Table of Contents of Article
- 1 Section 107.7 Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance.
- 2 My Commentary on Section 107.7 Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance
- 3 2020 Amendment to Part 107 Where FAA Discussed 107.7 Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance
- 4 2016 Final Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule Where FAA Discussed Section 107.7 Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance
Section 107.7 Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance.
(a) A remote pilot in command, owner, or person manipulating the flight controls of a small unmanned aircraft system must—
(1) Have in that person’s physical possession and readily accessible the remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating and identification when exercising the privileges of that remote pilot certificate.
(2) Present his or her remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating and identification that contains the information listed at § 107.67(b)(1) through (3) for inspection upon a request from—
(i) The Administrator;
(ii) An authorized representative of the National Transportation Safety Board;
(iii) Any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer; or
(iv) An authorized representative of the Transportation Security Administration.
(3) Make available, upon request, to the Administrator any document, record, or report required to be kept under the regulations of this chapter.
(b) The remote pilot in command, visual observer, owner, operator, or person manipulating the flight controls of a small unmanned aircraft system must, upon request, allow the Administrator to make any test or inspection of the small unmanned aircraft system, the remote pilot in command, the person manipulating the flight controls of a small unmanned aircraft system, and, if applicable, the visual observer to determine compliance with this part.
(c) Any person holding an FAA-accepted declaration of compliance under subpart D of this part must, upon request, make available to the Administrator:
(1) The declaration of compliance required under subpart D of this part; and
(2) Any other document, record, or report required to be kept under the regulations of this chapter.
(d) Any person holding an FAA-accepted declaration of compliance under subpart D of this part must, upon request, allow the Administrator to inspect its facilities, technical data, and any manufactured small UAS and witness any tests necessary to determine compliance with that subpart.
My Commentary on Section 107.7 Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance
Notice in paragraph (a) there are three people that are required to turn over certain information: the remote pilot in command, the owner of the aircraft, and a person manipulating the flight controls. This creates an interesting scenario where the OWNER of the aircraft has to turn over the remote pilot certificate of the pilot.
Paragraph (b) is broader than (a). (b) lists the owner and operator which were not listed in paragraph (a) as ALSO being on the hook to allow the FAA to do testing and inspection. Interestingly, the FAA can test and inspect: the UAS, the remote pilot in command, person manipulating the controls, and a visual observer if there is one used.
2020 Amendment to Part 107 Where FAA Discussed 107.7 Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance
INSPECTION, TESTING, AND DEMONSTRATION OF COMPLIANCE
Section 107.7 contains certain requirements pertaining to inspection, testing, and demonstrations of compliance. In accordance with § 107.7(a), remote pilots must present their remote pilot certificate and identification on request from the Administrator. This rule extends that obligation to require remote pilots to present their remote pilot certificate and identification on request from: The Administrator; an authorized representative of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB); any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer; and any authorized representative of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). In addition, the final rule requires that the person operating the small UAS must have their remote pilot certificate and identification in their possession when operating.
This rule also adds requirements to § 107.7 for any person holding an FAA-accepted declaration of compliance under subpart D. Under this rule, any person holding an FAA-accepted declaration of compliance must, on request, provide to the FAA such declaration and any other document, record, or report required to be kept in accordance with the regulations of this chapter. Furthermore, this rule allows the FAA to inspect the person’s facilities, technical data, and small unmanned aircraft covered by the declaration of compliance to determine compliance. The amendments to § 107.7 are discussed in Section XI.A. of this preamble.
A. Presentation of Remote Pilot in Command Certificate
The Agency proposed to add to § 107.7 the requirement for remote pilots to present their remote pilot in command certificate with a small UAS rating as well as a form of identification to authorized individuals on request. This update aligns the text of § 107.7 with § 61.3(l). The existing rule requires the remote pilot in command, owner, or person manipulating the controls of the small UAS to present to the Administrator, on request, the remote pilot certificate with small UAS rating and any other document, record, or report required under part 107. The proposed change to § 107.7 expanded the list of authorized individuals who might request the information, to include authorized representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) or Transportation Security Administration (TSA); or any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer. Under the proposed rule, the form of identification would include any identification containing the person’s photograph, signature, date of birth, and permanent mailing address.
Several commenters expressed support for the proposed changes to § 107.7. These commenters stated the proposal aligns with § 61.3(l) requirements, would help enforce a safe UAS operating environment, or would aid investigations into violations of Federal and State rules. Other commenters indicated § 107.7 should include modifications or additional requirements. Individual commenters recommended the FAA allow for the use of electronic credentials to facilitate compliance with the requirement in a convenient manner. The Agency declines to allow electronic credentials as a form of identification, as the lack of standardization in electronic credentials in the United States eliminates the ability of authorized persons to verify the identity of the remote pilot. A commenter also encouraged the Agency to allow a passport to be used as an identification document even though it does not include a mailing address. According to this commenter, allowing the use of a passport would more closely match the part 61 identification regulation. Part 61 and the text the Agency proposed for § 107.7 differ because part 61 does not require identification for the purpose of § 61.3(l) to include a mailing address. Although part 107 requires a mailing address for the purpose of being eligible to take a knowledge test under part 107, the Agency has determined a mailing address is not necessary for adequate identification of a remote pilot in command under § 107.7. This rule, therefore, contains a revision to the regulatory text to permit forms of identification that do not contain a mailing address for the purpose of presenting identification in accordance with § 107.7.
