FAA Issues Part 107 Waivers, Airspace Authorizations

StaffFlight Safety, News22 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.

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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.

22 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.

  2. There is an individual flying a 55 pound UAS or drone at the corner of Turkey Oak Dr an Blue Oak Dr, Lillington, NC 27546 buzzing our windows an it sounds like bee’s flying day night, FT Bragg C130s flying at 400 ft are going to crash, I have watched the flashing red, green lights on it climb to over 800 feet, it’s a fast one, he zooms from one house to another block away in 3 second.

    1. If you believe the UAS or Drone is flying over 400 ft. and is over 55 lbs, this would not be responsible and safe operation of the UAS. Please contact your local police / sheriff department authorities and ask that they look into the matter.

  3. I live in a small country town with a runway no tower or manned, yet if within 5 miles I get a no fly zone, I have the town written consent to fly in that area, what do I have to do? A plane might not land here for a week at a time

    1. Glenn, According to the FAA and AOPA if you determine your location is legal for drone operations but is within five miles of an airport, the next step is to contact the airport manager or airport operations. The contact information for every airport is publicly available, including the phone number normally used for airport operations and the manager. These individuals would be able to speak to you about drone operations. AOPA has a user-friendly search engine that provides the phone number for the airport manager (at the very bottom of the airport’s information page) and is usually the best place to start when you have determined you need to call.

      The airport manager or employee will likely be interested in the following information:

      Where you will be operating (address or latitude/longitude)
      The altitudes at which you will be flying (below 400 feet above ground level)
      What type of flying activity you will be doing
      The number of aircraft and a basic description of the aircraft
      When you will be flying and for how long
      Your name and a method of contacting you such as a cell phone number or radio frequency

      Airport management may not say the drone operation is approved, but all that is required is notification for drone operations to take place. If the airport says the operation may be unsafe or that they disapprove it, you should fly in another location where you do not need the airport’s approval or where the airport operator states would be acceptable. The FAA has stated theat the agency “would consider flying model aircraft over the objections of FAA air traffic or airport operators to be endangering the safety of the NAS.” Additionally, the FAA may take enforcement action against a drone pilot who has an FAA-issued certificate, such as a private pilot certificate.

  4. Interested to know if the definition of “commercial operation” has been given. If our company uses drones to provide monitoring of our facilities on our land, is that “Commercial operation”? IE, I own the solar farm and am using a drone to fly above it to take pictures.

    1. Hello Mr. Cooper.

      Thanks for the question.

      The FAA Defines Commercial sUAS Operations any use that is not for recreational or hobby use.
      An example of hobby use would be flying in a park for fun or taking pictures of a family camping trip.

      Even if you are not flying for money or for hire, if it is supporting a business it is considered Commercial use and requires either a 333 exemption or a part 107.
      Examples of Commercial Operation would be a real estate agent taking pictures of houses or another good example would be your desired use of monitoring your solar farm facility.

      Getting a 333 exemption or part 107 can seem confusing but we are here to help.
      We offer 333 exemption services and a 107 test prep course. We are so confident in our 107 test prep course that we guarantee you will pass the 107 test or we will pay for your retest.

    1. Can a school using a small 8 oz. drone for education be exempt. Flying only on school property.

      Jim, The School Staff personnel must Register Drone and either apply for a 333 Exemption or fly under the Part 107 rules and apply for a 107 Waiver if necessary. A student may fly a drone but not under instruction of the school staff.

  5. I have a question that many people may already be asking. I have a drone and I want to take video for the purpose of marketing and selling small businesses. Do I need the 107 license and/or 333 exemption in order to sell my video?

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