Ultimate Guide to FAA’s Part 107 (14 CFR Part 107)
The FAA released Part 107 on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Part 107 provides for individuals to obtain their “Remote Pilot Certificate” which is what you need if you want to fly your drone commercially.
Part 107 will provide a certificate as well as operating rules for drone operators who do not fall into recreational drone operations. The two main groups that will benefit will be the commercial drone operators and public sector operators.
Model aircraft that satisfy all of the criteria specified by 49 U.S.C. § 44809.
Section 44807 exempted aircraft operating under regulations.
Air carrier operations.
2. Operational Limitations:
At all times the small unmanned aircraft must remain close enough to the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS for those people to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.
Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary vehicle.
Daylight-only operations, or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting.
Must yield right of way to other aircraft.
May use visual observer (VO) but not required.
First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement but can be used as long as requirement is satisfied in other ways.
Maximum groundspeed of 100 mph (87 knots).
Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a structure.
Minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from control station.
Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission.
Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without ATC permission.
No person may act as a remote pilot in command or VO for more than one unmanned aircraft operation at one time.
No operations from a moving aircraft.
No operations from a moving vehicle unless the operation is over a sparsely populated area.
No careless or reckless operations.
No carriage of hazardous materials.
Requires preflight inspection by the remote pilot in command.
A person may not operate a small unmanned aircraft if he or she knows or has reason to know of any physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of a small UAS.
Foreign-registered small unmanned aircraft are allowed to operate under part 107 if they satisfy the requirements of part 375.
External load operations are allowed if the object being carried by the unmanned aircraft is securely attached and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.
Transportation of property for compensation or hire allowed provided that-
The aircraft, including its attached systems, payload and cargo weigh less than 55 pounds total;
The flight is conducted within visual line of sight and not from a moving vehicle or aircraft; and
The flight occurs wholly within the bounds of a State and does not involve transport between (1) Hawaii and another place in Hawaii through airspace outside Hawaii; (2) the District of Columbia and another place in the District of Columbia; or (3) a territory or possession of the United States and another place in the same territory or possession.
Most of the restrictions discussed above are waivable if the applicant demonstrates that his or her operation can safely be conducted under the terms of a certificate of waiver.
3. Remote Pilot in Command Certification and Responsibilities
Establishes a remote pilot in command position.
A person operating a small UAS must either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who does hold a remote pilot certificate (remote pilot in command).
To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, a person must:
o Demonstrate aeronautical knowledge by either:
Passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center; or
Hold a part 61 pilot certificate other than student pilot, complete a flight review within the previous 24 months, and complete a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA.
Be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration.
Be at least 16 years old.
Part 61 pilot certificate holders may obtain a temporary remote pilot certificate immediately upon submission of their application for a permanent certificate. Other applicants will obtain a temporary remote pilot certificate upon successful completion of TSA security vetting. The FAA anticipates that it will be able to issue a temporary remote pilot certificate within 10 business days after receiving a completed remote pilot certificate application.
Until international standards are developed, foreign-certificated UAS pilots will be required to obtain an FAA-issued remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.
A remote pilot in command must:
Make available to the FAA, upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing, and any associated documents/records required to be kept under the rule.
Report to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in at least serious injury, loss of consciousness, or property damage of at least $500.
Conduct a preflight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is in a condition for safe operation.
Ensure that the small unmanned aircraft complies with the existing registration requirements specified in § 91.203(a)(2).
A remote pilot in command may deviate from the requirements of this rule in response to an in-flight emergency.
4. Aircraft Requirements
FAA airworthiness certification is not required. However, the remote pilot in command must conduct a preflight check of the small UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation.
II. Actual Text of Part 107 with Guidance Material
I have created pages for almost all of the regulations below. The pages were designed to help people study the regulations. Each page has the (1) actual text of the law, (2) my commentary on the law and maybe supporting links, (3) relevant portions of the FAA’s advisory circular on the particular regulation, and (4) the FAA’s discussion on the topic or particular regulation from the preambles of final rule.
Inspections using thermal equipment in hot environments and night is the best time to use the equipment.
Cinematography for TV/movie night scenes
Inspections on critical time/sensitive material that require 24/7 monitoring (example: turbidity monitoring for dredging operations)
Sports at night.
55 Pounds and Heavier
Firefighting retardant delivery
High-end LIDAR to monitor crops such as lumber. The LIDAR is used to detect the diameter of the wood so the loggers know which forest to harvest first.
Cinematography (Dual Red Epics for 3-D filming or full Arri Alexa with lens and a large stack of batteries for extra flight time.)
Higher than 400ft and 400ft away from the object.
100 MPH and Faster
Survey large areas fast
Fast package/medical delivery
Operation Over Persons
Live news events
Operations from a Moving Vehicle in non-sparsely populated areas.
VI. Summary of Important Changes From Proposed Part 107 to the Final Rule
Anything that is in BOLD and UNDERLINED is different. Anything in [BRACKETS] means I inserted it because there were a few typos that needed clarifying. Small little differences were NOT noted so as to improve readability.
PART 107 NPRM
FINAL PART 107
“Pilots of a small UAS would be considered ‘operators’”
Called Remote Pilots
“Be at least 17 years old.”
“Be at least 16 years old.”
“Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.”
“Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center (or pass this online course, for Part 61 certificate holders).”
“Report an accident to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in injury or property damage.”
“Report an accident to the FAA within 10 days if the sUAS operation results in serious injury or property.”
“Maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level.”
“Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level.”
The change from 500ft to 400ft makes sense in that there is a buffer zone now between drones and fixed-wing manned aircraft. See 14 C.F.R. 91.119 which places fixed-wing aircraft at a minimum of 500ft in non-congested areas. Remember that altimeters for manned aircraft can be incorrect sometimes, especially when going from high pressure to low pressure or high temperature to low temperate. (High to low, look out below.)