.209(a) is applicable only to those operating at night. To date, Industrial Skyworks is the only 333 exemption to have been approved for night operations. Interestingly, they received an exemption from 91.209. 14 CFR 91.209(b) is applicable only to those drones equipped with anti-collision lights.

Why the FAA Requires a Part 107 Night Waiver for 107 Operators

The FAA gave us very insightful comments on pages 42,102-103 of the Operation and Certification of Small
Unmanned Aircraft Systems that was published in the Federal Register.

Nighttime operations pose a higher safety risk because the reduced visibility makes it more difficult for the person maintaining visual line of sight to see the location of other aircraft. While the existence of other lighted manned aircraft may be apparent due to their lighting, the distance and movement of small unmanned aircraft relative to the distance and movement of those aircraft is often difficult to judge due to the relative size of the aircraft. In addition, visual autokinesis (the apparent movement of a lighted object) may occur when the person maintaining visual line of sight stares at a single light source for several seconds on a dark night. For this reason, darkness makes it more difficult for that person to perceive reference points that could be used to help understand the position and movement of the lighted manned aircraft, the small unmanned aircraft, or other lighted object.

The lack of reference points at night is problematic for small UAS subject to part 107 because they are not required to have any equipage that would help identify the precise location of the small unmanned aircraft. As such, a remote pilot in command operating under this rule will generally rely on unaided human vision to learn details about the position, attitude, airspeed, and heading of the unmanned aircraft. This ability may become impaired at night due to a lack of reference points because all a remote pilot may see of his or her aircraft (if it is lighted) is a point of light moving somewhere in the air. For example, a lighted small unmanned aircraft flying at night may appear to be close by, but due to a lack of reference points, that aircraft may actually be significantly farther away than the remote pilot perceives. An impairment to the remote pilot’s ability to know the precise position, attitude, and altitude of the small unmanned aircraft would significantly increase the risk that the small unmanned aircraft will collide with another aircraft.

In addition to avoiding collision with other aircraft, remote pilots in command must also avoid collision with people on the ground, as well as collision with ground-based structures and obstacles. This is a particular concern for small UAS because they operate at low altitudes. When operating at night, a remote pilot may have difficulty avoiding collision with people or obstacles on the ground which may not be lighted and as a result, may not be visible to the pilot or the visual observer. As such, this rule will not allow small UAS subject to part 107 to operate at night (outside of civil twilight) without a waiver. . .

Civil twilight is a period of time that, with the exception of Alaska, generally takes place 30 minutes before official sunrise and 30 minutes after official sunset. The FAA agrees with commenters that operations during civil twilight could be conducted safely under part 107 with additional risk mitigation because the illumination provided during civil twilight is sufficient for terrestrial objects to be clearly distinguished during clear weather conditions. As a result, many of the safety concerns associated with nighttime operations are mitigated by the lighting that is present during civil twilight. That is why current section 333 exemptions permit twilight UAS operations. Accordingly, this rule will allow a small UAS to be operated during civil twilight.

However, while civil twilight provides more illumination than nighttime, the level of illumination that is provided during civil twilight is less than the illumination provided between sunrise and sunset. To minimize the increased risk of collision associated with reduced lighting and visibility during twilight operations, this rule will require small unmanned aircraft operated during civil twilight to be equipped with anti-collision lights that are visible for at least 3 statute miles.

A remote pilot in command may reduce the intensity of the anti-collision lights if, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to do so. For example, the remote pilot in command may reduce the intensity of anti-collision lights to minimize the effects of loss of night vision adaptation. The FAA emphasizes that anti-collision lighting will be required under this rule only for civil twilight operations; a small unmanned aircraft that is flown between sunrise and sunset need not be equipped with anti-collision lights.

The FAA acknowledges that current exemptions issued under Public Law 112–95, section 333 allow civil twilight operations without a requirement for anti-collision lighting. However, the section 333 exemptions do not exempt small UAS operations from complying with § 91.209(a), which requires lighted position lights when an aircraft is operated during a period from sunset to sunrise (or, in Alaska, during the period a prominent unlighted object cannot be seen from a distance of 3 statute miles or the sun is more than 6 degrees below the horizon). As such, UAS currently operating under a section 333 exemption have lighting requirements when operating during civil twilight.

However, while current section 333 exemptions rely on position lighting, it would be impractical for this rule to prescribe specifications for position lighting for civil twilight operations because a wider range of small unmanned aircraft will likely operate under part 107. Position lighting may not be appropriate for some of these aircraft. Thus, instead of position lighting, small unmanned aircraft operating under part 107 will be required to have anti-collision lights when operating during civil twilight. The FAA also notes that meteorological conditions, such as haze, may sometimes reduce visibility during civil twilight operations. Accordingly, the FAA emphasizes that, as discussed in the following section of this preamble, this rule also requires that the minimum flight visibility, as observed from the location of the ground control station, must be no less than 3 statute miles.”

One Big Benefit to Possessing a Part 107 Night Waiver

Want to Fly Near a Class D Airport Without an Airspace Authorization? A Part 107 night waiver might be your solution.

Sometimes you get a job that is last moment. You don’t have time to obtain an airspace authorization or airspace waiver. You can just wait till the airport tower closes and fly under a Part 107 night waiver. 
Most controlled airports close at around 9-11PM local time. Not every airport is 24/7. Check the chart supplement (formerly known as the airport facility directory)  for the airport and see when the airport closes. You should also see which type of airspace it turns into. MAKE SURE IT TURNS INTO CLASS G! The time the tower will be in operation will be listed in Zulu time. Remember to convert to local time by looking at the UTC correction at the top. Just check to make sure in the chart supplement as I think a few towered airports might revert to Class E at the surface which requires an authorization.

