FAA Issues Part 107 Waivers, Airspace Authorizations

StaffFlight Safety, News10 Comments

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began issuing Part 107 waivers and airspace authorizations to drone operators starting August 29, 2016, the effective date of the new rule.  As of October 24, 2016, the agency has approved 81 authorizations for flights in Class D and E airspace, and has issued 36 waivers of Part 107 provisions to drone operators who applied after the rule’s effective date.

However, the agency has found that many applications have incorrect or incomplete information. Many applicants request too many waivers or request waivers for flights in types of airspace for which the FAA is not yet granting approvals. As a result, the agency has had to reject 71 waiver requests and 854 airspace applications.

Applicants must understand the information needed to make a successful safety case for granting a waiver. We may assist you in receiving your waiver. Please book an appointment.


For example, the FAA clearly spells out the information required for a waiver to fly at night – one of the most common requests:

  • Applicant must provide a method for the remote pilot to maintain visual line of sight during darkness.
  • Applicant must provide a method for the remote pilot to see and avoid other aircraft, people on the ground, and ground-based structures and obstacles during darkness.
  • Applicant must provide a method by which the remote pilot will be able to continuously know and determine the position, altitude, attitude, and movement of their small unmanned aircraft (sUA).
  • Applicant must assure all required persons participating in the sUA operation have knowledge to recognize and overcome visual illusions caused by darkness, and understand physiological conditions which may degrade night vision.
  • Applicant must provide a method to increase conspicuity of the sUA to be seen at a distance of 3 statute miles unless a system is in place that can avoid all non-participating aircraft.

Without a detailed description of how the applicant intends to meet these standards, the FAA can’t determine if a waiver is possible. Operators should select only the Part 107 regulations that need to be waived for the proposed operation. Applicants also should respond promptly to any request we make for additional information. If the agency does not receive a response after 30 days, it will withdraw the request.

The Part 107 regulations provided by the FAA provide a flexible framework for unmanned aircraft operations. Waivers and airspace authorizations are an important part of making the new rule work as intended. Applicants may help speed the process by making sure they make a solid, detailed safety case for any flights not covered under the small drone rule. Book an appointment today and we may assist you in gaining your waiver.

10 Comments on “FAA Issues Part 107 Waivers, Airspace Authorizations”

    1. Much of New York areas are banned from flying drones due to the many surrounding airports and the busy airspace with aircraft that this creates.

      Some great places you could fly your drone in the areas that they are not banned are Central Park, Marine Park, and Battery Park.

    1. Serial Number is only required when registering your drone when you will be using the drone for commercial purposes.

    1. Flying Drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) within the vicinity of any fire or emergency response team without permission could cause injury or death to firefighters, police, and emergency response members and hamper their ability to protect lives, property and natural and cultural resources. The use of a drone near response teams may even halt the operations while the drone operator is discovered and the drone recovered. Keep drones away from firefighters. It is illegal to fly near wildfires.

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