Commercial Drone Rules (Part 107)


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 (Updated 2017)

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 ~400 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.
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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.


FAA Form 8710-13 (Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate)

FIlled out FAA Form 8710-13

Most people will attempt to get their remote pilot certificate via the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (“IACRA”); however, that is NOT the only way. FAA form 8710-13 is the paper form you fill out instead of using IACRA when you are either (1) a current Part 61 certificated pilot who wants to pick up a temporary remote pilot certificate quickly or (2) you are a first time pilot and don’t want to do IACRA.

Why Is FAA Form 8710-13 Valuable?

It allows already existing, and current, Part 61 pilots to obtain their remote pilot certificate the same day as they apply for it at the local FSDO.  This is very valuable if you have a job that needs to be done ASAP. It will NOT allow new first-time pilots to obtain their remote pilot certificate that day. New pilots will have to pass a TSA background check.

This route is for current pilots meaning they have a biannual flight review in their logbook and took the online training exam (different than the initial knowledge exam). Non-current pilots will have to take the online training exam and get current with a BFR or have to pass an initial knowledge exam.

It is still unclear whether non-current Part 61 pilots who have passed the initial knowledge exam are also eligible to pick up their temporary remote pilot certificate in person using the 8710-13 in person at the FSDO instead of getting their biannual flight review. The FAA has said the non-current pilots with the initial knowledge exams can do the IACRA route, but I don’t know how long the turn around times on that will be.

Why Would A Non-Current Pilot Want To Do The Initial Knowledge Exam?

Yes, the Part 61 pilots have the option of doing the free online training course BUT they also need to be current. An initial knowledge exam costs $150. If doing your BFR will cost more than $150, it might be more beneficial to only do the initial knowledge exam route. For example, take a Cessna 152 running at $95/hr wet and an instructor at $40. For most people, they will need a minimum of 1 hour of ground and 1 hour of air time with that instructor. The cheapest it will be for most people is 2 hours of instructor at ($40) + ($95)= $175.

Why Don’t The Part 61 Pilots Have To Do A TSA Background Check?

“The FAA notes that after initial vetting, TSA conducts recurrent or daily vetting to ensure that certificate holders do not subsequently become a security threat. All FAA certificate holders are subject to this recurrent vetting, which serves to identify any certificate holder that may later become a security threat.”[1]

How Can A Current Part 61 Pilot Get His Remote Pilot Certificate?

  1. Complete the online training course “Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) ALC-451” available on the FAA FAASTeam website.
  2. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for a remote pilot certificate)
    1. Online at IACRA or print out a paper copy.
    2. Validate applicant identity on IACRA.
      • Contact a FSDO, a FAA-designated pilot examiner (DPE), an airman certification representative (ACR), or a FAA-certificated flight instructor (CFI) to make an appointment to validate your identity. I would suggest doing this with the FSDO because the inspector can give you a temporary certificate at the same time! Look up where your local FSDO is located and make an appointment. Note: FSDOs almost always do not take walk-ins.  You can also go to a DPE but I think it is better to meet your local FSDO employees because they are the ones that will be doing the investigations in your area.
      • Present the completed FAA Form 8710-13 along with the online course completion certificate or knowledge test report (as applicable) and proof of a current flight review.
      • The completed FAA Form 8710-13 application will be signed by the applicant after the FSDO, DPE, ACR, or CFI examines the applicant’s photo identification and verifies the applicant’s identity.
        • The identification presented must include a photograph of the applicant, the applicant’s signature, and the applicant’s actual residential address (if different from the mailing address). This information may be presented in more than one form of identification.
        • Acceptable methods of identification include, but are not limited to U.S. drivers’ licenses, government identification cards, passports, and military identification cards (see AC 61-65 Certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors)
    3. The FAA representative will then sign the application.
  1. An appropriate FSDO representative, a FAA designated pilot examiner (DPE), or an airman certification representative (ACR) will issue the applicant a temporary airman certificate (a CFI is not authorized to issue a temporary certificate. They can process applications for applicants who do not want a temporary certificate).
  2. A permanent remote pilot certificate will be sent via mail once all other FAA internal processing is complete.
  3. Start thinking about what types of waivers from Part 107 you will need so you can remain competitive and profitable since you are now up and running. Do you need a night waiver, certain types of airspace waivers, etc.?

FAA Form 8710-13 is located here.

This article is part of an overall Part 107 series of articles. Make sure you check the other articles out!

FREE Drone Pilot License Study Guide!

  • 100 + pages.
  • 41 FAA practice questions with answers.
  • 24 exclusive sample questions.
  • 6 "cram" pages.
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[1] Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, 81 Fed. Reg. 42063, 42181 (June 28, 2016).