You might have noticed something that looked like a  double plus + symbol right next to the Z in the tower’s operational time. It is important that you know what it means so you know WHEN exactly the tower closes or opens. This is what the chart supplement’s legend says:

Hours of operation of all facilities are expressed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and shown as “Z” time. The directory indicates the number of hours to be subtracted from UTC to obtain local standard time and local daylight saving time UTC–5(–4DT). The symbol ‡ indicates that during periods of Daylight Saving Time (DST) effective hours will be one hour earlier than shown. In those areas where daylight saving time is not observed the (–4DT) and ‡ will not be shown. Daylight saving time is in effect from 0200 local time the second Sunday in March to 0200 local time the first Sunday in November. Canada and all U.S. Conterminous States observe daylight saving time except Arizona and Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. If the state observes daylight saving time and the operating times are other than daylight saving times, the operating hours will include the dates, times and no ‡ symbol will be shown, i.e., April 15–Aug 31 0630–1700Z, Sep 1–Apr 14 0600–1700Z.

class-g-chart-supplement-part-107-night-waiver

Procedures

Step 1: Check the airport’s chart supplement listing to make sure it reverts to class G.  Note: the chart supplement legend says this:

When part–time Class C or Class D airspace defaults to Class E, the core surface area becomes Class E. This will be formatted as:
AIRSPACE: CLASS C svc ‘‘times’’ ctc APP CON other times CLASS E:
or
AIRSPACE: CLASS D svc ‘‘times’’ other times CLASS E.

When a part–time Class C, Class D or Class E surface area defaults to Class G, the core surface area becomes Class G up to, but not
including, the overlying controlled airspace. Normally, the overlying controlled airspace is Class E airspace beginning at either 700´
or 1200´ AGL and may be determined by consulting the relevant VFR Sectional or Terminal Area Charts. This will be formatted as:
AIRSPACE: CLASS C svc ‘‘times’’ ctc APP CON other times CLASS G, with CLASS E 700´ (or 1200´) AGL & abv:
or
AIRSPACE: CLASS D svc ‘‘times’’ other times CLASS G with CLASS E 700´ (or 1200´) AGL & abv:
or
AIRSPACE: CLASS E svc ‘‘times’’ other times CLASS G with CLASS E 700´ (or 1200´) AGL & abv.

Step 2: Figure out what the hours are. Keep in mind the ++ thing mentioned above.

Step 3: Check the NOTAMs for that airport to make sure those hours haven’t changed. I did come across this one time where the tower hours were changed via NOTAM. You might get a chance to take off sooner or have to wait till later.

 

Conclusion:

I have 14 Part 107 night waiver approvals already. I’m noticing that night waivers are on average taking about 26 days for my clients. The fastest ever was 13 days. The FAA is sure speeding things up. If you need help with a night waiver, please contact me.

I highly suggest you take time to browse through the other high quality Part 107 Articles I have created.


Press Release: Rupprecht Law’s Client Just Received a Part 107 Night Waiver

Part-107-night-waiverImmediate Press Release:

Rupprecht Law, P.A.’s client Red Raptor just picked up a night waiver today. Here is a picture from the first page.  The waiver is good for the entire United States in Class G airspace. It lasts until 2020. The manual used was developed by Airspace Consulting.

 

Why are night waivers so important?

14 CFR 107.29 requires:

(a) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during night.

(b) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during periods of civil twilight unless the small unmanned aircraft has lighted anti-collision lighting visible for at least 3 statute miles. The remote pilot in command may reduce the intensity of the anti-collision lighting if he or she determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to do so.

(c) For purposes of paragraph (b) of this section, civil twilight refers to the following:

(1) Except for Alaska, a period of time that begins 30 minutes before official sunrise and ends at official sunrise;

(2) Except for Alaska, a period of time that begins at official sunset and ends 30 minutes after official sunset; and

(3) In Alaska, the period of civil twilight as defined in the Air Almanac.

All sorts of jobs need night waivers:

  • Search and rescue at night
  • Inspecting roofs using a FLIR camera to spot water damage
  • Firefighting or law enforcement at night
  • Aerial cinematography
  • Sport or event filming
  • Security
  • Wildlife monitoring/filming

pilotheadshot

If you are needing help in obtaining a night waiver, please contact Rupprecht Law, P.A. today.

In selecting an aviation attorney to help your company, it is important to look at their background to see if they have any aviation experience. Don’t hire a poser, hire an aviation attorney who is also a commercial pilot. Jonathan is a commercial pilot and current flight instructor, has co-authored an American Bar Association legal treatise on unmanned aircraft law, co-authored a book on UAS flight instructing soon to be published by the ASA, has helped over 100 individuals or companies with drone law, and received a 100% on his Part 107 initial knowledge exam which he took to validate the principles he taught in his FREE Part 107 study guide.


Free Part 107 Test Study Guide For FAA Remote Pilot Airmen Certificate

FAA-Part-107-study-guideI created this free Part 107 test study guide to help my clients and the drone community based upon my experience as a FAA certificated flight instructor and aviation attorney.

 

The FAA compiled a list of many references in the final airmen certification standards for the remote pilot knowledge exam and FAA created study guide.

 

Unfortunately, they did NOT include everything you need or would find helpful. Below I have included the material the FAA suggested you study along with extra items that the FAA should have included, which are in the bold text, that I added.

 

I want to emphasize, after you pass your test, you should be looking for quality mentorship for the long term. Being a professional is not just about passing a test. If you are looking to be mediocre, I suggest you go to another industry and do us all a favor. It should be about learning the material AND how to apply it properly in practice. Passing the Part 107 exam is merely the key unlocking the door to begin your journey into aviation, Passing the Part 107 exam is merely the key unlocking the door to begin your journey into aviation, not a certificate saying you have arrived. To reemphasize, once you pass your test, go find a competent flight instructor who can help you apply the knowledge you will learn to real life situations so you can be profitable, legal, and safe.

 

Update: I wrote an article on the Part 107 statistics (pass/fails, applications filed, applications approved, etc.)

 

I find it interesting the FAA did not note anything about Part 830 (except for one small reference in a PLT code) or the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS). Both of those programs are focused on safety while the FAA’s accident reporting requirement in Part 107 is focused on safety and enforcement.  A pilot needs to know both of these programs. I find it also interesting the FAA didn’t mention anything about the NASA ASRS which is there for the pilot’s benefit, not the FAA’s, regarding enforcement actions.  Let that sink in for a second. This shows the importance of why you need to have a good aviation attorney in your corner to look after you, as the FAA won’t. Read What Do I Do After I Crash My Drone?

 

Disclaimer:  You aren’t guaranteed to pass the test based off this material.

