Minnesota Drone Laws (2017)


NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws(federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

 Current as of February 21, 2017

There have been two bills that have failed (HF 1994, HF 2553) and 7 that have been proposed (SF 3312SF 179,2 HF 1194HF 1491HF 1197HF 986SF 1299).

There have also been reports that Minnesota Department of Transportation has tried to require registration of N-numbered aircraft. The page currently says it is being updated but there is some interesting info when viewing the archived information.

I have copy and pasted the archived information below. It is unknown if MDOT will continue to apply the statutes to unmanned aircraft.

 

Register Your Drone

MnDOT Requires UAS with FAA-Issued
N-Numbers to be Registered

Under Minnesota state law, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones are required to be registered with MnDOT Office of Aeronautics. Learn more about Aircraft Registration.

Registration with MnDOT is not required for unmanned aircraft operated solely for recreational use. The FAA does require all UAS operators to register with them.

Forms

Location and Hours

MnDOT – Office of Aeronautics
Aircraft Registration Unit
222 East Plato Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55107-1618
1-800-657-3922
651-234-7201 – Phone
651-296-9089 – FAX
Office Hours Are 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Monday-Friday

If Your Drone has an N-Number you are most likely a Commercial Operator and you need a license

Minnesota Law defines a commercial operation as any operation of an aircraft, including unmanned aircraft, for compensation or hire for which a fee is charged or compensation is received. Commercial operators are required to obtain a license from MnDOT before they advertise, represent, or hold themselves out as giving or offering to provide these services. Learn more about the licensing process and access forms.

Search the Directory of Licensed Commercial Operators. (coming soon)

Questions about commercial operations?
Contact Rick Braunig at 651-234-7230 or email us at [email protected]

Recreational Use

Model aircraft operations are for hobby or recreational purposes only. As of December 21, 2015, all operators of unmanned aircraft are required to register with the FAA.
Register at www.faa.gov/uas/registration.

In general, recreational users are encouraged to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Do not interfere with manned aircraft operations.
  • Yield the right of way to manned aircraft. See and avoid other aircraft at all times.
  • Do not endanger persons or property. No intentional overflight of moving vehicles or unprotected persons. Fly no closer than 25 feet.
  • Fly no higher than necessary (less than 400 feet). Remain below surrounding obstacles when possible.
  • Avoid operations in close proximity to airports. When within 5 miles of an airport, contact the airport/Air Traffic Control (ATC).
  • Ensure pilot competency/proficiency and the safe operation of the aircraft.
  • Remain within visual line of sight (VLOS). Use a spotter when necessary/appropriate.

Learn more about model aircraft operations.

Questions about recreational drone use?
Email us at droneinfo,[email protected]

It appears the Minnesota DOT is trying to apply their already existing statutes to unmanned aircraft.

[End]

I emailed Mr. Braunig and he responded back. He said drones are required to comply with the aircraft registration statutes. They do exempt model aircraft. He mentioned to look at 360.59, 360.018, 360.012, 8800.3100 and 8800.3200. I have put those sections below.

 

360.012 SOVEREIGNTY; LIABILITY; EFFECT OF OTHER LAW.

Subdivision 1.State. Sovereignty in the space above the lands and waters of this state is declared to rest in the state, except where granted to and assumed by the United States pursuant to a constitutional grant from the people of this state.

Subd. 2.Landowner. The ownership of the space above the lands and waters of this state is declared to be vested in the several owners of the surface beneath, subject to the right of flight described in subdivision 3.

Subd. 3.Lawful flight, generally. Flight in aircraft over the lands and water of this state is lawful, unless at such low altitude as to interfere with the then-existing use to which the land or water, or the space above the land or water, is put by the owner, or unless so conducted as to be imminently dangerous or damaging to persons or property lawfully in the land or water beneath. The landing of an aircraft on the lands or waters of another, without the other’s consent is unlawful, except in the case of a forced landing. For damages caused by the forced landing, however, the owner or lessee of the aircraft or the pilot shall be liable as provided in subdivision 4.

