Section 107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation.

By | March 6, 2021

Section 107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation.

Prior to flight, the remote pilot in command must:

(a) Assess the operating environment, considering risks to persons and property in the immediate vicinity both on the surface and in the air. This assessment must include:

(1) Local weather conditions;

(2) Local airspace and any flight restrictions;

(3) The location of persons and property on the surface; and

(4) Other ground hazards.

(b) Ensure that all persons directly participating in the small unmanned aircraft operation are informed about the operating conditions, emergency procedures, contingency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and potential hazards;

(c) Ensure that all control links between ground control station and the small unmanned aircraft are working properly;

(d) If the small unmanned aircraft is powered, ensure that there is enough available power for the small unmanned aircraft system to operate for the intended operational time;

(e) Ensure that any object attached or carried by the small unmanned aircraft is secure and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft; and

(f) If the operation will be conducted over human beings under subpart D of this part, ensure that the aircraft meets the requirements of § 107.110, § 107.120(a), § 107.130(a), or § 107.140, as applicable.


My Commentary on Section 107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation.

I would create a checklist using this regulation. Integrate it with the PAVE and IMSAFE checklists.


Advisory Circular 107-2A on Section 107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation.

5.11 Preflight Familiarization, Inspection, and Actions for Aircraft Operation. The remote PIC must complete a preflight familiarization, inspection, and other actions, such as crewmember briefings, prior to beginning flight operations (§ 107.49). The FAA has produced many publications providing in-depth information on topics such as aviation weather, aircraft loading and performance, emergency procedures, risk mitigation, ADM, and airspace, which should all be considered prior to operations (see Appendix E, Sample Preflight Assessment and Inspection Checklist). Additionally, all remote pilots are encouraged to review FAA publications (see paragraph 2.3).

5.11.1 Prior to Flight. The remote PIC must:
1. Conduct an assessment of the operating environment. The assessment must include at least the following:

• Local weather conditions;
• Local airspace and any flight restrictions;
• The location of persons and moving vehicles not directly participating in the operation, and property on the surface;
• If conducting operations over people or moving vehicles, ensure their small unmanned aircraft is eligible for the category or categories of operations (see Chapter 8);
• Consider the potential for persons and moving vehicles not directly participating in operations entering the operational area for the duration of the operation;
• Consider whether the operation will be conducted over an open-air assembly of persons; and
• Other ground hazards.
Note: Remove pilots are prohibited from operating a small unmanned aircraft as a Category 1, 2, or 4 operation in sustained flight over open-air assemblies unless the operation meets the requirements of § 89.110 or § 89.115(a).

2. Ensure all persons directly participating in the small UAS operation are informed about the following:

• Operating conditions;
• Emergency procedures;
• Contingency procedures, including those for persons or moving vehicles not directly participating in the operation that enter the operational area;
• Roles and responsibilities of each person participating in the operation; and
• Potential hazards.

3. Ensure all control links between the CS and the small unmanned aircraft are working properly. Before each flight, the remote PIC must determine the small unmanned aircraft flight control surfaces necessary for the safety of flight are moving correctly through the manipulation of the small unmanned aircraft CS. If the remote PIC observes that one or more of the control surfaces are not responding correctly to CS inputs, then the remote PIC may not conduct flight operations until correct movement of all flight control surface(s) is established.

4. Ensure sufficient power exists to continue controlled flight operations to a normal landing. This can be accomplished by following the small UAS manufacturer’s operating manual power consumption tables. Another method would be to include a system on the small UAS that detects power levels and alerts the remote pilot when remaining aircraft power is diminishing to a level that is inadequate for continued flight operation.

5. Ensure the small unmanned aircraft anti-collision light(s) function(s) properly prior to any flight that will occur during civil twilight or at night. The remote PIC must also  consider, during his or her preflight check, whether the anti-collision light(s) could reduce the amount of power available to the small unmanned aircraft. The remote PIC may need to reduce the planned duration of the small unmanned aircraft operation to ensure sufficient power exists to maintain the illuminated anti-collision light(s) and to ensure sufficient power exists for the small unmanned aircraft to proceed to a normal landing.

6. Ensure any object attached or carried by the small unmanned aircraft is secure and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.

7. Ensure all necessary documentation is available for inspection, including the remote PIC’s Remote Pilot Certificate, identification, aircraft registration, and CoW, if applicable (§ 107.7).

5.11.2 Safety Risk Assessment. These preflight familiarizations, inspections, and actions can be accomplished as part of an overall safety risk assessment. The FAA encourages the remote PIC to conduct the overall safety risk assessment as a method of compliance with the restriction on operating over any person who is not directly involved in the operation, unless the small unmanned aircraft is eligible for an operation over people in accordance with part 107 subpart D. The safety risk assessment also assists with ensuring the small unmanned aircraft will remain clear of other aircraft. Appendix A provides additional guidance on how to conduct an overall safety risk assessment.

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7.2.2 Unscheduled Maintenance. During the course of a preflight inspection, the remote PIC may discover a small UAS component is in need of servicing (such as lubrication), repair, modification, overhaul, or replacement outside of the scheduled maintenance period as a result of normal flight operations or resulting from a mishap. In addition, the small UAS manufacturer or component manufacturer may require an unscheduled system software update to correct a problem. In the event such a condition is found, flight operations should not occur until the issue is corrected.

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7.3 Preflight Inspection. Pursuant to the requirements of § 107.49, in addition to assessing the intended area of operation and planning the operation as described above in paragraph 5.10, the remote PIC must inspect the small UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation prior to each flight. This inspection includes examining the small UAS for equipment damage or malfunction(s). This preflight inspection should be conducted in accordance with the small UAS manufacturer’s inspection procedures when available (usually found in the manufacturer’s owner or maintenance manual) and/or an inspection procedure developed by the small UAS owner or operator.

7.3.1 Creating an Inspection Program. As an option, small UAS owners or operators may wish to create an inspection program for their small UAS. The person creating such an inspection program may find sufficient details to assist in the development of a suitable inspection program tailored to a specific small UAS in a variety of industry programs.

7.3.2 Scalable Preflight Inspection. The preflight check as part of the inspection program should include an appropriate small UAS preflight inspection that is scalable to the small UAS, program, and operation that the remote PIC performs prior to each flight. An appropriate preflight inspection should encompass the entire system in order to determine a continued condition for safe operation prior to flight.

7.3.3 Title 14 CFR Part 43 Appendix D Guidelines. Another option and best practice may include opting to comply with the portions of part 43 appendix D. Although part 43 appendix D is technically a maintenance inspection checklist and not a preflight inspection checklist, it provides a logical and systematic approach to performing an inspection by dividing the aircraft into subgroups. It details inspection of the airframe, then the flight controls, then the batteries, then the engine, etc. Unlike manned aircraft that require significant disassembly, most small UAS inspection items are visible without necessitating the need for disassembly. In the absence of a manufacturer’s instructions, an operator may use part 43 appendix D as a guide to develop their own inspection program, but it is not comprehensive, as it does not address unique UAS features like datalinks or support equipment. An operator would need to identify those items not covered and include them in their inspection program.

7.3.4 Preflight Inspection Items. Even if the small UAS manufacturer has a written preflight inspection procedure, the FAA recommends the remote PIC ensure the following inspection items be incorporated into the remote PIC’s preflight inspection procedure. Such a practice will ensure the remote PIC accurately determines that the small UAS is in a condition for safe operation. The preflight inspection should include a visual or functional check of the following items.

1. Visual condition inspection of the small UAS components;
2. Airframe structure (including undercarriage), all flight control surfaces, and linkages;
3. Registration markings, for proper display and legibility (part 48, § 48.205);
4. Moveable control surface(s), including airframe attachment point(s);
5. Servo motor(s), including attachment point(s);
6. Propulsion system, including powerplant(s), propeller(s), rotor(s), ducted fan(s), etc.;
7. Check fuel for correct type and quantity;
8. Check that any equipment, such as a camera, is securely attached;
9. Check that control link connectivity is established between the aircraft and the CS;
10. Verify communication with small unmanned aircraft and that the small UAS has acquired GPS location from the minimum number of satellites specified by the manufacturer;
11. Verify all systems (e.g., aircraft and control unit) have an adequate power supply for the intended operation and are functioning properly;
12. Verify correct indications from avionics, including control link transceiver, communication/navigation equipment, and antenna(s);
13. Display panel, if used, is functioning properly;
14. Check ground support equipment, including takeoff and landing systems, for proper operation;
15. Verify adequate communication between CS and small unmanned aircraft exists; check to ensure the small UAS has acquired GPS location from the minimum number of satellites specified by the manufacturer;
16. Check for correct movement of control surfaces using the CS;
17. Check flight termination system, if applicable;
18. Check that the anti-collision light is functioning (if operating during civil twilight and night);
19. Calibrate small UAS compass prior to any flight;
20. Verify controller operation for heading and altitude;
21. Start the small UAS propellers to inspect for any imbalance or irregular operation;
22. At a controlled low altitude, fly within range of any interference and recheck all controls and stability; and
23. Check battery levels for the aircraft and CS.

7.3.5 Benefits of Recordkeeping. Small UAS owners and operators may find recordkeeping to be beneficial. This may be done by documenting any repair, modification, overhaul, or replacement of a system component resulting from normal flight operations, and recording the time-in-service for that component at the time of the maintenance procedure. The operator would then be able to establish a reliable maintenance schedule for the small UAS and its components. The use of hardcopy and/or electronic logbook format for recordkeeping, inclusive of all periodic inspections, maintenance, preventative maintenance, repairs, and alterations performed on the small UAS, is useful in documenting the history of the small UAS. Recordkeeping would include all components of the small UAS, including: small unmanned aircraft, CS, launch and recovery equipment, Command and Control (C2) link equipment, payload, and any other components required to safely operate the small UAS. Recordkeeping of documented maintenance and inspection events reinforces owner/operator responsibility through a systematic means to determine that the small UAS is in a condition for safe flight. Maintenance and inspection recordkeeping provides retrievable evidence of vital safety assessment data defining the condition of safety-critical systems and components supporting the decision to launch. For operators that rapidly accumulate flight operational hours/cycles, recordkeeping of a small UAS may provide an essential safety support. Methodical maintenance and inspection data collection can prove to be very helpful in the tracking of small UAS component service life, as well as systemic component, equipage, and structural failure events.


FAA’s Commentary from the Preamble of:

2020 Over People Regulation Amending the 2016 Rule

2. RISKS OF SMALL UAS OPERATIONS
Several commenters generally supported small UAS operations over people, and offered various suggestions. A commenter supported operations over people by those who conduct pre- and post-flight inspections of the small UAS and operate in a safe manner. Another commenter supported operations over people if the regulations mirror those of general aviation aircraft operating in a similar capacity. One commenter also expressed concerns about remote communication for UAS operations, stating that the U.S. must take steps to protect the “RF spectrum.” In response to these comments, the FAA notes that the requirement to conduct safe operations exists in §§ 107.15, 107.19, and 107.23 and the requirement to conduct a preflight inspection is codified at § 107.49; moreover, small UAS and manned aircraft have different safety requirements and operational considerations, which the FAA has addressed in distinct regulations. As for protection of radio frequencies (RF) for small unmanned aircraft operations, the Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems rule, which appears in this same issue of the Federal Register, addresses concerns about radio frequencies and UAS operations.

