As of 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made it a requirement for drone operators to pass an Unmanned Aircraft Safety (UAS) aeronautical test to fly drones commercially. This is referred to as Part 107. Professional unmanned aviation covers a broad spectrum of uses for drones weighing less than 55 pounds, and Unmanned Safety Institute is the leading provider of safety education and training for UAS safety according to Part 107. We focus solely on UAS safety, and equip individuals, academic institutions, industry partners, and flight service companies to be FAA Part 107 compliant in flight. In this blog, we’ll provide a quick guide to Part 107’s small unmanned aircraft regulations.
The operator manipulating the controls of the drone should avoid manned aircraft and never operate in a careless manner. In addition, you must also always keep the drone within your sight and have a visual observer to keep your aircraft within unaided sight (i.e. no binoculars). However, you must still keep your drone close enough to be able to see it if something unexpected happens. The FAA requires that you do not take responsibility for watching more than one drone at a time. You can fly during daylight or in twilight (which is 30 minutes before official sunrise or 30 minutes after official sunset), with appropriate lighting the maximum allowable altitude is 400 feet above the ground, and the maximum speed you can fly is 100 miles per hour. You can’t fly a small drone over anyone who is not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, or not inside a covered vehicle. However, this vehicle must be stationary as operations from a moving vehicle are not allowed. You can carry an external load if it is securely attached and does not adversely affect the flight or controllability of the aircraft.
You are responsible for making sure a drone is safe before flying. However, the FAA does not require small drones to comply with current agency airworthiness standards or obtain aircraft certification. The pilot instead will have to perform a preflight check of the drone both visually and operationally to ensure that the systems are functioning properly. This includes making sure the communications link between the control station and the drone is effective. You can also transport property for compensation or hire within state boundaries provided the drone, payload, and cargo weighs less than 55 pounds total and you obey the other flight rules.
To operate a small unmanned aircraft under Part 107, you need to obtain a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating, or be under the direct supervision of a person who holds that certificate. You must also make sure your drone is registered.
When you take the test to become a drone pilot, you will be tested on several different areas of unmanned aircraft safety. These include:
- Regulations relating to drone system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation.
- Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation.
- Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on drone performance.
- Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance.
- Emergency procedures.
- Crew resource management.
- Radio communication procedures.
- Determining the performance of small unmanned aircrafts.
- Psychological effects of drugs and alcohol on flight.
- Aeronautical decision-making and judgement.
- Airport operations.
- Maintenance and pre-flight inspections.
If you take the test and don’t do as well as you plan, you can retake the knowledge test for 14 days from the date of the previous failure. After that two week span, you can retake the test, and hopefully, pass!
At Unmanned Safety Institute, we are the leader in training and certification for remote drone pilots according to FAA Part 107 standards. Our training programs have been used by some of the world’s largest government organizations and commercial enterprises. We are the only remote pilot training organization that is recognized by both major aviation insurance providers and the FAA. We approach safety from tradition and the “time-honored safety practices” that have made commercial aviation the safest mode of travel. Our drone safety courses are designed to be flexible and self-paced so you can learn on your schedule. Contact us today to learn more!