Subd. 4.Liability for injury to person or property. The owner of every aircraft which is operated over the lands or waters of this state is absolutely liable for injury or damage to persons or property on the land or water beneath, caused by the ascent, descent, or flight of the aircraft, or the dropping or falling of any object therefrom, whether such owner was negligent or not, unless the injury or damage is caused in whole or in part by the negligence of the person injured, or of the owner or bailee of the property damaged. If the aircraft is leased at the time of the injury or damage to person or property, both the owner and lessee shall be liable, and they may be sued jointly, or either or both of them may be sued separately. A pilot who is not the owner or lessee shall be liable only for the consequences of the pilot’s own negligence. The injured person, or owner or bailee of the damaged property, shall have a lien on the aircraft causing the injury or damage to the extent of such injury or damage caused by the aircraft or objects falling from it.

Subd. 5.Liability for collision. The liability of the owner of one aircraft to the owner of another aircraft, or to pilots or passengers or other persons on either aircraft, for damages caused by collision on land or in the air shall be determined by the rules of law applicable to torts occurring on land.

Subd. 6.Application of state laws. All crimes, torts, and other wrongs committed by or against a pilot, passenger, or other person while in flight over this state shall be governed by the laws of this state; and the question whether damage occasioned by or to an aircraft while in flight over this state constitutes a tort, crime, or other wrong by or against the owner of such aircraft shall be determined by the laws of this state.

Subd. 7.Legal effects. All contractual and other legal relations entered into by pilots, passengers, or other persons while in flight over this state shall have the same effect as if entered into on the land or water beneath.

360.018 REGULATING AIRCRAFT, AIRMEN, AIRPORTS, INSTRUCTORS.

Subdivision 1.Aircraft registration; operating license; fees and rules. The general public interest and safety, the safety of persons receiving instruction concerning or operating, using, or traveling in aircraft and of persons and property on the ground, and the interest of aeronautical progress requiring that aircraft operated within this state should be airworthy, that airmen and those engaged in air instruction should be properly qualified, and that airports, restricted landing areas, and air navigation facilities should be suitable for the purposes for which they are designed; the purposes of sections 360.013 to 360.075, requiring that the commissioner should be enabled to exercise the powers of supervision therein granted; and the advantages of uniform regulation making it desirable that aircraft operated within this state should conform with respect to design, construction, and airworthiness to the standards prescribed by the United States government with respect to civil aircraft subject to its jurisdiction and that persons engaging in aeronautics within this state should have the qualifications necessary for obtaining and holding appropriate airman certificates of the United States, the commissioner is authorized:

(1) To require the registration annually of federal licenses, permits, or certificates of civil aircraft engaged in air navigation within this state, and to issue certificates of such registration, which certificates may be the same as the certificates issued pursuant to section 360.59, subdivision 3. The application for registration made pursuant to sections 360.54 to 360.67 shall be considered as the application for registration required by this section. The certificates of registration of aircraft issued pursuant to this section shall constitute licenses of such aircraft for operations within this state to the extent permitted by the federal licenses, certificates, or permits so registered. The application for registration shall contain such information as the commissioner may by rule or order prescribe. The first application for registration made in this state shall be verified by the applicant. The second and succeeding applications for registration need not be verified. Each application for registration of aircraft shall be made as required by sections 360.54 to 360.67.

(2) To license any person engaged in commercial operations in accordance with rules to be adopted by the commissioner and to annually renew such a license. The rules adopted hereunder shall provide for:

(i) compliance with all requirements of the United States government relating to permits or certificates governing aircraft and airmen; and

(ii) compliance with all laws of the state of Minnesota and rules of any state department or agency promulgated thereunder.

The fee for an original license or renewal license is $30.