Q & A about Section 333, Part 107, and Drone Law.

I was recently interviewed by Jeremiah from Commercial UAV News. The title of the article is Your FAA Regulation Questions Answered: Part 107, Section 333 and the Future of Drone Law.  I would highly suggest everyone take the time to read over this Q & A article.

 

Your FAA Regulation Questions Answered: Part 107, Section 333 and the Future of Drone Law


Part 107 Test Questions (41 Sample Questions Explained)

This article will discuss the 41 Part 107 test questions the FAA released. The 41 sample Part 107 knowledge test questions based upon my knowledge as a practicing aviation attorney and current FAA certificated flight instructor. I’m going to break the pages up into 10 questions a piece so as to decrease page load time.

One reason I did this page was to benefit my drone clients. Thank you guys for your business! 🙂

The FAA issued 40 sample questions to help individuals study for the Part 107 Knowledge Test. Later they issued a study guide which included 1 new question.

The Part 107 initial knowledge exam 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.

The information on the internet was based upon the draft airmen certification standards for the Part 107 knowledge test but the FAA updated it which INCREASED the overall amount tested in two areas.

The 40 sample questions document was updated, but there were no significant changes. Unfortunately, since the ACS was updated, certain ACS codes ARE WRONG and the FAA didn’t update those codes when they updated the sample questions. Also, I caught some errors made by the FAA. All of the material below is correct and is keyed to the final ACS codes.

I think the FAA will update the ACS sometime soon. The reason I say that is there are some principles that need to be taught that are not in the ACS such as the theory of flight.  Area IV, Task A has nothing talking about stalls but the original sample question 10 is keyed to this ACS code. Either provisions in the ACS will have to be added or questions not keyed to the ACS will have to be removed. Most likely, as the question bank gets created, the ACS will naturally have to be updated to add more areas.

How to use this page to study for the Part 107 Knowledge Test

  1. You should have already studied Part 107. If you have not, 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 the test material. It also comes with 41 sample Part 107 exam questions that are answered and explained.
  2. You should try to complete the FAA sample Part 107 knowledge test questions without looking below. The testing supplement is located here.
  3. Once you have completed those questions, you should come back and study the questions below. I will show you the correct answer and the wrong answers along with explanations.
  4. For the areas you are deficient, you should study the subject based upon the ACS code listed. Here is an article I did on the ACS.
  5. Once you feel you have mastered these questions, move on to Part 107 Test Questions for Remote Pilot Knowledge Test (my super insanely hard 22 questions page) which I created to help people really dig super deep.
  6. Sign up for my drone law newsletter to keep up to date on Part 107 by reading articles.If you sign up, you’ll receive a welcome email with a link to the PDF of the entire 41 questions!

FREE Drone Pilot License Study Guide!

  • 100 + pages.
  • 41 FAA practice questions with answers.
  • 24 exclusive sample questions.
  • 6 "cram" pages.
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This Article is Part of a Series of Part 107 Articles:

Sample FAA Part 107 Knowledge Test Questions:

The correct answer is bold and italicized. My comments are in the brackets.

 

Figure 21 of the Part 107 sample knowledge test questions

1 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 21.) What airport is located approximately 47 (degrees) 40 (minutes) N latitude and 101 (degrees) 26 (minutes) W longitude?

  1. Mercer County Regional Airport.  [This is definitely not even close. This airport is in the low minutes of 47 degrees North.)
    B. Semshenko Airport. [Ah yes, this is a close private airport. You can tell it is private because of the Pvt. Careful measurements will let you know that this is not the airport]
    C. Garrison Airport. [Let’s make this simple. Ladder sounds kind of like latitude. You climb the ladder going north. (Keep in mind it is north only if you are in the Northern Hemisphere) For minutes, just think of them as tick marks. There is a box with 30 tick marks in it, a line, and then another 30 tick marks. Total you get 60 minutes. For longitude, also called meridians, think of the Prime Meridians running through Greenwich, England. Why is this useful? To figure out if the coordinates of the potential job site are in airspace which requires a COA. I use coordinates all the time when I’m working with my clients to figure out if they need a COA or not. Can your attorney do that?]

UA.V.B.K6a Sources for airport data: Aeronautical charts.

 

Figure 26 of the Part 107 sample knowledge test questions

2 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 26.) What does the line of latitude at area 4 measure?