The total number of regulations and pages is large. I chopped it up into what pieces of material you should know in entirety and what you should pick pieces and parts of based upon the ACS and other pieces of FAA material.

 

The total test will be 60 questions and you will have 2 hours to complete it. The minimum passing score is 70% which is a maximum of 18 questions wrong or a minimum of 42 questions right.

 

If there are any errors or broken links in here, for the greater good of everyone studying, contact me so I can correct it.

 


Game Plan:

Step 1. Read all the steps.

 

Part-107-study-guide-summaryStep 2. Sign up for the test. Instructions on signing up for the test getting your pilot license is here. You should pick a date based upon how much time you have in relation to how much material you need to go through. You are looking at around 300-350 pages of material you need to read.

 

Step 3. Learn about the Airmen Certification Standards (ACS) and read over the Part 107 ACS.

 

Step 4. Start studying the material below. Note: I have 5 “cram” summary pages (like what you see on the right and up above), the regulations you need to study for the exam, 41 Part 107 sample test questions answered and explained, and the text of this article with hyperlinks in a 100+ page PDF you can download to study offline!  The cram summary pages are only available in the PDF. Everything else is below. I did not incorporate all the FAA PDFs into this PDF as I anticipate they will be updated over time so ALL the FAA material is hyperlinked, but the 100 + pages of regulations are included.

 

Step 5. Once you are done or feel competent. Take the test of 40 sample questions. For your deficient areas, go over those particular areas in the ACS. All 40 questions are answered and explained here.

 

Step 6. In the final stretch of time, study Area II and Area V from the ACS since both of those areas will make up 50-70% of the test. Make sure you read and re-read the FAA Part 107 test study guide. Additionally, to start getting familiar with searching around for material, I would suggest trying to answer as many of the questions I created in More Part 107 Test Questions for Remote Pilot Knowledge Test. They are designed to be extremely super hard to force you to start becoming familiar with researching how to find answers. In the process of answering these hard questions, you’ll also be studying for the test!

FREE Drone Pilot License Study Guide!

  • 100 + pages.
  • 41 FAA practice questions with answers.
  • 24 exclusive sample questions.
  • 6 "cram" pages.

"I just want to say THANK YOU for creating your site and explaining the 40 Sample Questions. I just took the remote pilot exam on 2/28/2017 and passed it with 93%!" -Peter

"[U]sed your Part 107 study guide extensively. Proud to say that I passed with 88% on August 31st[.]" -David

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Part 107 Remote Pilot Test Taking Tips:

A bunch of the questions on your test will be answered right by the legend in the supplement. You CAN refer to this while in the test. Make sure the test proctor gives you the correct one that is up to date prior to going into the test. I heard of one horror story where the person had an old one so the questions didn’t match up. Make sure you have a current one!

 

 

Go with the “spirit of the question,” not the letter of the question. Try and figure out what the FAA is trying to test you on. Remember that these questions were most likely created very hastily and do not make perfect sense. When I took the test, I remember a few questions that looked like they were written by someone who was up at 2AM trying to crank out tons of questions. If you are stumped, then ask yourself, “What is the guy up at 2AM in the morning trying to test me on?”

 

Always keep in mind how the answers can answer OTHER questions. If you don’t know the answer, or eliminate the wrong ones, keep moving on. Sometimes the questions and answers further down will provide you the answers to the one you are having trouble with. When I took the test, I noticed that there were two questions that were very similar in topic. One of the questions had two really dumb answers which basically gave away the correct answer. If you knew nothing about the topic, just using common sense to eliminate the two bad answer, you could have used the correct answer to answer the first question.

 

Brain dump everything immediately onto your scrap paper when you start the test. You want to write down everything you think you will forget on the scrap piece of paper. Just dump it all out and any pictures and diagrams you have up in your head.

 

Try and answer the question BEFORE you read the answers so you don’t get tricked. The FAA likes to create answers where one is a slight “one-off” from the correct answer. By reading the answers, you can introduce doubt. For example, Federal Aviation Administration or Federal Aviation Agency? Which is it? They both seem like good answers.  Is it MSL or AGL?

 

Eliminate the wrong answers. You don’t have to find the correct answer, just the wrong ones.

 

Read the test question AND answers carefully. I cannot over emphasize this.

 

Sleep and eat well. I would just sleep 8-10 hours. Take the test around 10AM-12PM. This way you aren’t rushed and can miss rush hour traffic as you drive there. When I was in law school (3-4hour exams) and taking the Florida bar exam (2 full 8 hour days), I had to make sure my body wouldn’t go out on me. I would eat very greasy foods right before I would go in so I wouldn’t be hungry while I would take a Kombucha vitamin B shot right. Check with your doctor to make sure this is ok with you. The vitamin B would start metabolizing by the time I took the test or started answering questions.

 

Tips For While You Are Studying

You will be able to take the test with the Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement for Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, and Private Pilot which is a great resource. There are two reasons why you should look over this supplement and know what is in it: (1) there are helpful legends which will be great for answering sectional map questions and (2) many questions on the test will reference some of the figures in this supplement. At the end of your studying you should skim through and ask yourself questions based upon the numbered areas on the sectional charts.

 

See a term you don’t know in the ACS? Look it up in the glossary of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK) to see what the term means in a short statement. Want to learn more about the term in the ACS? Look up the term in the index of the PHAK and/or Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) which will tell you where to find more information.

 

Hit ctrl + f and type in the word to search through the PDF rapidly.

 

All of the study material below is free.

 

Reference

Title

Read Entirely

14 CFR Part 45 (Subpart A & C)Identification and Registration Marking
14 CFR part 47Aircraft Registration
14 CFR part 48Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
14 CFR part 71Designation of Class A, B, C, D and E Airspace Areas; Air Traffic Service Routes; and Reporting Points
14 CFR part 73 [this should have been in there]SPECIAL USE AIRSPACE (Restricted and Prohibited Airspace).
14 CFR Part 91 Sections Referenced in Part 107.Sections:

·       91.17 Alcohol or Drugs

·       91.19 Carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances.

·       91.137 Temporary flight restrictions in the vicinity of disaster/hazard areas.

·       91.138 Temporary flight restrictions in national disaster areas in the State of Hawaii.

·       91.139 Emergency air traffic rules.