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Some commenters recommended allowing operations over people only if the remote pilot has an emergency plan to land the small unmanned aircraft safely away from people. Section 107.23 currently prohibits operating a small UAS in a manner so as to endanger the life or property of another. Although the FAA declines to require remote pilots to have an emergency plan, contingency planning may be necessary to mitigate the potential risks of undue hazards that could endanger persons or property on the ground. Section 107.49(a) requires that, prior to flight, the remote pilot must assess the operating environment and consider the risks to persons and property in the immediate vicinity. The FAA recommends that, as part of this assessment, remote pilots utilize a risk mitigation process prior to the initiation of every small UAS operation to control or eliminate hazards.[25] This may include emergency landing contingency planning. Additionally, remote pilots may only operate over people if they have an eligible small unmanned aircraft.

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One commenter believed parachutes are not necessary based on the accident record for small unmanned aircraft or the ASSURE report. The UAS Program Leader for the Memphis Fire Department wrote that if parachutes are required, these systems are unable to be tested. He noted that the fire department performs a preflight safety inspection and flight check before every takeoff, but would be unable to test, check, or inspect a parachute system. The FAA clarifies that a deployable device system is not required. Applicants have the discretion to incorporate the use of a deployable device.

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Flytcam Motion Pictures expressed concern that many pilots lack both the technical understanding of various systems and procedures required to operate safely and to understand the regulations in part 107. While agreeing the pilot should not be able to change the mode inadvertently, Flytcam was concerned the Agency had “a lot of confidence that the pilot will ensure the aircraft is configured properly.” The FAA does not share these concerns because the regulations require remote pilot operating instructions to describe how to verify and change the mode or configuration of the small unmanned aircraft. Remote pilots who hold certificates under part 107 are capable of using the remote pilot operating instructions to determine how to employ the appropriate mode or configuration for the intended operation. The remote pilot in command is also responsible for complying with all applicable regulations, including conducting a preflight inspection.

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As discussed previously, knowledge degrades over time and requiring recurrent training provides assurances that experienced remote pilots remain aware of the specifics of operating a small UAS. Additionally, as noted in the NPRM, the FAA finds it necessary to ensure consistency in remote pilots’ knowledge of the topic areas for the safe operation of small UAS. To compensate for the differences between manned aircraft and small unmanned aircraft, the list of knowledge areas includes topics that are specific to small UAS operations. For example, determining the performance of a manned aircraft is distinct from the manner in which a pilot should determine the performance of a small UAS; in this regard, the preflight check requirements of § 107.49 are distinct from those codified in part 91 and in other, similar regulations specific to manned aircraft.

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The findings of the Secretary are based on compliance with the requirements outlined in this rule. The requirements and limitations of part 107, as amended by this rule, indicate small UAS operations can occur safely without the small UAS having an airworthiness certificate. For example, under the existing requirements of part 107, a remote pilot must conduct a pre-flight inspection in accordance with § 107.49. The remote pilot would, if operating over people, ensure that the aircraft meets the eligibility requirements to operate over people, as discussed in the preamble of this rule. Similarly, operations at night may only occur after the remote pilot has taken the updated knowledge test or training that includes content on night operations and when the small unmanned aircraft maintains an illuminated and flashing anti-collision light. This rule does not require pilots conducting operations under part 107 to hold a medical certificate. Remote pilots who hold a part 107 certificate, however, will remain included in the national pilot database; such inclusion is a necessary means of oversight. Moreover, the Secretary finds small UAS operations can occur safely under part 107 as long as the remote pilot holds a remote pilot certificate, pursuant to § 107.12.

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The FAA considered hands-on remote pilot flight training as part of the requirements for operating a small unmanned aircraft over people. The FAA has determined that it is unnecessary to require additional knowledge testing or training for operations over people beyond the initial testing and initial or recurrent training requirements of part 107. Questions and training specific to operations over people may be added to the testing and training in the existing areas of knowledge in §§ 107.73 and 107.74 without the need for an additional knowledge area. As stated previously, the FAA declines to require practical training for part 107 remote pilots. Additionally, the FAA does not find it necessary to tailor the subject areas to specific small UAS, because existing systems vary widely. Furthermore, the remote pilot is already required to comply with all applicable regulations, including the preflight familiarization and inspection requirements, to ensure that their small UAS is in proper working condition prior to operation.