(3) To approve airport and restricted landing area sites and to license airports, restricted landing areas, or other air navigation facilities, in accordance with rules to be adopted by the commissioner, and to renew such licenses. Licenses granted under this subdivision or under any prior law shall be renewed annually or every three years upon payment of the fee therefor, and licenses shall be granted for airports and restricted landing areas which were being operated under a license on the 1st day of July 1943, without requirements of a certificate of approval, unless the commissioner shall reasonably determine, after a public hearing to be called by the commissioner and held in the same manner and upon the same notice as is provided for hearings upon certificates of approval or original licenses, that the operation of such airport or restricted landing area is hazardous to persons operating, using, or traveling in aircraft or to persons and property on the ground. The commissioner shall make no charge for approval certificates of proposed property acquisition for airport or restricted landing area purposes. The fee for the issuance of each original license for an airport or restricted landing area is $15 per year and $40 for three years.

(4) To suspend or revoke any license or certificate of registration of an aircraft or licensee of commercial operations issued by the commissioner, or to refuse to issue any such license or certificate of registration, on reasonably determining that any aircraft is not airworthy or that any licensee of commercial operations is not qualified; has engaged in advertising by means of false or deceptive statements; has been found guilty of gross incompetency or gross negligence; has been found guilty of fraud, dishonesty, forgery, or theft; has willfully violated the provisions of sections 360.013 to 360.075, the rules prescribed pursuant thereto, or any other statute of this state relating to aeronautics, or any act of Congress or any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant thereto; is addicted to the use of narcotics or other habit-forming drug or to the excessive use of intoxicating liquor; has made any false statement in any application for registration of a federal license, certificate, or permit; or has been guilty of other conduct, acts, or practices dangerous to the public safety and the safety of those engaged in aeronautics.

Subd. 2.Unlawful operations. Except as hereinafter provided, it shall be unlawful for any person to operate or cause or authorize to be operated any civil aircraft within this state unless such aircraft has an appropriate effective license, certificate, or permit issued by the United States government which has been registered with the commissioner and such registration with the commissioner is in full force and effect, and it shall be unlawful for any person to engage in aeronautics as an airman in this state without an appropriate effective airman’s license, certificate, or permit issued by the United States government authorizing the person to engage in the particular class of aeronautics in which engaged.

Subd. 3.Exceptions to registration requirements. The provisions of subdivision 1, paragraphs (1) and (2), and subdivision 2 shall not apply to:

(1) an aircraft which has been licensed by a foreign country with which the United States has a reciprocal agreement covering the operations of such licensed aircraft;

(2) an aircraft which is owned by a nonresident of this state who is lawfully entitled to operate such aircraft in the state of residence;

(3) an aircraft engaged principally in commercial flying constituting an act of interstate or foreign commerce;

(4) an aircraft owned by, and used exclusively in the service of, any government or any political subdivision thereof, including the government of the United States, any state, territory, or possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia, which is not engaged in carrying persons or property for commercial purposes;

(5) an airman operating an aircraft owned by, and used exclusively in the service of, any government or any political subdivision thereof, including the government of the United States, any state, territory, or possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia, which is not engaged in carrying persons or property for commercial purposes;

(6) an airman operating any aircraft licensed by a foreign country with which the United States has a reciprocal agreement covering the operation of such licensed aircraft;

(7) persons operating model aircraft, nor to any person piloting an aircraft which is equipped with fully functioning dual controls when a licensed instructor is in full charge of one set of said controls and such flight is solely for instruction or for the demonstration of said aircraft to a bona fide prospective purchaser;

(8) a nonresident operating aircraft in this state who is lawfully entitled to operate aircraft in the state of residence;

(9) an airman while operating or taking part in the operation of an aircraft engaged principally in commercial flying constituting an act of interstate or foreign commerce.