·       91.141 Flight restrictions in the proximity of the Presidential and other parties.

·       91.143 Flight limitation in the proximity of space flight operations.

·       91.144   Temporary restriction on flight operations during abnormally high barometric pressure conditions.

·       91.145 Management of aircraft operations in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations and major sporting events.

·       91.203(a)(2) Civil aircraft: Certifications required.

14 CFR 99.7§99.7 Special security instructions.
14 CFR Part 101 Subpart ESubpart E—Special Rule for Model Aircraft
14 CFR Part 107Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
49 CFR Part 830Notification And Reporting Of Aircraft Accidents Or Incidents And Overdue Aircraft, And Preservation Of Aircraft Wreckage, Mail, Cargo, And Records
SAFO 15010 (2 Pages)Carriage of Spare Lithium Batteries in Carry-on and Checked Baggage
SAFO 10015 (1 Page and 23 minute video)Flying in the wire environment
SAFO 10017 (3 Pages)Risks in Transporting Lithium Batteries in Cargo by Aircraft
SAFO 09013 (1 Page and a 10.5 minute Video)Fighting Fires Caused By Lithium Type Batteries in Portable Electronic Devices
AC 150/5200-32 (11 Pages)Reporting Wildlife Aircraft Strikes
AC 107-2  (53 Pages)Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)
FAA-S-ACS-10 (33 Pages)Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards
FAA-G-8082-22 (87 Pages)Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide
FAA-G-8082-20 (17 Pages)Remote Pilot Knowledge Test Guide
Articles I wrote that will help you understand some of the areas you need to know for the test. (12 webpages total)
·       Part 107 (ACS) Airmen Certification Standards Explained (2 pages)

·       Part 107 Knowledge Test (41 Questions Answered & Explained) (4 pages)

·       TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) (1 page)

·       What Type of Criminal Punishment (Prison Time) or Fines can Result for a TFR Violation? (1 page)

·       8 Different TFRs – Flight Restrictions for Good Reason (1 page)

·       FAA Part 107 Waiver (COA) – What Drone Pilots Need to Know (1 page)

·       What Do I Do After I Crash My Drone? (1 page)

·       How to Fly Your Drone at Night-(Part 107 Night Waiver from 107.29) (1 page).

More Part 107 Test Questions for Remote Pilot Knowledge Test

Things you should NOT Read in Entirety but ONLY the relevant sections I list or ctrl +f the term in the document for the relevant sections. (The AC00-06, AIM, RMH, PHAK points came from the Knowledge Test Guide Pages 12-16)
Aeronautical Chart User’s GuideAeronautical Chart User’s Guide (12th Edition)

·       Pages 1-36

AC 00-6  (200 Pages)Aviation Weather

·       Thunderstorms

·       Winds / Currents

·       Density Altitude

·       Effects – Temperature

·       Effects – Frost Formation

·       Effects – Air Masses and Fronts

AC 00-45 – Aviation Weather ServicesAviation Weather Services

·       Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAF)

·       Thunderstorms

AIMAeronautical Information Manual

·       General Airspace

·       Authorization for Certain Airspace

·       Airport Operations Aeronautical Charts

·       Radio Communications – Non-towered

·       Radio Communications – Towered

·       Traffic Patterns

·       Traffic Advisory Services

·       Phonetic Alphabet

·       Scanning / See and Avoid

·       NOTAMs

·       Temporary Flight Restrictions

·       Hyperventilation

·       MOA

·       Sources – Weather Briefings / Sources

·       Prescription and OTC Medications

FAA-H-8083-2Risk Management Handbook

·       Situational Awareness

FAA-H-8083-25Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

·       Loading/Performance –  Balance, Stability, Center of Gravity

·       Aeronautical Decision Making – Crew Resource Management

·       Aviation Routine Weather Reports (METAR)

·       Military Training Routes

·       Other Airspace Areas

·       Reading a Chart

·       Aeronautical Charts

·       Informational Sources

·       Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAF)

·       Hazardous Attitude

·       Crew Resource Management

·       Situational Awareness

·       Effective Scanning

·       Drugs and Alcohol

·       Effects – Atmospheric Stability and Pressure

·       Effects – Temperature

·       Weather Briefings / Sources

·       Prescription and OTC Medications

FAA-CT-8080-2GAirman Knowledge Testing Supplement for Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, and Private Pilot

·       Know how to use the two legends. Pages 1-19. This supplement will be provided to you when you take the test. If they do not, ask for it. Read Page 7 of this FAA document for proof.

·       Know all the terms in Figure 1. (Look these terms up in the PHAK)

·       Figure 2 – Know how to use.

·       Figure 12- Decode these and study them. You should know how to read these for the real world, not just memorize these so you can pass the test.

·       Figure 13 – You should read over this and know what information is important for you as a drone pilot and what is not.

·       Figure 15 – This is important to know so you can plan operations.

·       Figure 55 – Picture 3 and 7.  This is how pilots dance at parties. After the party, if you ever have a flag and you need to hide it so it doesn’t get stolen at an airport, a great place to hide it is under the tail of an airplane. See Picture 4.

·       Study Figure 20-26, 59, 69-71, 74-76, 78, 80

·       Decode 31, 52, 63, 77, 79, 81,

 

This is Part of a Part 107 Series of Articles.


Part 107 Draft ACS Updated!

What Changed Between the Draft and Final Version of the 107 ACS?

The FAA released a draft Airmen Certification Standards [“ACS”] around the time Part 107 was released. Read why the ACS is important. It was updated and a final version was published.

Two of the most significant changes below are the percentages of certain test subjects were INCREASED. If you are studying for the exam, it is extremely important to know what was changed so you can properly allocate your time.

Many created study courses, guides, material, etc. to help individuals study for the Part 107 exam, but I’m not sure how many of them knew that the ACS was updated and the 40 sample question released were based upon the outdated DRAFT ACS so buyer beware.  ALL of my material was based upon ONLY the final ACS version, including the 41 sample questions which I answered and explained.

Keep in mind there were many small edits for continuity or fixing errors, but they didn’t matter. The same message was still conveyed. (One funny one was Appendix 5 which defined CFI as Chief Flight Engineer.)

In this article, I’m focusing on only the substantive changes. That ones that matter.