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Footnote 70  See 14 CFR 107.49(a), which requires remote pilots in command to assess the operating environment and consider risks to persons and property in the immediate vicinity of the intended operation, prior to each operation.

2016 Final Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule Discussion on Section 107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation 

The NPRM proposed to require that, prior to flight, the remote pilot in command must ensure that all persons directly involved in the small UAS operation receive a briefing that includes operating conditions, emergency procedures, contingency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and potential hazards. The FAA proposed this requirement because, as discussed in the previous section, this rule will allow a small unmanned aircraft to fly over people who are directly participating in the small UAS operation. A preflight familiarization briefing would help ensure that these people have greater situational awareness and are better able to avoid the flight path of the small unmanned aircraft if the remote pilot in command were to lose positive control of the aircraft or if the aircraft were to experience a mechanical failure.

The Travelers Companies said the FAA should modify proposed § 107.49 to eliminate the “briefing” requirement for operations conducted without a visual observer or other crew members.

If the remote pilot in command is conducting a small UAS operation entirely by him or herself, there is no one else that he or she can brief. Additional regulatory text is not necessary to explain this concept. However, upon reviewing the regulatory text of § 107.49(a)(2), the FAA noted that the proposed briefing requirement would apply to people who are “involved” in the small UAS operation, while the exception to the flightover-people restriction discussed earlier will apply to people who are “directly participating” in the small UAS operation. Because the briefing requirement is supposed to apply to people who may have a small unmanned aircraft fly over them, the FAA has amended § 107.49(a)(2) to reference people who are directly participating in the small UAS operation.

The FAA also noted that the proposed requirement to convey important information in the form of a briefing was needlessly prescriptive. Thus, the FAA has amended § 107.49(a)(2) in the final rule to simply require that the remote pilot in command ensure that persons directly participating in the small UAS operation are informed about the operating conditions, emergency procedures, contingency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and potential hazards. This information could be conveyed through a briefing or through some other means that would reasonably be expected to inform the recipient.

vi. Preflight Assessment of the Operating Area and Ensuring that the Aircraft Poses No Undue Hazard

Within the above constraints, the NPRM proposed a two-part performance-based standard for mitigating loss-of-positive control risk. The first part consisted of a preflight assessment of the operating environment. The second part consisted of a requirement to ensure that the small unmanned aircraft will pose no undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property in the event of a loss of positive control of the aircraft for any reason.

1. Preflight Assessment of the Operating Environment
The NPRM proposed to require that, prior to flight, the operator must become familiar with the confined area of operation by assessing the operating environment and assessing risks to persons and property in the immediate vicinity both on the surface and in the air. As part of this operating environment assessment, the operator would need to consider conditions that could pose a hazard to the operation of the small UAS as well as conditions in which the operation of the small UAS could pose a hazard to other aircraft or persons or property on the ground. Accordingly, the operating environment assessment proposed in the NPRM would include the consideration of: (1) local weather conditions; (2) local airspace and any flight restrictions; (3) the location of persons and property on the ground; and (4) any other ground hazards.

For the reasons discussed below, this rule will finalize the operating environment assessment as part of the preflight familiarization provision as proposed in the NPRM, but will change the reference from “operator” to “remote pilot in command” to reflect the change in the crewmember framework discussed in section III.E.1 of this preamble.

Boeing asserted that the proposed rule imposes a requirement to assess risk, but provides no criteria against which to measure that risk. The commenter therefore recommended the FAA revise the proposed provision to include criteria to measure risk (e.g., reference the Structural Repair Manual (SRM) or similar criteria). The commenter also noted that there is no requirement to determine if the risk is acceptable, and recommended the FAA clarify this issue to ensure appropriate compliance with, and consistent interpretation of, the regulation.