Subd. 4.Exhibiting license, permit, or certificate. The federal license, certificate, or permit, and the evidence of registration in this or another state, if any, required for an airman shall be kept in the personal possession of the airman when operating within this state and must be presented for inspection upon the demand of any passenger, any peace officer of this state, or the commissioner, the commissioner’s assistant, or any employee of the department, or any official, manager, or person in charge of any airport in this state upon which the airman shall land, or upon the reasonable request of any other person. The federal aircraft license, certificate, or permit, and the evidence of registration in this or another state, if any, required for aircraft must be carried in every aircraft operating in this state at all times and must be conspicuously posted therein where it may readily be seen by passengers or inspectors and must be presented for inspection upon the demand of any passenger, any peace officer of this state, the commissioner, the commissioner’s assistant, or any employee of the department, or any official, manager, or person in charge of any airport in this state upon which it shall land, or upon the reasonable request of any person.

Subd. 5.Air instruction without license, permit, or certificate. It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in commercial operations or to act as an aeronautics instructor in this state without having all required licenses, certificates, or permits of the commissioner and of the United States government.

Subd. 6.Licensing airport or other air navigation facility. All proposed airports, restricted landing areas, and other air navigation facilities shall be first licensed by the commissioner before they, or any of them, shall be used or operated. Any municipality or person acquiring property for the purpose of constructing or establishing an airport or restricted landing area shall, prior to such acquisition, make application to the commissioner for a certificate of approval of the site selected and the general purpose or purposes for which the property is to be acquired, to insure that the property and its use shall conform to minimum standards of safety and shall serve public interest. It shall be unlawful for any municipality or officer or employee thereof, or for any person, to operate an airport, restricted landing area, or other air navigation facility for which the required annual license has not been issued by the commissioner. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a personal use airport that is more than five miles from a public airport, whether publicly or privately owned, need not obtain a license from the commissioner.

Subd. 7.Hearing on certificate or license application. Whenever the commissioner makes an order granting or denying a certificate of approval of an airport or a restricted landing area, or an original license to use or operate an airport, restricted landing area, or other air navigation facility, and the applicant or any interested municipality, within 15 days after notice of such order has been sent the applicant by certified mail, demands a public hearing, or whenever the commissioner desires to hold a public hearing before making an order, such a public hearing in relation thereto shall be held in the municipality applying for the certificate of approval or license or, in case the application was made by anyone other than a municipality, at the county seat of the county in which the proposed airport, restricted landing area, or other air navigation facility is proposed to be situated, at which hearing parties in interest and other persons shall have an opportunity to be heard. Notice of the hearing shall be published by the commissioner in a legal newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the hearing is to be held, at least 15 days prior to the date of hearing. After a proper and timely demand has been made, the order shall be stayed until after the hearing, when the commissioner may affirm, modify, or reverse it, or make a new order. If no hearing is demanded as herein provided, the order shall become effective upon the expiration of the time permitted for making a demand. Where a certificate of approval of an airport or restricted landing area has been issued by the commissioner, the commissioner may grant a license for operation and use, and no hearing may be demanded thereon; provided, however, and subject to the provisions of section 473.622, as amended, should the airport for which a license is applied lie within the area under the jurisdiction of any corporation organized and existing under sections 473.601 to 473.679, the commissioner, before issuing the first license for the operation of said airport, shall forthwith serve notice in writing of the application, together with a copy thereof to the said corporation. Within 15 days after service of such notice said corporation shall serve written notice upon the commissioner whether or not it regards the acquisition and/or operation of said airport as constituting a hazard to the safe operation of an airport or airports owned or operated by it. If in the opinion of the corporation it does not constitute such a hazard, the commissioner may thereafter proceed in the matter of granting or refusing to grant a license in accordance with and pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. If the corporation, however, be of the opinion that the acquisition and/or operation of such airport would create such a hazard, then the commissioner shall set a time and place for a joint hearing upon the application for license and for consent to or approval by the corporation of the acquisition and/or operation of said airport, which hearing shall be held within 45 days after the service of such notice upon the applicant, the corporation and other interested parties, unless such time shall be extended by consent of all interested parties. At said hearing the corporation shall offer such evidence as it deems material to sustain its contention that the acquisition and/or operation of said airport would create such a hazard. Thereafter other interested parties supporting the view of the corporation shall be heard; and thereafter the applicant and other interested parties supporting applicant’s view or their independent views shall be heard, and shall offer such evidence as they deem material to sustain their respective views and contentions. Each party shall have an opportunity of offering rebuttal testimony or rebuttal evidence.

