New FAA Regulations for Drones

Image result for drones

This post applies to individuals or companies who currently operate drones for commercial application. All drone operators need to examine what you’re are doing with your drones and if there is any gray area or overlap with commercial activity, error on the side of commercial application and get your 333 exemption or plan to comply with the new CFR Part 107.

Summer of 2016, the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) released Title 14 CFR Part 107 rules that apply towards commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). This rule includes the option to apply for a certificate of waiver or authorization (COA) which allows sUAS operators to deviate from Part 107 rules if the FAA finds that the proposed operation is performed safely. Federal, State, and Local government agencies have the option to either operate under Part 107 rule or can apply for a public COA. I’ve include a condensed version of UAS flight requirements as a PDF here.

The table below compares recreational flight requirements with commercial


Recreational Use

Commercial Use

Pilot Requirements

No pilot requirements

Must have Remote Pilot Airman Certificate
Must be 16 years old
Must pass TSA vetting

Aircraft Requirements

Must be registered if over 0.55 lbs.

Must be less than 55 lbs.
Must be registered if over 0.55 lbs. (online)
Must undergo pre-flight check to ensure UAS is in condition for safe operation

Location Requirements

5 miles from airports without prior notification to airport and air traffic control

Class G airspace*

Operating Rules

Must ALWAYS yield right of way to manned aircraft
Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight)
UAS must be under 55 lbs.
Must follow community-based safety guidelines
Must notify airport and air traffic control tower before flying within 5 miles of an airport

Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight)*
Must fly under 400 feet*
Must fly during the day*
Must fly at or below 100 mph*
Must yield right of way to manned aircraft*
Must NOT fly over people*
Must NOT fly from a moving vehicle*

Example Applications

Educational or recreational flying only

Flying for commercial use (e.g. providing aerial surveying or photography services)
Flying incidental to a business (e.g. doing roof inspections or real estate photography)

Legal or Regulatory Basis

Public Law 112-95, Section 336 – Special Rule for Model Aircraft
FAA Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulation (14 CFR) Part 107

*These rules are subject to waiver.


Waivable sections of Part 107:

  • Operations from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25)
  • Day Operations (§ 107.29)
  • Beyond Visual Line of Sight (§ 107.31)
  • Visual Observer (§ 107.33)
  • Operating Multiple sUAS (§ 107.35)
  • Yielding the right of Way (§ 107.37 (a))
  • Operations over People (§ 107.39)
  • Operations in Certain Airspace (§ 107.41)
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