FAA Unmanned Aircraft System (Drone) Regulations

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently placed new regulations into effect regarding the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – sometimes referred to as drones. Below is a summary of key points of the new regulation.

What is an unmanned aircraft system (UAS)?
• An unmanned aircraft system is an unmanned aircraft and the equipment necessary for the safe and efficient operation of that aircraft.
• An unmanned aircraft is a component of a UAS. It is defined by statute as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.
• The NEW Small UAS Rule (Part 107), including all pilot and operating rules, is in effect as of 12:01 a.m. EDT on August 29, 2016.
• An unmanned aircraft system (UAS), sometimes called a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot onboard – instead, the UAS is controlled from an operator on the ground.
• When you fly a drone in the United States, it is your responsibility to understand and abide by the rules.
• The rules for operating an unmanned aircraft depend on why you want to fly.

To fly UAS for commercial use, you must follow the FAA’s set of operational rules (known as “Part 107”). These rules went into effect on August 29, 2016.
What is a commercial use of UAS?

Any commercial use in connection with a business, including:
• Selling photos or videos taken from a UAS.
• Using UAS to provide contract services, such as industrial equipment or safety inspections.
• Using UAS to provide professional services, such as security or telecommunications.
• Using UAS to monitor the progress of work your company is performing.
• What are some examples of commercial uses of UAS?
• Real estate, professional photography, film or television production, services for mapping or land surveys, agriculture, construction and engineering, security.

What requirements to fly commercially?
Remote Pilot requirements:
• Must be at least 16 years of age.
• Must hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of someone holding a remote pilot airman certificate (Pass Part 107 exam).
• Must pass the applicable Transportation Security Administration (TSA) vetting.

UAS requirements:
• Must weigh less than 55 lbs.
• Must undergo pre-flight check by remote pilot in command (You or the person supervising the operation).
• Location requirements:
• Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required Air Traffic Controller (ATC) permission.
• Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without ATC permission.

If I meet all the requirements to fly commercially, what are the operating rules?
• Fly under 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if flying at an altitude higher than 400 feet AGL, stay within 400 feet of a structure.
• Keep the UAS in sight, either by the remote pilot in command or a visual observer.
• Fly during daylight hours or civil twilight hours with appropriate anti-collision lighting.
• Fly at or below 100 mph.
• Yield right of way to manned aircraft.
• Do not fly over people.
• Do not fly from a moving vehicle.

What is recreational use of sUAS?
• Operation of an unmanned aircraft for personal interests and enjoyment.
• Using a sUAS to take photographs for your own personal use would be considered recreational; using the same device to take photographs or videos for compensation or sale to another individual would be considered a commercial operation.
• Should check with the FAA for further determination as to what constitutes commercial or other non-hobby, non-recreational sUAS operations.


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