Within ten days after the close of the hearing the corporation shall make its order in writing approving or refusing to approve the acquisition and/or operation of said airport; provided that if the order is one disapproving, it must be based solely upon the grounds that the acquisition and/or operation of said airport would constitute a hazard to the safe operation of an airport or airports owned or operated by it or presently to be constructed or being constructed to be operated by it, and its order shall set forth its findings of fact and its reasons for the conclusion reached. The provisions of this proviso shall apply only to securing the first approval or disapproval of the establishment and operation of said airport or restricted landing area and once the same shall have been approved by the corporation renewal licenses may be issued therefor by the commissioner of transportation without notice to the corporation.

Subd. 8.Standards for issuing certificate or license. In determining whether to issue a certificate of approval or license for the use or operation of any proposed airport or restricted landing area, the commissioner shall take into consideration its proposed location, size, and layout, the relationship of the proposed airport or restricted landing area to a comprehensive plan for statewide and nationwide development, whether there are safe areas available for expansion purposes, whether the adjoining area is free from obstructions based on a proper glide ratio, the nature of the terrain, the nature of the uses to which the proposed airport or restricted landing area will be put, and the possibilities for future development.

Subd. 9.Exceptions; federal use. The provisions of subdivisions 6, 7, and 8 shall not apply to any airport, restricted landing area, or other air navigation facility owned or operated by the federal government within this state, or by any public corporation created in and for contiguous cities of the first class of this state. No airport, restricted landing area, or other air navigation facility shall be acquired or operated within 25 miles of the city hall of either of two contiguous cities of the first class for which a public corporation is organized and existing under sections 473.601 to 473.679, without the consent of such corporation, as provided in and limited by section 473.622.

Subd. 10.Revoking certificate or license. The commissioner is empowered to suspend or revoke any certificate of approval or license issued by the commissioner upon determining that an airport, restricted landing area, or other air navigation facility is not being maintained or used in accordance with the provisions of sections 360.011 to 360.076, and the rules lawfully promulgated pursuant thereto.

Subd. 11.Examination of premises. To carry out the provisions of sections 360.011 to 360.076, the commissioner, the commissioner’s assistant, the employees of the department, and any officers, state or municipal, charged with the duty of enforcing sections 360.011 to 360.076, may inspect and examine at reasonable hours any premises, and the buildings and other structures thereon, where airports, restricted landing areas, air schools, flying clubs, or other air navigation facilities or aeronautical activities are operated or carried on.Subd. 12.Operating vehicle on airport property. No person shall operate a motor vehicle off a designated roadway on airport property without the authorization of the airport owner, or operate a motor vehicle anywhere on airport property in a careless or reckless manner with willful disregard for the safety of persons or property. A violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor.

360.59 AIRCRAFT REGISTRATION AND LISTING FOR TAXATION.

Subdivision 1.Date of listing and application; form. Every owner of aircraft in this state, except as exempted by sections 360.54 and 360.55, shall, before July 1, in each fiscal year thereafter, or as soon after such date of becoming the owner thereof, file with the commissioner, on a blank provided by the commissioner, a listing for taxation and application for the registration of such aircraft, in such form and stating such information as the commissioner may require. The said owner shall certify that the statements made are correct and true, and any false statement willfully and knowingly made in regard thereto shall be deemed a perjury and punished accordingly. The listing and application for registration by dealers or manufacturers’ agents within the state of aircraft received for sale or use within the state shall be accepted as compliance with the requirements of sections 360.54 to 360.67 imposed upon the manufacturer.

Subd. 2.Agent or lienor may list. Any act required herein of an owner may be performed in the owner’s behalf by a duly authorized agent. Any person having a lien upon, or claim to, any aircraft may pay any tax due thereon to prevent the penalty for delayed registration from accruing, but the registration certificate shall not be issued until legal ownership is definitely determined.

Subd. 3.Issuance of certificate. The commissioner shall file such application and upon approval thereof and upon payment of the aircraft tax as provided in sections 360.54 to 360.67, together with all arrears and penalties, if any, and upon the delivery to the commissioner of the duly endorsed registration certificate of the former owner, if any, or proof of loss provided in lieu thereof, shall assign to it a distinctive number and issue to the owner a registration certificate which shall contain the name, place of residence, with street and number, if in a city, and post office address of the owner, a specific description of the aircraft, and the number assigned, together with a place on the face of the certificate in which the owner shall immediately upon receipt thereof place the owner’s signature and on the reverse side thereof, an assignment and notice of sale or termination of ownership with places for the signature of both seller and purchaser, and a place for assignment of the tax that has been paid. The registration certificate shall be retained by the owner until surrender as herein provided. In the case of listing and registration by manufacturers’ agents or dealers of aircraft not using the air space overlying the state of Minnesota and the airports thereof no registration certificate shall be issued, but a duplicate of such list may be retained by the dealer or manufacturer as the registration certificate.

Subd. 4. [Repealed, 2005 c 41 s 21]

Subd. 5.Commissioner to approve. The commissioner shall approve applications for any aircraft. When an applicant is listing the same aircraft for taxation and registration for the second and succeeding time the registration certificate issued for the prior year need not be delivered to the commissioner; but in case of a transfer or sale the registration certificate therefor issued or proof of loss thereof by sworn statement shall be delivered to the commissioner. The commissioner shall be satisfied from the records that all taxes and fees due hereunder shall have been paid, and endorsements upon said certificate or sworn proof of loss in writing signed by the seller and purchaser, shall furnish proof that the applicant for registration is paying or receiving credit for the tax upon the aircraft of which the applicant is the rightful possessor.

Subd. 6.Expiration of registration certificate. The registered owner’s right to the registration certificate provided for herein and the right to use the number plates issued therewith shall expire upon the termination of ownership of any person in the aircraft for which the same was issued, and in any event at midnight on June 30 of the fiscal year for which the registration certificate was issued.

Subd. 7.Transfer of ownership. Upon the transfer of ownership; the destruction, theft, or dismantling; or the permanent removal by the owner from this state, of any aircraft registered in accordance with sections 360.511 to 360.67, the right of the owner of the aircraft to use the registration certificate assigned the aircraft expires. The owner shall forthwith return the certificate with transportation prepaid to the commissioner with a signed notice of the date and manner of termination of ownership, giving the name and post office address, with street and number if in a city, of the person to whom transferred. On becoming the owner by gift, trade, or purchase of any aircraft for which a registration certificate has been issued under sections 360.511 to 360.67, a person, including a dealer or manufacturer, shall, within seven days after acquiring ownership, join with the registered owner in transmitting with an application the registration certificate with the assignment and notice of sale duly executed upon the reverse side, or in case of loss of the certificate, with such proof of loss by sworn statements in writing as shall be satisfactory to the commissioner. Upon the transfer of any aircraft by a manufacturer or dealer, for use within the state, whether by sale, lease, or otherwise, the manufacturer or dealer shall, within seven days after the transfer, transmit the transferee’s application for registration.

Subd. 8.Amendment, suspension, modification, revocation. All registrations are subject to amendment, suspension, modification, or revocation by the commissioner summarily for any violation of or neglect to comply with sections 360.511 to 360.67. In any case where the proper registration of an aircraft is dependent upon procuring information entailing such delay as to unreasonably deprive the owner of the use of the aircraft, the commissioner may issue a tax receipt conditionally. In any case when revoking a registration for cause, the commissioner has the authority to demand the return of the registration certificate.