Two commenters suggested the FAA require the remote pilot in command to present his or her certificate and identification only when it is safe to do so, and does not pose a danger or hazard to persons, property, or public safety. The FAA declines to impose requirements based on prescriptive circumstances. However, authorized officials should allow ample time for the remote pilot to provide a form of identification and remote pilot certificate in a safe manner.
NFL, MLB, NASCAR, and NCAA, in a joint submission, expressed their support for the proposed changes to § 107.7, noting it is essential that local law enforcement officials have the authority to request remote pilot certificates because local law enforcement provides security services at the sporting events. The sports organizations also recommended adding private security officials who work with local law enforcement to enforce a temporary flight restriction or section 2209 designation to the list of individuals authorized to request remote pilot certificates and identification. Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers hold the appropriate authority to verify the identity of a remote pilot. The Agency declines to speculate on the division of authority within Federal, State, and local law enforcement organizations.
A few commenters opposed the FAA’s proposal to require UAS operators to present their pilot certification and identification to officials outside the FAA on request. These commenters supported the requirement to present their credentials to an FAA official who understands the regulations, but noted officials outside the FAA are not trained or supervised by the FAA, and were concerned about their ability to properly handle situations involving small UAS operations as a result. Another commenter suggested the small UAS operator should be required to present the documents if an incident occurs. Other individual commenters did not oppose the proposed provision, but recommended that the FAA work on educating law enforcement officials about who may operate UAS, and where, how and when they may operate. NASAO asked for clarification regarding Federal, State, or local officials requesting proof of an operator’s license and requested the Agency provide a clearer definition of the intent for enforcement.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the News Media Coalition commented that remote pilots in command should only be required to present their credentials when officials have reasonable suspicion that the remote pilot in command is engaging in criminal activity or violating FAA regulations. EFF asserted the proposed rule conflicts with existing Fourth Amendment law and to bring the proposal in line with the FAA’s rationale, EFF recommended the Agency amend § 107.7 to include the reasonable suspicion standard. The News Media Coalition indicated it does not oppose providing law enforcement with their certification papers under narrow and well-defined circumstances. However, the Coalition expressed concern that blanket authorization for local law enforcement to demand immediate presentation of papers would interfere with journalists’ First Amendment rights to lawfully gather the news without unwarranted government interference. The Coalition also recommended that the FAA provide law enforcement with training on the regulations to avoid government overreach.
To maintain the safety and security of the airspace, it is vital to know who is operating in the NAS. The FAA implements these regulatory inspection requirements as a measure to ensure this safety and security. The amended regulation neither abrogates the protections of the Fourth Amendment nor the responsibility to comply with it. The ability to identify remote pilots provides critical information to the Administrator, the NTSB, and law enforcement officials charged with ensuring public safety. Moreover, the amended regulation aligns the list of authorized individuals in § 107.7 with not only § 61.3(l), but other longstanding FAA regulations with similar requirements. The FAA has continuously conducted outreach efforts with Federal, State, and local law enforcement on small UAS operations. Additionally, the FAA has the Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP), which provides, as appropriate, aviation-related support and education to law enforcement agencies.
2016 Final Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule Where FAA Discussed Section 107.7 Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance
1. Inspection, Testing, and Demonstration of Compliance
The FAA’s oversight statutes, codified at 49 U.S.C. 44709 and 46104, provide the FAA with broad investigatory and inspection authority for matters within the FAA’s jurisdiction. Under section 46104, the FAA may subpoena witnesses and records, administer oaths, examine witnesses, and receive evidence at a place in the United States that the FAA designates. Under section 44709, the FAA may “reinspect at any time a civil aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, appliance, design organization, production certificate holder, air navigation facility, or agency, or reexamine an airman holding a certificate issued [by the FAA].”
The NPRM proposed to codify the FAA’s oversight authority in proposed § 107.7. First, § 107.7 would require the airman, visual observer, or owner of a small UAS to, upon FAA request, allow the FAA to make any test or inspection of the small unmanned aircraft system, the airman, and, if applicable, the visual observer to determine compliance with the provisions of proposed part 107. Second, § 107.7 would require an airman or owner of a small UAS to, upon FAA request, make available to the FAA any document, record, or report required to be kept by the applicable FAA regulations. For the reasons discussed below, this rule will finalize these provisions as proposed.