  1. The degrees of latitude east and west of the Prime Meridian. [This is partially true. It is correct to say degrees of latitude but incorrect to say west. Latitude goes north & south like you are climbing a latter.]
    B. The degrees of latitude north and south from the equator. [Like you are climbing a ladder going up or down. Just remember which hemisphere you are in. 99% of you guys aren’t going below the equator so it will be north most of the time.]
    C. The degrees of latitude east and west of the line that passes through Greenwich, England. [Just answer A repackaged.]

UA.V.B.K6a Sources for airport data: Aeronautical charts.

Figure 23 of the Part 107 sample knowledge test questions

3 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 23, area 3.) What is the floor of the Savannah Class C airspace at the shelf area (outer circle)?

  1. 1,300 feet AGL. [It is NEVER AGL. There is a lot that can be said here, but if you want to know more, study out barometers and the different types of altitude.]
    B. 1,300 feet MSL. [Remember the two zeros are chopped off. SFC means surface. Why is this important? Because you might need to do a job under the Class C shelf. If you don’t know this right off the top of your head, you are leaving money on the table. Remember that Class C operations require a waiver (COA). You need to be able to say quickly, “Yes, we can do that job” or “No, we can’t do that job and I’ll have to file a COA to fly in Class C airspace.” If you need help filing a COA in Class C, contact me.]
    C. 1,700 feet MSL.

UA.II.A.K1b General airspace: Class C controlled airspace.

Figure 59 of the Part 107 sample knowledge test questions

4 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 59, area 2.) The chart shows a gray line with “VR1667, VR1617, VR1638, and VR1668.” Could this area present a hazard to the operations of a small UA?

A. No, all operations will be above 400 feet.
B) Yes, this is a Military Training Route from the surface to 1,500 feet AGL. [Here is what the AIM says: “(a) MTRs with no segment above 1,500 feet AGL must be identified by four number characters; e.g., IR1206, VR1207. (b) MTRs that include one or more segments above 1,500 feet AGL must be identified by three number characters; e.g., IR206, VR207.” What does this mean? They can ALWAYS be flying in your airspace.]
C) Yes, the defined route provides traffic separation to manned aircraft.

UA.II.A.K2 Special use within airspace. (Prohibited, restricted, warning, military operations, alert, and controlled firing.)

Figure 23 of the Part 107 sample knowledge test questions

5 According to 14 CFR part 107 the remote pilot in command (PIC) of a small unmanned aircraft planning to operate within Class C airspace

A. must use a visual observer. [Nope. Only Part 107 FPV racers or 333 operators need a VO.]
B. is required to file a flight plan. [You don’t have to be on a flight plan to fly in Class C.]
C. is required to receive ATC authorization. [Bingo. Why? Because the FAA ATC wants to make sure you can fly in certain locations. Pro tip: Look at the runway of the Class C airport in Figure 23. The runways are North, South, East, and West. If you are flying in the “doughnut hole,” then you better know where the landing and departing traffic will be flying. Keep in mind that for some airports, especially at coastal airports, almost rarely use their northerly or southerly runways because the wind is almost always blowing east or west. You might be able to get a COA for those north or south areas of the airport easier. As always, if you need help getting one, contact me.]

UA.II.A.K1b General airspace: Class C controlled airspace.

Figure 21 of the Part 107 Devils lake MOA sample knowledge test questions

6 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 21.) You have been hired by a farmer to use your small UA to inspect his crops. The area that you are to survey is in the Devil`s Lake West MOA, east of area 2. How would you find out if the MOA is active?

Devils Lake MOA

A. Refer to the legend for special use airspace phone number. [Ok. This answer is wrong. You won’t be getting any telephone numbers here. You’ll get VHF frequencies on the side of the map where the MOAs are listed.   How do you find the MOAs on the side? This is annoying because most of you guys are using some type of digital map. This is how you find it on Skyvector. You make sure the sectional chart at the top right is clicked and then you move over all the way to the left and you’ll see a list of all the MOAs. This MOA is from 4000-17,999. For practice, let’s pretend that it goes all the way to the ground. We need to figure out if it is active. The 135.25 frequency won’t help because you’ll almost never get ahold of anyone with your handheld. This is how to figure out if it is active or not. You can either (1) Check to see if there is an active NOTAM on https://www.notams.faa.gov/dinsQueryWeb/ which has its own MOA tab, (2) check on https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb/ (3) check on DUATS, (4) call up 1-800-WX-BRIEF, or (5) call via phone the ARTCC over the area which would be Minneapolis Center. Here is the FAA web page to find the ARTCC phone numbers. I personally would use DUATS because it records that you requested the information which is handy if things go bad. You can’t prove if you read it, but you can prove you at least requested it. See my article on 5 ways to prove you did a pre-flight briefing. If you are interested in setting up flight programs and want a more comprehensive set of guidelines that includes this information and more, contact me. I work with other highly skilled commercial pilots to develop flight operations and procedures manuals that are integrated with the exemptions and waivers. Advertisement over.]