As discussed in the next section of this preamble, this rule will require the remote pilot in command to ensure that the small UAS will pose no undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property in the event of a loss of control of the aircraft for any reason. Section 107.49 is intended to help the remote pilot in command satisfy this requirement by having the remote pilot in command assess the operating environment so that he or she can design the operation, as well as any mitigation, to ensure that the small unmanned aircraft does not create an undue hazard if positive control is lost.

As a performance-based requirement, it is not the intent of this section to be prescriptive with regard to how remote pilots conduct an assessment of their operating environment. Because there is a diverse range of aircraft and operating environments that could exist for part 107 operations, a prescriptive preflight-assessment standard may be more burdensome than necessary in some instances. For example, a remote pilot in command operating a small UAS in an empty rural area would not need to look at the same things to assure the safety of the operation as a remote pilot in command operating a small UAS in a crowded urban environment. The guidance material which the FAA has issued concurrently with this rule provides examples and best practices for how to conduct the preflight assessment of the operating area and assess risks that may affect the small UAS operation. The FAA will also consider publishing industry best practices in future small UAS guidance that will assist remote pilots in assessing risk.

The Professional Helicopter Pilots Association said that, prior to flight, the remote pilot should be required to obtain a briefing, similar to a manned-aircraft pilot’s briefing, which would include weather, NOTAMs, and any other pertinent information for the area in which they intend to operate.

As discussed in sections III.E.2 and III.E.5 of this preamble, this rule includes requirements for assessing the operating environment with regard to weather and NOTAMs. The remote pilot in command is responsible for satisfying those requirements. The remote pilot may choose to use the means suggested by the commenter to help satisfy his or her regulatory obligations, or he or she may choose some other method of obtaining the pertinent information. As long as the pertinent regulatory requirements are fulfilled, the means by which the remote pilot in command accomplishes this goal is within his or her discretion.

API encouraged the FAA to consider all provisions of the Helicopter Safety Advisory Conference’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Guidelines, including provisions related to pre-flight briefings, as the rule is finalized. The FAA concurs with the API’s recommendation to consider the provisions of the Helicopter Safety Advisory Conference Recommended Practices 15-1 Unmanned Aerial Systems Guidelines document (HSAC RP UASRP 15-1) published in February 2015. After reviewing the HSAC RP UASRP 15-1 guidelines, the FAA finds that the recommended practices address all of the requirements found in § 107.49.

The Kansas State University UAS Program also recommended that the assessment consider potential issues with link integrity to the aircraft from obstacles between the ground antennas and the aircraft (e.g., trees) or electromagnetic interference from nearby RF sources such as radio towers and radars. In response, the FAA notes that this concern is addressed in § 107.49(a)(3). Section 107.49(a)(3) requires that the remote pilot ensure that all control links between ground station and the small unmanned aircraft are working properly. The remote pilot in command may not commence a small UAS operation if a control link is working improperly (whether as a result of radio interference or for some other reason). The FAA also expects that the remote pilot in command will develop a contingency plan for ensuring that the small unmanned aircraft does not pose an undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property if positive control of the small unmanned aircraft is lost through a disruption in the data control link.

2. Undue Hazard if There is a Loss of Control
The NPRM proposed that, after becoming familiar with the confined area of operation and conducting an operating environment assessment, the operator must ensure that the small unmanned aircraft will pose no undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property in the event of a loss of positive control of the aircraft for any reason. The FAA proposed this performance-based requirement instead of a more prescriptive standard because it would provide the operator with significant flexibility to choose how to mitigate the hazards associated with loss of aircraft control.

