FAA releases full Part 107 Small UAS Rule

FAA Part 107

The rule comes into effect in 60 days time…. August 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has finalized the first operational rules (PDF) for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”), opening pathways towards fully integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace. These new regulations work to harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives.

“We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We look forward to working with the aviation community to support innovation, while maintaining our standards as the safest and most complex airspace in the world.”

According to industry estimates, the rule could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.

The new rule, which takes effect in late August, offers safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations.


The rule’s provisions are designed to minimize risks to other aircraft and people and property on the ground. The regulations require pilots to keep an unmanned aircraft within visual line of sight. Operations are allowed during daylight and during twilight if the drone has anti-collision lights. The new regulations also address height and speed restrictions and other operational limits, such as prohibiting flights over unprotected people on the ground who aren’t directly participating in the UAS operation.

The FAA is offering a process to waive some restrictions if an operator proves the proposed flight will be conducted safely under a waiver. The FAA will make an online portal available to apply for these waivers in the months ahead.

“With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach that balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAA’s mission to protect public safety,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “But this is just our first step. We’re already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations.”

Under the final rule, the person actually flying a drone must be at least 16 years old and have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, an individual must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate. If qualifying under the latter provision, a pilot must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and must take a UAS online training course provided by the FAA. The TSA will conduct a security background check of all remote pilot applications prior to issuance of a certificate.

Operators are responsible for ensuring a drone is safe before flying, but the FAA is not requiring small UAS to comply with current agency airworthiness standards or aircraft certification. Instead, the remote pilot will simply have to perform a preflight visual and operational check of the small UAS to ensure that safety-pertinent systems are functioning property.  This includes checking the communications link between the control station and the UAS.

Although the new rule does not specifically deal with privacy issues in the use of drones, and the FAA does not regulate how UAS gather data on people or property, the FAA is acting to address privacy considerations in this area. The FAA strongly encourages all UAS pilots to check local and state laws before gathering information through remote sensing technology or photography.

As part of a privacy education campaign, the agency will provide all drone users with recommended privacy guidelines as part of the UAS registration process and through the FAA’s B4UFly mobile app. The FAA also will educate all commercial drone pilots on privacy during their pilot certification process; and will issue new guidance to local and state governments on drone privacy issues. The FAA’s effort builds on the privacy “best practices” (PDF) the National Telecommunications and Information Administration published last month as the result of a year-long outreach initiative with privacy advocates and industry.

Part 107 will not apply to model aircraft.  Model aircraft operators must continue to satisfy all the criteria specified in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (PDF) (which will now be codified in Part 101), including the stipulation they be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes.

As we expected from the leaked information these past few days, the FAA have today released Part 107:

https://www.suasnews.com/2016/06/part-107-small-unmanned-aircraft-systems-suas-summary-major-provisions-14-cfr-107/

https://www.suasnews.com/2016/06/part-107-drone-operators-need-know/

https://www.suasnews.com/2016/06/part-107-pre-flight-checklist/

The summary to save you clicking through.

Operational Limitations Operational Limitations

• Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).

• Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS. Alternatively, the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the visual observer.

• At all times the small unmanned aircraft must remain close enough to the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS for those people to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.

• Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary vehicle.

• Daylight-only operations, or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting.

• Must yield right of way to other aircraft.

• May use visual observer (VO) but not required.

• First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement but can be used as long as requirement is satisfied in other ways.

• Maximum groundspeed of 100 mph (87 knots).

• Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a structure.

• Minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from control station.

• Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission.

• Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without ATC permission.

• No person may act as a remote pilot in command or VO for more than one unmanned aircraft operation at one time.

• No operations from a moving aircraft.

• No operations from a moving vehicle unless the operation is over a sparsely populated area.

• No careless or reckless operations.

• No carriage of hazardous materials.

• Requires preflight inspection by the remote pilot in command.

• A person may not operate a small unmanned aircraft if he or she knows or has reason to know of any physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of a small UAS.

• Foreign-registered small unmanned aircraft are allowed to operate under part 107 if they satisfy the requirements of part 375.

• External load operations are allowed if the object being carried by the unmanned aircraft is securely attached and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.

• Transportation of property for compensation or hire allowed provided that

o The aircraft, including its attached systems, payload and cargo weigh less than 55 pounds total;

o The flight is conducted within visual line of sight and not from a moving vehicle or aircraft; and

o The flight occurs wholly within the bounds of a State and does not involve transport between

(1) Hawaii and another place in Hawaii through airspace outside Hawaii; (2) the District of Columbia and another place in the District of Columbia; or

(3) a territory or possession of the United States and another place in the same territory or possession.

• Most of the restrictions discussed above are waivable if the applicant demonstrates that his or her operation can safely be conducted under the terms of a certificate of waiver.

Remote Pilot in Command Certification and Responsibilities • Establishes a remote pilot in command position.

• A person operating a small UAS must either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who does hold a remote pilot certificate (remote pilot in command).

• To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, a person must: o Demonstrate aeronautical knowledge by either:  Passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center; or  Hold a part 61 pilot certificate other than student pilot, complete a flight review within the previous 24 months, and complete a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA.

o Be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration.

o Be at least 16 years old.

• Part 61 pilot certificate holders may obtain a temporary remote pilot certificate immediately upon submission of their application for a permanent certificate. Other applicants will obtain a temporary remote pilot certificate upon successful completion of TSA security vetting. The FAA anticipates that it will be able to issue a temporary remote pilot certificate within 10 business days after receiving a completed remote pilot certificate application.

• Until international standards are developed, foreign- certificated UAS pilots will be required to obtain an FAA issued remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.
A remote pilot in command must:

• Make available to the FAA, upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing, and any associated documents/records required to be kept under the rule.

• Report to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in at least serious injury, loss of consciousness, or property damage of at least $500.

• Conduct a preflight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is in a condition for safe operation.

• Ensure that the small unmanned aircraft complies with the existing registration requirements specified in § 91.203(a)(2).

A remote pilot in command may deviate from the requirements of this rule in response to an in-flight emergency.

Aircraft Requirements • FAA airworthiness certification is not required. However, the remote pilot in command must conduct a preflight check of the small UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation.
Model Aircraft • Part 107 does not apply to model aircraft that satisfy all of the criteria specified in section 336 of Public Law 112-95. • The rule codifies the FAA’s enforcement authority in part 101 by prohibiting model aircraft operators from endangering the safety of the NAS.