What is Part 107?
Part 107 is a phrase many people hear, but a lot of people don’t understand. Part 107 refers to the subset of the United States Code of Federal Regulations that relate to the commercial operations of small unmanned aircraft, more commonly known as drones. These may be fixed wing airplanes, helicopters or virtually any type of flying machine that weighs less than 55 pounds and is radio controlled by a remotely-located operator.
Is a Part 107 license required?
To operate a small unmanned aircraft in any commercial capacity, the operator must be certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). A certificated operator is known as a Remote Pilot. That person has passed an FAA exam and been provided with an FAA certificate that contains the person’s name, address, and certificate number. Any certificated Remote Pilot should have that card on his or her person to prove FAA certification.
Commercial drone flights by non-certificated pilots is illegal and can result in extensive fines from the FAA. The FAA is actively soliciting reports of non-certificated activity and is increasing its enforcement efforts.
Where can a Remote Pilot legally fly?
A certificated Remote Pilot has undergone extensive training in the National Airspace System. This defines the volume of air that covers the United States, divided up into specific airspace classes. Remote Pilots are required to understand the requirements and operating rules for each class of airspace. They may operate freely in some classes of airspace. In others, they must obtain a formal Airspace Authorization prior to commercial flight. The Remote Pilot is legally responsible for all operations within the National Airspace System.
What is a commercial flight operation?
Anything that is not considered a hobby or recreational drone flight is covered under Part 107. For example, a drone pilot who has not obtained a Part 107 Remote Pilot certificate may fly his aircraft for fun. He or she may take pictures and share those pictures with friends and family. However, a recreational drone pilot may not provide pictures to a real estate agent, land developer, engineer, farmer or any other entity for business or organizational purposes. Even if the pictures were given freely, without charge, the flight operation would be considered commercial and a Part 107 Remote Pilot certificate would be required.
It does not matter whether or not money changes hands. All that matters is the purpose of the flight. If it is in furtherance of a business or organization, it is a commercial flight and falls under the jurisdiction of Part 107.
How can I make sure that the drone pilot I hire is legal?
Any commercial Remote Pilot must have an FAA Remote Pilot certificate available for inspection to prove compliance with Part 107 flight operations. Do not hire any Remote Pilot who cannot show you his or her FAA Remote Pilot Certificate.
How can I become an FAA Remote Pilot?
To become certificated, you must pass a written test administered by the FAA. You may study for this using any number of methods and the FAA provides all the necessary textbooks and documents as free PDFs. However, these were not specifically designed for drone pilots. They were written for pilots of manned aircraft and contain a huge amount of information that is unrelated to drones. You must filter through all the available documents and find the information that relates to drone pilots.
A better alternative is to take the Gold Seal UAV Ground School. This online course will thoroughly prepare you for the FAA written test using videos and interactive presentations. It is a fun way to learn the aeronautical knowledge that every Remote Pilot must have. Visit Gold Seal at www.UAVGroundSchool.comfor a free test drive.