In a joint submission, PlaneSense and Cobalt Air stated that the language in proposed § 107.19(b) sets a different standard from that in § 107.23 (hazardous operation). They noted that while § 107.19(b) requires that small UAS operations “pose no undue hazard to other aircraft, people or property[,]” § 107.23(b) prohibits persons from operating a small UAS in a “careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another[.]” The commenters argued that these two standards are not consistent, because § 107.23 does not include other aircraft within the scope of the third parties who must be protected. The commenters went on to say that these discrepancies create inconsistencies which result in incomplete guidance for the operators of small UAS, and may result in an increase in danger to the public. The commenters suggested that the appropriate standard is to be found in § 107.19(b), and that § 107.23 should be changed to match it. Finally, the commenters asked the FAA to clarify whether “other aircraft” includes other unmanned aircraft.

Part 107 prohibits a small UAS operation from endangering life or property, and prohibits a remote pilot from operating a small UAS in a careless or reckless manner. Property includes other aircraft, including other unmanned aircraft. These two requirements complement, rather than contradict, one another, and provide the remote pilot with the flexibility to adjust his or her operation according to the environment in which he or she is operating. For example, if the operation takes place in a residential area, the remote pilot in command could ask everyone in the area of operation to remain inside their homes while the operation is conducted. If the operation takes place in an area where other air traffic could pose a hazard, the remote pilot could advise local air traffic control as to the location of his or her area of operation and add extra visual observers to the operation so that they can notify the remote pilot if other aircraft are approaching the area of operation. These precautions would be one way to ensure that the operation will not pose an undue hazard to other aircraft, people or property in the event of a loss of control of the aircraft.

Additionally, during the operation of the small unmanned aircraft, the remote pilot in command is prohibited from operating the aircraft in a careless and reckless manner, further ensuring that the operation does not pose an undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property in the event of a loss of control of the aircraft.

The NextGen Air Transportation Program, NC State University commented that § 107.19(b) is “not realistic.” The commenter stated that the remote pilot can do everything possible to minimize the risk and harm possible in the event of loss of positive control, but asserted that requiring that no damage be caused without requiring fly-away prevention or other risk management mechanisms does not align with the general NPRM objectives. Similarly, ALPA stated that many small unmanned aircraft, particularly those with multiple propulsion units, may become highly unstable when they enter a state of “lost link” or “loss of positive control.” This commenter also asserted its strong belief that if lost link occurs, mitigations to safely perform auto-hover, auto-land, and return-to-home maneuvers, and geo-fencing protection, must be incorporated into the navigation and control systems for a small UAS to safely land without harm to persons or property. The undue hazard standard in this rule is a performance-based standard, which the remote pilot in command may satisfy through operational or equipage/technological mitigations. In section III.E.3.b.vi of this preamble, the FAA describes equipment that remote pilots may incorporate into their small unmanned aircraft systems as one means of complying with this requirement. Due to the diversity and rapidly evolving nature of small UAS operations, this rule allows individual remote pilots to determine what equipage methods, if any, mitigate risk sufficiently to meet the performance-based requirements of this rule, such as the prohibition on creating an undue hazard if there is a loss of aircraft control. This provides the greatest amount of regulatory flexibility while maintaining the appropriate level of safety commensurate with part 107 operations.

The methods suggested by the commenters are some, but not all of the possible mitigations available for remote pilots of UAS. The FAA recognizes that it is impossible to prevent every hazard in the event of a loss of control of the small unmanned aircraft; however, as several commenters stated, this rule requires remote pilots to do everything possible to minimize risk and harm in the event of loss of positive control.

NOAA commented that § 107.19(b) should be revised to include “protected wildlife” in the class of entities to be protected from undue hazard in the case of loss of positive control. NOAA states that this change would acknowledge the importance of other Federal statutes already in place to protect, conserve, and recover vulnerable wildlife populations and ensure the FAA-regulated community is aware of them and that the final rule does not contradict them.

The FAA notes that other Federal statutes already in place establish laws on the protection of wildlife. Independent of this rule, the remote pilot in command is responsible for complying with any other Federal, State, or local laws that apply to his or her small UAS operation.