If you are also wanting to know why the ACS mentions AC 107-2 and not AC 107-1, it is because Part 107 was originally used a long time ago for airport security but this safety function was transferred from the FAA to the TSA. The old AC 107-1 was referring to the airport security Part 107 so 107-2 was used in the ACS to prevent confusion if you looked up “AC 107” which was what was listed in the draft ACS.

 

 

LOCATION

NEW

OLD

I. Regulations References14 CFR parts 47, 48 and 107, subpart B; AC 107-214 CFR part 107, subpart A; AC 107
I. Regulations

Objective (Add)

To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable of the operating rules of 14 CFR part 107, the registration rules of 14 CFR parts 47 and 48, and other associated operating requirements.To determine that the applicant exhibits competence in knowledge and risk management associated with the general regulatory requirements of 14 CFR part 107.
UA.I.B.K6 (Split)6. Hazardous operations.

a. Careless or reckless

b. Dropping an object

6. Hazardous operations, such as careless or reckless behavior or allowing an object to be dropped.
UA.I.B.K21 (Split)21. Operating limitations for sUAS.

a. Maximum groundspeed

b. Altitude limitations

c. Minimum visibility

d. Cloud clearance requirements

21. Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft.
UA.I.B.K22 (Complete change)22. The requirements for a Remote Pilot Certificate with an sUAS rating.22. Model aircraft operations status.
UA.I.B.K23 (Delete)23. Flights defined as public aircraft operations.
UA.I.B.K24 (Delete)24. Requirements for a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.
UA.I.D.K1 (Subtraction)1. The waiver policy and requirements.1. The waiver policy and the understanding of the regulatory subject matter, equivalent level of safety requirement, and special provisions in a waiver.
II. Airspace Classification and Operating Requirements

References (Add)

14 CFR part 71; AC 107-2; FAA-H-8083-25; AIM [NOTE: I believe the FAA should have also included 14 CFR Part 73 in here as well]AC 107; FAA-H-8083-25; AIM
UA.II.B.K2ATC authorizations and related operating limitations.Concepts relating to ATC clearances and permissions.
UA.II.B.K3 3.(They merely deleted “maximum altitude limit” from the draft and everything moved up.)Maximum altitude limit.
UA.II.B.K5The NOTAM system including how to obtain an established NOTAM through Flight Service.(this moved up to K4).
UA.II.B.K6 (Deleted)It looks like this was combined into UA.II.B.K56. Temporary flight restrictions (TFR) airspace.
UA.II.B.K7 (Deleted)It looks like this was combined into UA.II.B.K57. Notice to airmen (NOTAMS) system including how to obtain an established NOTAM through Flight Service.
UA.V.A.K8 (Subtraction)

 

Phraseology: altitudes, directions, speed, and time.Phraseology: figures, altitudes, directions, speed, and time.
V. Operations

Task B. Airport Operations

References (Addition)

AC 107-2, AC 150/5200-32; FAA-H-8083-25; AIMAC 107; AIM
V. Operations

Task D. Aeronautical Decision-Making (Subtraction)

AC 107-2; FAA-H-8083-2; FAA-H-8083-25AC 107; FAA-H-8083-25; AC 60-22
UA.V.F.K5 (Addition)5. Persons that may perform maintenance on an sUAS.
Appendix 1 (Add)The knowledge test applicant has up to two hours to complete the test.
Appendix 1 Table (Change)II. Airspace & Requirements

15 – 25%

II. Airspace & Requirements

8- 15%

(Change)V. Operations

35 – 45%

V. Operations

13-18%

Appendix 4 (Add)Part 47
DeleteAC 60-22 (Aeronautical Decision Making)
DeleteAC 91-57 (Model Aircraft Operating Standards)
AddFAA-H-8083-2 (Risk Management Handbook)
Appendix 5 (Abbreviations and Acronyms)  (Delete)AAS (Airport Advisory Services)
AddACR (Airman Certification Representative)
AddAKTC (Airman Knowledge Testing Center)
AddATC (Air Traffic Control)
ChangeCFI (Certified Flight Instructor)CFI

(Certified Flight Engineer)

DeleteDPE (Designated Pilot Examiner)
AddDOT (Department of Transportation)
AddFTN (FAA Tracking Number)
DeleteGCS (Ground Control Station)
AddIACRA (Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Applicant)
DeleteIFO (International Field Office)
DeleteIFU (International Field Unit)
DeleteMOA (Military Operating Area)
AddODA (Organization Designation Authorization)
AddRPE (Remote Pilot Examiner)
ChangeUNICOM (Aeronautical Advisory Communications Stations)UNICOM (Universal Integrated Community)
DeleteUTC (Coordinated Universal Time)
DeleteVMC (Visual Meteorological Conditions)
AddVLOS (Visual Line of Sight)

FREE Drone Pilot License Study Guide!

  • 100 + pages.
  • 41 FAA practice questions with answers.
  • 24 exclusive sample questions.
  • 6 "cram" pages.

"I just want to say THANK YOU for creating your site and explaining the 40 Sample Questions. I just took the remote pilot exam on 2/28/2017 and passed it with 93%!" -Peter

"[U]sed your Part 107 study guide extensively. Proud to say that I passed with 88% on August 31st[.]" -David

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The FAA Part 107 ACS also included a helpful table.

 

AC 107-2 sUAS

Part 61 Pilot Certificate Holders with a Current Flight Review

Online Application After Knowledge Test [1] 

Paper Application [2] After Knowledge Test [1]

Online Application After Online CoursePaper Application [2] After Online Course
Submit an online application using Integrated Airman Certification and/or Rating Application (IACRA.)

 

Receive email notification to print and sign a temporary certificate through IACRA.

 

Receive a permanent certificate by mail.

Complete FAA Form 8710-13 and mail it with the original copy of your Knowledge Test Report to:

 

DOT/FAA Airmen Certification Branch, AFS-760 PO Box 25082 Oklahoma City, OK 73125

 

Do not receive a temporary certificate

Receive a permanent certificate by mail.

Submit an online application using IACRA.

