The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration finalized the first operational rules, titled Part 107, for use of SUAS (small unmanned aircraft systems) aka drones.
The team here at Drone Dispatch is pleased about the announcements of the new regulations because we believe that they will help to expand our industry by tearing away some barriers. Part 107 will be remembered as a major factor in the expansion of the drone industry, and could potentially help to generate “more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.” (FAA)
The rules outlined in Part 107 only apply to drones that are less than 55lbs that are used for money making, or commercial ventures.
Let’s take a closer look at exactly what Part 107 did for the drone industry.
Part 107 lowers the barrier of entry.
Previously, under the 333 exemption, a pilot needed to have his Pilot’s License and a 333 Exemption. Now, a pilot only needs his Remote Pilot Certificate.
Getting the Remote Pilot Certificate will be a degree of magnitude easier. That is because all a pilot has to do is take a written aeronautical knowledge test at any of the 700 FAA approved testing centers around the country. The certification will also cost a lot less than the $7,000 license currently needed to operate a pilot manned aircraft. If you don’t want to get a Remote Pilot Certificate, and you have an existing non-student Part 61 Pilot Certificate, then all you have to do is complete a flight review and take a UAS online training course from the FAA.
To make things even easier, Part 107 also dictates that if the pilot himself doesn’t have a license, then all he needs is a licensed pilot acting as an overseer for him.
The other great thing about Part 107, is that anyone who wants a license can conceivably get one. Under Exemption 333, the government only issued 6,600 licenses and the wait for a license was around 6 months.
The age that you can have a Remote Pilot Certificate went down from 17 to 16.
Day-to-day operations have changed as well.
Part 107 is also working to make existing daily operations easier. Pilots are no longer required to complete a Notice to Airmen form or to have a visual observer present. Other aspects of day-to-day operations such as the necessity to maintain line of sight and only operating in the daylight and twilight hours (and only with anti-collision lights on) remain the same. Height and speed restrictions remain and drone pilots must also be wary of flying over people that are not involved with the drone operation.
Pilots must also make sure to conduct his or her own preflight visual and operational check to ensure drone safety.
Lastly, and most importantly, the FAA has seemingly opened up to facilitating a discussion with pilots. Part 107 says that if a pilot desires to conduct a flight outside of regulated guidelines, then all he has to do is prove that it can be done safely and lobby to waive restrictions on a one time only basis through the FAA’s online portal.
The FAA has also created an app called B4Ufly that acts as resource for safety guidelines for pilots both new and old.
Before Part 107 activates this August, the team at Drone Dispatch will be making announcements about what this news means for the overall strategy and direction of Drone Dispatch moving forward.