Subd. 9. [Repealed, 2005 c 41 s 21]

Subd. 10.Certificate of insurance.

(a) Every owner of aircraft in this state when applying for registration, reregistration, or transfer of ownership shall supply any information the commissioner reasonably requires to determine that the aircraft during the period of its contemplated operation is covered by an insurance policy with limits of not less than $100,000 per passenger seat liability both for passenger bodily injury or death and for property damage; not less than $100,000 for bodily injury or death to each nonpassenger in any one accident; and not less than $300,000 per occurrence for bodily injury or death to nonpassengers in any one accident. The insurance must comply with section 60A.081, unless that section is inapplicable under section 60A.081, subdivision 3.

The information supplied to the commissioner must include but is not limited to the name and address of the owner, the period of contemplated use or operation, if any, and, if insurance coverage is then presently required, the name of the insurer, the insurance policy number, the term of the coverage, policy limits, and any other data the commissioner requires. No certificate of registration shall be issued pursuant to subdivision 3 in the absence of the information required by this subdivision.

(b) In the event of cancellation of aircraft insurance by the insurer, the insurer shall notify the Department of Transportation at least ten days prior to the date on which the insurance coverage is to be terminated. Unless proof of a new policy of insurance is filed with the department meeting the requirements of this subdivision during the period of the aircraft’s contemplated use or operation, the registration certificate for the aircraft shall be revoked forthwith.

(c) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to require an owner of aircraft to maintain passenger seat liability coverage on aircraft for which an experimental certificate has been issued by the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration pursuant to Code of Federal Regulations, title 14, sections 21.191 to 21.195 and 91.42, whereunder persons operating the aircraft are prohibited from carrying passengers in the aircraft. Whenever the aircraft becomes certificated to carry passengers, passenger seat liability coverage shall be required as provided in this subdivision.

(d) The requirements of this subdivision shall not apply to any aircraft built by the original manufacturer prior to December 31, 1939 and owned and operated solely as a collector’s item, if the owner files an affidavit with the commissioner. The affidavit shall state the owner’s name and address, the name and address of the person from whom the aircraft was purchased, the make, year, and model number of the aircraft, the federal aircraft registration number, the manufacturer’s identification number, and that the aircraft is owned and operated solely as a collector’s item and not for general transportation purposes.

 

8800.3100 DEFINITION OF COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS.

“Commercial operations” means any operation of an aircraft for compensation or hire, or any services performed incidental to the operation of any aircraft for which a fee is charged or compensation received including, but not limited to, the servicing, maintaining, and repairing of aircraft; the rental or charter of aircraft; the operation of flight or ground schools; the operation of aircraft for the application or distribution of chemicals or other substances; aerial photography and surveys; air shows or expositions; and the operation of aircraft for fishing. “Commercial operations” also means the brokering or selling of any of these services but does not include any operations of aircraft as common carriers certificated (certified) by the federal government or the services incidental to certificated operations.

Note: Shared expense flights as defined in the Federal Aviation Regulations are not commercial operations as defined in parts 8800.3100 to 8800.4600.

 

8800.3200 LICENSING COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS.

Subpart 1. Prior licensing required. Every person who does in fact provide or who advertises, represents, or holds themselves out as giving or offering to provide service as defined in part 8800.3100, must be licensed by the commissioner. The commercial operations license must contain an endorsement for each type of commercial operation the licensee is authorized to perform. These persons must be licensed by the commissioner before they advertise, represent, or hold themselves out as giving or offering to provide this service.

Subp. 1a. Endorsements. To receive an endorsement to a commercial operations license, the applicant must meet and comply with the requirements of this part and part 8800.3100, unless specifically exempted from these parts, and must also comply with the appropriate rule for the type of commercial operations applied for, which is found in parts 8800.3300 to 8800.3950.

Subp. 2. Application and fee. Application for license shall be made on forms supplied by the commissioner. The fee shall be $30 annually and must accompany the application.

Subp. 3. Duration and renewal. The license issued under this part shall be effective for one year from the date of issuance thereof and shall be renewed annually. Application for renewal shall be made 30 days before the expiration of the current license.

Subp. 4. Nontransferability. The license shall not be transferable to other persons.

Subp. 5. Display. The license issued under this part shall be posted in a prominent place in the office of the licensee.

Subp. 6. Notice of changes. The licensee shall immediately notify the Department of Transportation in writing of any change in the status of such commercial operation relating to ownership, activities, aircraft, or key personnel.

Subp. 7. Place of business. Each applicant for a commercial operations license must have a place of business. In addition, if the commercial activity includes the operation of aircraft for the purpose of carrying passengers, flight instruction, or aircraft rental or leasing, then the applicant’s base of operations must be on an airport licensed for public use by the commissioner as provided by law, or an airport owned by the Metropolitan Airports Commission; or a private airport licensed by the commissioner if that private airport meets the requirements of part 8800.1600, 8800.1650, 8800.1700, or 8800.1800.

If the commercial activity is limited to aircraft servicing, maintaining, and repairing, then the base of operation may be on a public or private airport licensed by the commissioner as provided by law.

A personal-use airport may be used for commercial operations that are not included in this subpart.

Subp. 8. Airport authorization. If the applicant does not own the airport, the person must submit evidence from the owner that:

  1. the person meets the airport owner’s minimum standards for such commercial operation; and
  2. the person is authorized to operate from that airport.

Subp. 9. Aircraft. Each aircraft used by a licensee for commercial operations must be currently registered with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, or be taxed as flight property by the Minnesota Department of Revenue, as required by laws of this state. The flight property tax payments must be current.

Subp. 10. Records. Each licensed commercial operator shall maintain basic records, which must be kept up-to-date as follows:

  1. Each flight made in equipment owned by a licensee must be recorded. The register shall show the pilot’s name, identification of the aircraft, and the date, time, and duration of the flight.
  2. An accurate list must be maintained of (1) airman personnel employed by the commercial operator, together with the airman certificate type and ratings, address, and date of last physical examination; and (2) aircraft used in the commercial operation.

Subp. 11. Compliance with the law. A person engaged in commercial operations shall comply with all laws, rules, and regulations of the state of Minnesota and the federal government.

Subp. 12. Aircraft maintenance. An applicant whose commercial activity includes the operation of an aircraft and who is also not licensed to perform aircraft servicing, maintaining, and repairing must have a contract or agreement with a commercial operator licensed to perform these services for all aircraft used in the commercial activity, or employ a mechanic certificated by the FAA for the type of servicing, maintaining, and repairing to be performed.

Subp. 13. Cooperation. The applicant for a commercial operations license shall offer full cooperation with respect to any inspection which may be made of an operation upon proper demand at reasonable hours by the commissioner or any authorized representative of the commissioner prior to or subsequent to the issuance of a license.

Subp. 14. Endorsements. To receive an endorsement to a commercial operations license, the applicant must meet and comply with the requirements of parts 8800.3100 and 8800.3200, unless specifically exempted therefrom, and must also comply with the appropriate regulation for the type or types of commercial operations applied for.

Subp. 15. Insurance. Unless otherwise specified in parts 8800.3100 to 8800.4600, the applicant for a commercial operations license whose operation will involve the use of aircraft must hold insurance contracts valid and in force for the duration of the license. The insurance must provide coverage for each aircraft in the type and amount specified in the appropriate rule in parts 8800.3300 to 8800.3950 for the type of commercial operations applied for.

An insurance certificate must be submitted with the application for the commercial operations license and a current insurance certificate must be on file with the commissioner before a commercial operations license is renewed.

Any contract of insurance required under this subpart must carry an endorsement stating that the contract cannot be canceled by the insurer until five days’ notice in writing of cancellation has been given the commissioner by the insurer. In any case, when an insurance contract is canceled, notice of cancellation must immediately thereafter be given to the commissioner by the insurer.

 

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Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.