Meet with an FAA-authorized individual [3] to validate your:

• IACRA application ID number

• FAA Tracking Number (FTN)

• Identification

• Online course completion certificate

• Pilot certificate

• Flight review documentation

Receive a temporary certificate in person (or if meeting with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), receive email notification to print and sign a temporary certificate through IACRA) [4].

Receive a permanent certificate by mail.

Complete FAA Form 8710-13.

Meet with an FAA-authorized individual [3] to validate your:

• FAA Form 8710-13

• Identification

• Online course completion certificate

• Pilot certificate

• Flight review documentation

Receive a temporary certificate in person (except when meeting with a CFI)[4]

Receive a permanent certificate by mail.

 

Continue to the 41 Part 107 Sample Test Questions and Answers………….


Part 107 (ACS) Airmen Certification Standards Explained

Tape measureWhen Part 107 was released, a flurry of other documents and website material came out also. Everyone skimmed through but did not take the time to really study things carefully. The FAA released a draft version of the Part 107 (ACS) Airmen Certification Standards for remote pilots. The ACS is really a standard by which to measure if you are qualified.

Did you know that the ACS draft version and the final version differ significantly in certain places? Two of the most significant changes were the percentages of certain test subjects were INCREASED. Keep reading to find out. Everyone went out and started studying or developing courses based upon it, but I don’t think anyone paid attention to the little things. This ACS, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards, is what you are going to need to know going forward to study. If it is not in the ACS, then it isn’t on the test.

UPDATED: I created free 100+ page Part 107 test study guide. The study guide has the material the FAA suggested you study, but I added essential material they left out. It also include 5 “cram” summary pages of test material. It also comes with 41 sample Part 107 exam questions that are answered and explained.

What is the Part 107 ACS?

It is a “comprehensive presentation that integrates the standards for what an applicant needs to know, consider, and do in order to pass both the knowledge test . . . for a certificate or rating.”

The FAA released a pdf of FAQ’s on ACS in general.

How do I use the ACS to study for the Part 107 exam?

The sUAS ACS includes Areas of Operation and Tasks for the initial issuance of a Remote Pilot Certificate with an sUAS rating. You should study to know the material listed. Each task in the ACS is coded according to a scheme that includes four elements. For example:

UA.I.B.K10:
UA = Applicable ACS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems)
I = Area of Operation (Regulations)
B = Task (Operating Rules)
K10 = Task element Knowledge 10 (Visual line of sight (VLOS) aircraft operations)

I’m a Part 61 pilot. What about those Practical Test Standards (PTS)?

“The ACS is basically an enhanced version of the Practical Test Standards (PTS).” If you are a manned aircraft pilot, you most likely remember the PTS. The ACS will replace the PTS, but since this Part 107 exam is brand new, their is no remote pilot PTS. It is just a brand new remote pilot ACS. Unfortunately, if you are taking a knowledge exam, the areas you missed on the exam will be displayed on a print out as a learning statement code (LSC ), not an ACS code. “The [FAA] is contracting for a test management services system that will include this capability. In the initial ACS implementation phase, however, applicants, instructors, and evaluators will continue to see PLT codes on the airman knowledge test report.”

Is there a video explaining the ACS?

Here is a video explaining the ACS as it is being implemented generally. This isn’t a Part 107 specific video but is helpful to understanding more about the ACS.

 

So what significantly changed between the draft and final version?

 

Continue to the next page…………….

 


8 Different TFRs – Flight Restrictions for Good Reason

Let’s get into WHY the different TFRs are issued so you can understand where they can be located. The different TFRs can be somewhat clumped into 4 groups: disasters, special events, special people, or other. Keep in mind this is just a quick way to conceptualize things because there are exceptions. There are times where certain regulations are used as justification for a TFR around odd things to “get the job done.”  For example, 99.7 is used to issue TFRs around the Pope and also as the justification for an FDC notam restricting speeds to 180 knots indicated airspace around the DC VOR. Another is where 91.137 (TFR in vicinity of a disaster) is issued prior to planned mine blasting. Sometimes 99.7 security TFR’s are done on top of sporting events.

Disasters:


fire-fighting-smallSection 91.137
, Temporary Flight Restrictions in the Vicinity of Disaster/Hazard Areas 

There are three subsections to this section. If you are wanting to operate in a TFR, it important to know which regulation was cited because each has different restrictions on who can operate in that type of TFR. Examples of these disasters would be: toxic gas leaks or spills; fumes from flammable agents which, if fanned by rotor or propeller wash could endanger persons or property on the surface, or if entered by an aircraft could endanger persons or property in the air; volcanic eruptions that could endanger airborne aircraft and occupants; nuclear accident or incident; hijackings; wildfire suppression; and aircraft relief activities following a disaster (e.g., earthquake, tidal wave, flood, hurricane, etc.).

 

Section 91.138, Temporary Flight Restrictions in National Disaster Areas in the State of Hawaii.

TFRs issued under section 91.138 address a determination that an inhabited area within a declared national disaster area in the State of Hawaii needs protection for humanitarian reasons.

Pro Tip: It is easy to tell these two types of TFRs apart because one smells like coconuts. Another tip is you could look for a fire-fighter in a hula skirt.

 

Special Events:

Section 91.145, Management of Aircraft Operations in the Vicinity of Aerial Demonstrations and Major Sporting Events. Major Sporting events – Congress mandated flight restrictions over specific major sporting events through Public Law 108-7 as amended by Public Law 108-199. These events are: Major League Baseball, National Football League, NCAA Division One Football games, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Indy Car, and Champ Series races. FAA has issued a standing NOTAM detailing the restrictions and conditions that apply to those events. For sporting events not covered by the Congressional mandate, the FAA will consider requests submitted based on the criteria listed in 14 CFR 91.145(b).baseball-stadium-tfr-small

four airplanes in formation on airshow

Section 91.145(a) says:

These demonstrations and events may include:

(1) United States Naval Flight Demonstration Team (Blue Angels);

(2) United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron (Thunderbirds);

(3) United States Army Parachute Team (Golden Knights);

(4) Summer/Winter Olympic Games;

(5) Annual Tournament of Roses Football Game;

(6) World Cup Soccer;

(7) Major League Baseball All-Star Game;

(8) World Series;

(9) Kodak Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta;

(10) Sandia Classic Hang Gliding Competition;

(11) Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. 

Keep in mind that FDC NOTAM 4/3621  issued under 99.7 is applicable to a “3NM [radius] up to and 3000ft AGL of any stadium having a seating capacity of 30,000 or more people where either a regular or post season Major League Baseball, National Football League, or NCAA division one football game is occurring. This NOTAM also applies to Nascar Sprint Cup, Indy Car, and Champ Series races excluding qualifying and pre-race events.”

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Special People:

 

presidential-TFRSection 91.141, Flight Restrictions in the Proximity of the Presidential and Other Parties. TFRs issued under section 91.141 address security with respect to airspace over presidential and other parties. Specifically, no person may operate an aircraft over or in the vicinity of any area to be visited or traveled by the President, the Vice President, or other public figures contrary to the restrictions established by the FAA and published in a NOTAM.

Section 99.7, Special Security Instructions. The FAA, in consultation with the Department of Defense, or other Federal security/intelligence agencies may issue special security instructions to address situations determined to be detrimental to the interests of national defense.  This TFR is also used for special foreign dignitaries such as the Queen or the Pope. It is also used to augment restrictions near major events under FDC NOTAM 4/3621. (Mentioned above).

Other:

Section 91.139, Emergency Air Traffic Rules.  This TFR is issued if the Administrator determines that an emergency condition exists, or will exist, relating to the FAA’s ability to operate the air traffic control system and during which normal flight operations cannot be conducted consistent with the required levels of safety and efficiency. The Administrator issues an immediately effective air traffic rule or regulation in response to that emergency condition. In other words, September 11th.  “It was no error for the Administrator to conclude on the morning of September 11th that the terrorists’ attacks and possible unknown attacks to come might pose such a condition.” Blakey v. Somerville, EA-5086, NTSB (March 31, 2004). See also SCANTANA.

 

space-shuttle-tfr


Section 91.143
, Flight Limitation in the Proximity of Space Flight Operations. These are typically in Florida, New Mexico, and California. TFRs issued under section 91.143 are used to
segregate nonparticipating aircraft from space flight operations to prevent collision. Specifically, no person may operate an aircraft of U.S. registry, or pilot an aircraft under the authority of an airman certificate issued by the FAA within areas designated in a NOTAM for space flight operations except when authorized by ATC, or the proponent for the flight operation.  TFRs issued under section 91.143 may be issued for Class 2 high-power rockets and Class 3 advanced high-power rockets. These rockets can, very quickly, fly high into the airspace and have the potential to significantly interfere with air traffic. These TFRs cannot be issued for Class 1 amateur rockets because they cannot affect air traffic when operated in accordance with FAA regulations. Sometimes a 99.7 TFR was put around a Space Shuttle launch.

pilotheadshot

Section 91.144, Abnormally High Barometric Pressure Conditions. The aneroid barometers in aircraft can only work in certain conditions.

If you flew into a TFR or need a waiver to operate within a TFR (i.e., sport event filming), contact me. 

I hope these articles have helped you understand more about TFRs so you can pass your knowledge exams and fly safely and competently in the national airspace. In the unfortunate situation that you violate a TFR, it is extremely important to work with a competent aviation attorney for help to present the best defense. Contact Rupprecht Law, P.A. today if you are needing help.

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FAA TFR Violation Punishments

What Type of Criminal Punishment (Prison Time) or Fines can Result for a TFR Violation?

FAA-temporary-flight-restrictions-.punishment-fines-jail

Depending on the type of TFR, you can get punished in three different ways for a TFR violation: (1) you can be criminally punished up to a maximum of 1 year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine, (2) you can have your pilot license suspended or revoked, and/or (3) receive a civil penalty by itself or on-top of the $100,000 fine.
Sometimes you can get charged with multiple violations for one flight. For example, a pilot operating under Part 91 can be charged with violating 14 CFR 91.103 which requires him to conduct a pre-flight check of all available information before a flight.  Likewise, the remote pilot of a drone would be required by 107.49 to be familiar with the airspace prior to flight.

 

The Part 61 pilot in this case got charged with a violation of 91.103 & 91.137 for the same flight by the FAA. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Why? There were only two options: either he did NOT check for TFRs (a violation of the FARs) or he did check and intentionally went into the TFR (a violation of federal criminal code).

 

Drone law violations

I wrote a lengthy article on the 23 drone operators the FAA has been prosecuting and showed that out of the 23 operators, some of them were cited with multiple violations of the Federal Aviation Regulations for the same flight.

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"[U]sed your Part 107 study guide extensively. Proud to say that I passed with 88% on August 31st[.]" -David

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Criminal Punishment: Federal prison for up to a Year and/or a $100,000 fine for a violation of a security related TFR.

If you knowingly or willfully violate a TFR, you can have some serious consequences. In 49 U.S.C.  § 40103(b)(3), the U.S. Congress gave the FAA the ability to:

“(3) To establish security provisions that will encourage and allow maximum use of the navigable air-space by civil aircraft consistent with national security, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secre-tary of Defense, shall—
(A) establish areas in the airspace the Administrator decides are necessary in the interest of national defense; and
(B) by regulation or order, restrict or prohibit flight of civil aircraft that the Administrator cannot identify, locate, and control with available facilities in those areas.”

A person that knowingly or willfully violates section 40103(b)(3) of this title or a regulation prescribed or order issued under section 40103(b)(3) shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.” 49 U.S.C. § 46307.

Intentionally flying into a security related TFR is nothing to mess around with. Doug Hughes flew a gyrocopter onto the US Capitol lawn (a permanent security flight restriction) and he was indicted and prosecuted by the Department of Justice. One of the charges listed § 43607 and § 40103(b)(3). Read the Douglas Hughes indictment. He later pleaded guilty to one of the multiple charges and was sentenced to federal prison for 120 days.

How much of a criminal fine can result from a security related TFR violation?

To know how much a defendant can be fined for a security related TFR, we need to figure out what type of crime had been committed. A security related TFR violation is a Class A misdemeanor because § 46307 says the defendant can not be “imprisoned for not more than one year” and 18 U.S.C.  § 3559 says:

“(a)CLASSIFICATION.—An offense that is not specifically classified by a letter grade in the section defining it, is classified if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is— [. . .]