The Department of Defense Policy Board on Federal Aviation suggested that § 107.7(a) be reworded to limit its applicability to “civil operators,” not operators in general. The commenter asserted that this change would preserve public operators’ statutory authorities.
As discussed in section III.C.3 of this preamble, the applicability of part 107 is limited to civil aircraft. Thus, part 107 will not apply to public aircraft operations. Because public aircraft operations will not be subject to § 107.7 (or any other provision of part 107) there is no need to amend the regulatory text of § 107.7 with regard to civil aircraft.
The Kansas State University UAS Program asked the FAA to clarify, with respect to §107.7(b), what types of tests or inspections could be performed on the remote pilot or visual observer. Specifically, the commenter suggested that the FAA define whether such persons could be subjected to blood alcohol tests, drug tests, or knowledge tests. They also recommend that the section be reworded to reference § 91.17(c).
Section 107.7(b) codifies the FAA’s authority under 49 U.S.C. 44709 and 46104, which allow the FAA to inspect and investigate the remote pilot. This may involve a review, reinspection, or requalification of the remote pilot. With regard to requalification, 49 U.S.C. 44709 and § 107.7(b) allow the FAA to reexamine a remote pilot if the FAA has sufficient reason to believe that the remote pilot may not be qualified to exercise the privileges of his or her certificate. Additional guidance concerning the reexamination process can be found in FAA Order 8900.1, ch. 7, sec. 1.
Pertaining to the visual observer, as an active participant in small UAS operations, this person may be questioned with regard to his or her involvement in the operation. For example, if an FAA inspector has reason to believe that a visual observer was not provided with the preflight information required by § 107.49, the inspector may ask the visual observer questions to ascertain what happened. Because the visual observer is not an airman, the visual observer will not be subject to reexamination.
With regard to § 91.17(c), the FAA notes that, as discussed in section III.E.7.b of this preamble, § 107.27 will, among other things, require the remote pilot in command, the visual observer, and the person manipulating the flight controls of a small UAS to comply with § 91.17. This includes compliance with the alcohol-testing requirements of § 91.17(c).
The City and County of Denver, Colorado suggested that airports be given the same rights as those granted to the FAA under §107.7(b). The commenter argued that airport operators have a duty to protect airport property, and that that duty can be fulfilled only when the airport operator has the opportunity to determine the nature and airworthiness of a small UAS.
AUVSI suggested that the FAA allow designated representatives pursuant to 14 CFR part 183 to act on behalf of the Administrator in order to determine compliance with the new regulatory standards. The commenter asserted that the FAA will not have the necessary manpower or financial resources required to allow the UAS industry and its technology to continue to evolve at its own pace. An individual commenter suggested that the FAA delegate compliance and enforcement authority to law enforcement officers and NTSB representatives.
The FAA’s statute does not authorize the agency to delegate its formal enforcement functions. Because it lacks the pertinent statutory authority, the FAA cannot delegate its enforcement functions in the manner suggested by the commenters. The FAA notes, however, that even though it cannot delegate its formal enforcement functions, it has worked closely with outside stakeholders to incorporate their assistance in its oversight processes. For example, the FAA has recently issued guidance to State and local law enforcement agencies to support the partnership between the FAA and these agencies in addressing unauthorized UAS activities. The FAA anticipates continuing its existing partnerships to help detect and address unauthorized UAS activities, and the agency will consider other stakeholders’ requests to be part of the process of ensuring the safe and lawful use of small UAS.
One individual suggested that a remote pilot in command must enable and make available to the FAA any flight log recording if the aircraft and/or control station is capable of creating such a recording. In response, the FAA notes that this rule does not require that a small UAS operation have the capability to create a flight log recording. However, if a small UAS does create such a recording, § 107.7(b) will allow the FAA to inspect the small UAS (including the recording made by the small UAS) to determine compliance with the provisions of part 107.
One individual suggested that the wording of §107.7(b) be modified to permit the FAA to conduct only “non-destructive testing” in the event of a reported violation of one or more provisions of part 107. The commenter asserts that, as written, § 107.7(b) would permit the FAA to “destructively test” every small UAS “on whim.”
The FAA declines this suggestion because there could be circumstances where destructive testing of a small UAS may be necessary to determine compliance with part 107. The FAA emphasizes, however, that this type of decision would not be made lightly and would not be part of a typical FAA inspection. For example, the FAA’s guidance to FAA inspectors about how to conduct a typical ramp inspection specifically focuses on non-destructive methods that the inspector can use to determine whether an aircraft is in compliance with FAA regulations. The FAA anticipates that, just as with manned aircraft, destructive testing of a small UAS will, if ever conducted, occur highly infrequently.
One individual recommended that §107.7 be modified to require a remote pilot to make a photo ID available to the FAA on demand. The FAA did not propose this requirement in the NPRM, and as such, it is beyond the scope of this rule.