So you’re a commercial business wanting to use drones, but you’re going to have to fly at night, beyond line of sight, or in a situation otherwise illegal under the FAA’s drone regulations?
You more than likely can still operate — but you’re going to have to get a waiver from the Federal Aviation Adminstration in order to operate your drone even if those operations don’t fit under the Part 107 rules.
Here are some commonly asked questions about the Part 107 waiver process:
What are some of the situations in which I might need a waiver for my business?
- Flying at night
- Flying beyond visual line-of-sight (VLOS)
- When flying over people not directly involved in the operation
- See more operational limitations here
When and where can I apply for a waiver?
You can apply for a waiver as early as August 29, 2016 at this link.
How much time will it take to get a waiver?
The FAA WON’T grant waivers automatically. The FAA recommends you submit your waiver at least 90 days before you need to fly.
What if my aircraft is more than 55 pounds?
The waiver process is not for you! The small UAS rule (14 CFR part 107) is only applicable to unmanned aircraft that weigh less than 55 lbs. at takeoff. To fly a UAS that weighs 55 lbs. or more, operators will need to use the existing Section 333 exemption process.
What if I already have a Section 333 exemption? Do I need to take the Part 107 test?
Not immediately, at least. Your Section 333 exemption is valid until it expires – usually two years after it was issued. Even after Part 107 becomes effective, you may choose to fly following the conditions and limitations in your exemption.
However, if you want to operate under the new Part 107 regulations, you’ll have to obtain a remote pilot certificate and follow all of the rule’s operating provisions. You must apply for a waiver if some parts of your operation don’t meet the rule’s requirements.
Additional Part 107 waiver questions are answered here:
Still need help studying for the Part 107 test to operate drones commercially? Here are some study courses:
- Drone Pilot Ground School offers a fantastic online training course with practice tests and repeatable videos for $299.
- DARTdrones has a day-long, in-person training course for $670. (Use coupon code DroneGirl10 to save 10% site-wide on all their courses).
- DARTdrones also has an online course that covers the same material but in virtual format.
- UAV Ground School offers an online course in partnership with Gold Seal Flight. It’s normally $249, but use coupon code DRONEGIRL to save $25 and take that price down to $224.