(6) one year or less but more than six months, as a Class A misdemeanor;”

A Class A misdemeanor can be punished according to 18 U.S.C. § 3571  which says:

(a)IN GENERAL.—A defendant who has been found guilty of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine.
(b)FINES FOR INDIVIDUALS.—Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, an individual who has been found guilty of an offense may be fined not more than the greatest of—[. . .]

(4) for a misdemeanor resulting in death, not more than $250,000;
(5) for a Class A misdemeanor that does not result in death, not more than $100,000; [. . . ]

FAA Pilot Certificate Suspension or Revocation

For an accidental flight or intentional flight, you can be receiving a FAA order suspending or revoking your Part 61 pilot certificate or your Part 107 remote pilot certificate. The FAA order directed to FAA enforcement teams recommends a “30- to 90-day suspension” for a simple TFR violation. Keep in mind that if you did a bunch of other violations, these numbers will be higher or you’ll be getting a certificate revocation.

FAA Civil Penalty

The pilot license suspension or revocation will be the normal method of punishment, but with more and more drone pilots operating without an airmen certificate, the FAA will have to resort to a civil penalty since there is no airmen certificate to suspend or revoke. Additionally, the FAA has said, “For a deliberate, egregious violation by a certificate holder, regardless of whether the certificate holder is exercising the privileges of the certificate in connection with the violations associated with a UAS operation, certificate action, may be appropriate. Such certificate action may be in addition to a civil penalty.”

49 U.S.C. § 46301(a)(1) provides that “a person is liable to the United States for a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 (or $1,100 if the person is an individual or small business concern) for violating” the TFR. Remember that you can get hit with $1,100 PER regulation violation.

Next Page: What are the differences between the 8 TFRs?  Why are some issued?


TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction)

TFR-drone-temporary-flight-restrictionA Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is nothing to play around with. Violations of TFRs can be punished quite severely with a pilot license suspension, civil penalty, or in the worst case: prison time. The FAA has been pursuing enforcement actions against manned and unmanned pilots around the U.S. for TFR violations. In this series of TFR articles, I will help you understand more about each of the TFRs, and give you pro tips based upon my flight instructing experience, so you can pass a knowledge exam and fly safely and confidently.  Also, if you want to create a TFR, get a waiver to fly into a TFR (i.e., sport event filming), or if you accidentally flew in a TFR unauthorized and potentially will be prosecuted by the FAA, contact me.

 

What is a TFR?

The FAA defines a TFR as “a regulatory action issued via the U.S. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) system to restrict certain aircraft from operating within a defined area, on a temporary basis, to protect persons or property in the air or on the ground.” There are different types of TFRs and they are listed out in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). The regulations for TFRs are located in Part 91 and Part 99 which govern manned aircraft operations. For remote pilots, Part 107.47 requires them to comply with all the TFRs located in Part 91 and 99 as well.

How can I tell where a TFR is located?

A TFR is not located anywhere on a sectional chart and can literally temporarily “pop-up” quite quickly. A helpful website is tfr.faa.gov, where the TFR will be portrayed in a picture of an overlay of the TFR on a sectional chart and also described in textual format. The picture will tell you the dimensions while the text will tell you the precise dimensions, altitudes, and times. The dimensions of the TFR are going to be explained by reference to a fixed point. Much of the time, the fixed point is a VOR, but sometimes it can be a random set of coordinates on the map (especially when elected officials are campaigning or fundraising). It is incredibly important to check for TFRs before EVERY flight. You should not rely on a pre-flight briefer over at 1-800-wx-brief to catch the TFR or whether it affects you or not.

TFR-description

You should check tfr.faa.gov before EVERY flight. It breaks the TFRs down into states, chronologically on a list, graphically on a map, FAA ATC centers, and TFR types.

Pro Tip: Never trust the flight briefer. If you are close to a TFR, make sure you check.

 

Why should you never rely on the briefer?

President Obama came to Ft. Lauderdale when I was flight instructing and a TFR popped up. I called over to 1800WXBRIEF and requested a pre-flight briefing before the flight. The briefer told me about the TFR, but said that I was NOT within the TFR. I didn’t trust him so I checked online for the textual description and measured the TFR out. Guess what? I was right within the edge of the TFR and could not take off. The briefer got it wrong. When I was in the FBO, an airplane took off. In about a minute, the phone rang and the FBO manager answered. The manager talked shortly on the phone. He hung and up and turned to me and said, “That was the Secret Service trying to figure out who just took off.”

Who can go into a TFR?

TFRs are NOT always a complete ban on all types of flying. It just means only authorized individuals can fly in those areas. If you are interested in doing some commercial drone work around TFRs, you can contact me about getting those approvals and COAs.

Keep in mind that doing operations in a TFR can have benefits. One big benefit is for certain types of TFRs the airspace is segregated which means obtaining certain types of approvals could be easier.

How many different types of TFRs are there?

There are 8 different types of TFRs. Each has a different set of facts surrounding why they are issued and who can operate in them. Each of these different types of TFRs will be discussed.

  1. Section 91.137, Disaster/Hazard Areas Temporary Flight Restrictions;
  2. Section 91.138, National Disaster Areas in the State of Hawaii Temporary Flight Restrictions;
  3. Section 91.139, Emergency Air Traffic Rules;
  4. Section 91.141, Presidential and Other Parties Temporary Flight Restrictions;
  5. Section 91.143, Space Flight Operations Temporary Flight Restrictions;
  6. Section 91.144, Abnormally High Barometric Pressure Conditions;
  7. Section 91.145, Management of Aircraft Operations in the Vicinity of Aerial Demonstrations and Major Sporting Events; and
  8. Section 99.7, Special Security Instructions.

Next Page: What type of criminal punishment (prison time) or fines can happen if you fly into a TFR?

FREE Drone Pilot License Study Guide!

  • 100 + pages.
  • 41 FAA practice questions with answers.
  • 24 exclusive sample questions.
  • 6 "cram" pages.

"I just want to say THANK YOU for creating your site and explaining the 40 Sample Questions. I just took the remote pilot exam on 2/28/2017 and passed it with 93%!" -Peter

"[U]sed your Part 107 study guide extensively. Proud to say that I passed with 88% on August 31st[.]" -David

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