B. This information is available in the Small UAS database. [What? I don’t know what this means. What database?]
C. In the Military Operations Directory. [No such thing.]

UA.II.A.K2 Special use within airspace. (Prohibited, restricted, warning, military operations, alert, and controlled firing.)

Figure 20 area 3 of the Part 107 sample knowledge test questions

7 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 20, area.) How would a remote PIC “CHECK NOTAMS” as noted in the CAUTION box regarding the unmarked balloon?

A. By utilizing the B4UFLY mobile application. [That would be a nice feature but I don’t know how much money the FAA will put into this app. That app is more like an airspace for dummies app. Airmap also dumbs things down and says you can’t fly in a lot of places you can. Learn how to read charts so you know where you can legally fly to make more money.]
B. By contacting the FAA district office. [Nope. However, you should reach out to meet with these guys sometime. Let them know you are trying to be compliant and professional. Better to “set the stage” with that than if they come after you and remember you as the guy who did _________.]

C. By obtaining a briefing via an online source such as: 1800WXBrief.com. [You could do this. I suggest reading my article on 5 Ways to Prove You Did a Pre-Flight Briefing.]

UA.II.B.K5 The NOTAM system including how to obtain an established NOTAM through Flight Service.

 

8 To ensure that the unmanned aircraft center of gravity (CG) limits are not exceeded, follow the aircraft loading instructions specified in the

A. Pilot’s Operating Handbook or UAS Flight Manual. [I don’t know of any drone manufacturers who have created a manual which allows you to calculate the CG.  Manned aviation manuals have ways you can calculate so you don’t exceed CG limits. I think some of the reasons why the drone manuals don’t have them are because (1) the manufacturers are “toy” manufacturers who know little about aerodynamics, (2) they don’t want to waste money on something that isn’t required, and (3) the drones they sell can’t carry any payload so the CG is static.]
B. Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). [Great for general aviation info but bad for specific aircraft info.]
C. Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook. [This looks like a great answer but it isn’t. This handbookis helpful for studying for the test but won’t tell you anything about your specific aircraft.]

UA.IV.A.K1b General loading and performance: Balance, stability, and center of gravity.

9 When operating an unmanned airplane, the remote pilot should consider that the load factor on the wings may be increased anytime

A.the CG is shifted rearward to the aft CG limit. [This wouldn’t increase load factor. If the airplane uses an elevator for pitch, this would actually DECREASE load factor.]
B. the airplane is subjected to maneuvers other than straight and level flight. [Here is a helpful video explaining this. Here is another helpful link. See next question for more discussion.]
C. the gross weight is reduced. [Gross weight reduction would DECREASE load factor.]

UA.IV.A.K2. The importance and use of performance data to predict the effect on the aircraft’s performance of an sUAS.

10 A stall occurs when the smooth airflow over the unmanned airplane`s wing is disrupted, and the lift degenerates rapidly. This is caused when the wing

A. exceeds the maximum speed. [You won’t stall at this speed. Your wings will pop off because of drag.]
B. exceeds maximum allowable operating weight. [This isn’t true. You can fly somewhat overweight all day long (not legally), but it isn’t going to cause your wings to stall or pop off. We care about flying overweight in turbulent air or when doing abrupt maneuvers that can over stress the aircraft and break it. This is why we have maneuvering speed in manned aircraft so we know what speed to keep our aircraft below so we don’t break it in the event of a full control deflection because the aircraft will stall before it exceeds its category limits for what the aircraft was certificated for.  There are no aircraft category G limits like manned aircraft. All Part 107 aircraft are not required to have an airworthiness certificate like manned aircraft. So flying a drone “overweight” isn’t the same as flying a certificated manned aircraft over the weight which might exceed category limits in a full control deflection.]
C. exceeds its critical angle of attack. [You aren’t going to be flying if you hit this angle no matter how fast you are going. Here is a great example of a Sukhoi Su-35 Russian jet doing the Cobra maneuver which exceeds its critical angle of attack. ]

UA.IV.A.K1b General loading and performance: Balance, stability, and center of gravity.

next


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)

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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).

 

 

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.

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.”

The FAA can fine the person $1,414 per occurrence along with other charges. Typically the FAA would charge the person with flying in the TFR along with flying carelessly and recklessly which would result in 2 charges of  1,414 each with a total fine of 2,828. Additionally, the FAA could also suspend or revoke any airmen certificate the pilot has.

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?

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