The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) new comprehensive regulations go into effect today for routine non-recreational use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – more popularly known as “drones.”
The provisions of the new rule – formally known as Part 107 – are designed to minimize risks to other aircraft and people and property on the ground. A summary is available here. (PDF)
The FAA has put several processes in place to help you take advantage of the rule.
Waivers: If your proposed operation doesn’t quite comply with Part 107 regulations, you’ll need to apply for a waiver of some restrictions. You’ll have to prove the proposed flight will be conducted safely under a waiver. Users must apply for these waivers at the online portal located at www.faa.gov/UAS
Airspace Authorization: You can fly your drone in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace without air traffic control authorization, but operations in any other airspace need air traffic approval. You must request access to controlled airspace via the electronic portal at www.faa.gov/UAS, not from individual air traffic facilities.
You may submit your requests starting today, but air traffic facilities will receive approved authorizations according to the following tentative schedule:
Class D & E Surface Area October 3, 2016
Class C October 31, 2016
Class B December 5, 2016
We will try to approve requests as soon as possible, but the actual time will vary depending on the complexity of an individual request and the volume of applications we receive. You should submit a request at least 90 days before you intend to fly in controlled airspace.
Aeronautical Knowledge Test. Testing centers nationwide can now administer the Aeronautical Knowledge Test required under Part 107. After you pass the test, you must complete an FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application to receive your remote pilot certificate at: https://iacra.faa.gov/IACRA/Default.aspx
It may take up to 48 hours for the website to record you passed the test. We expect to validate applications within 10 days. You will then receive instructions for printing a temporary airman certificate, which is good for 120 days. We will mail you a permanent Remote Pilot Certificate within 120 days.
The new regulations don’t apply to model aircraft operations that meet all the criteria specified in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (which is now codified in part 101), including the stipulation they be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes.