On June 21, 2016 the final revision of the small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) regulations was published by the FAA which is basically the rules for flying a small drone in the USA.
The purpose of the part 107 is to actually EASE the rules regarding flying a quadcopter for commercial use. For example Small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) operators do not need to pass a medical exam, or have liability insurance. No Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) will need to be filed prior to flying a drone, and operators will only need to pass an aeronautical knowledge test rather than acquire any form of pilot’s license.
These days it is becoming more affordable to buy a drone and it’s becoming more affordable to jump into this industry now. Prior to Part 107 FAA rules, in order for anyone to fly a drone commercially in order to charge for services he actually needed to be a licensed pilot. This meant spending thousands of dollars going to aviation school and learning the skills of the trade so that can be applied to the drone world. Now the government says you don’t have to do that I call it drone Independence Day August 29 2016! On this day the federal government started enforcing what’s called a part 107. This covers commercial and civil use of electronic aviation.
So if you are flying a drone in the USA you are operating a tool in the National Airspace and you are held responsible for anything that happens to it or by it. This is the first step in understanding the part 107 so that you train to pass the exam. So let’s get started, what are the requirements set by the FAA?
You have to be at least 16 year old to be certified. You can be 14 to take the test but need to be 16 to actually get the certificate. You also need to be able to speak read and write English, and you have to get at least a 70% or higher on this exam.
The FAA exam will cost you $150 dollars. You can go to your local testing center just ask Google “local FAA part 1 07 testing center” to know which one is nearest to you. Or you can do take the training online right here.
Now that you have taken the test and passed the exam, congratulations! it’s now off to the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland security will run a background check on you.
Once you receive your 107 certificate you are ready to operate, but wait, it is not over yet, do not forget your UAV or UAS as the FAA calls it.
Every drone is in this country has to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration if it is less than 55 pounds or greater than 0.55 pounds. This is very important, you cannot buy a 40-pound drone and attach 15 pounds cameras and sensors on it and try to fly that. The total carrying weight upon takeoff has to be less than 55 pounds.
The registration fee for the drone is $5 to be paid on the Federal Aviation Administration’s website and that is good for three years. Therefore, every three years are giving Uncle Sam five dollars to register your quadcopter.
After you register your drone the FAA is going to send you a number and this is called your tail number and it has to be visible on the aircraft at all times. Think of when you go to an airport and you see the little numbers at the tail of the airplane, same type of thing. What happens is if you crash badly or something bad happens the FAA can track that back to you and you can be held responsible for your UAV. It is a very simple system but if you do not do it correctly, there could be serious repercussions.
I do not really like talking about accidents but it is something that we have to consider in this industry. The FAA requires any accident that exceeds $500 worth of damage or causing serious bodily harm or if an ambulance is involved you have to report it within 10 days to the FAA.
Also you cannot operate from a moving vehicle unless it is in a sparsely populated area. Another thing is you cannot operate a UAV directly over people unless those people are part of your group and you have their consent. Meaning marathons do not count, concerts do not count, parks do not count.
Remember the FAA’s number one goal is safety, so the drone has to be able to fly in visual line-of-sight. You have to be able to see the drone at all times. You can have what’s called a visual observer which is someone sitting next to you who is making sure you do not run into anything. This is useful when you have monitors or first-person view glasses on and this visual Observer has to be next to you so you cannot have him no walkie-talkies or cell phone. So for example, you cannot fly the drone so you cannot see it anymore and then have your visual observer standing at that point with the walkie-talkie giving you directions.
You can only fly the drone during daytime and for 30 minutes after sunset.
You cannot exceed a hundred miles an hour and you have to maintain a 400-foot ceiling.
But here is my favorite rule, the FAA part 1 07 allows you if you’re in a sparsely populated area and you’re doing surveillance for a cell tower that’s a hundred feet in the sky if you’re 400 feet within that object you can fly a max of four hundred feet above that. This is the only time when you can exceed the 400-foot ceiling.
Last thing you need to know about the test, what I really want to hit on is do not underestimate this test. This is an aviation test, this is not a toy, and this is not something that you think you know, like you just need to know a 400-foot ceiling and you cannot exceed 100 miles per hour. No this is a very serious test!
You are going to get into weather studies as well into maps and charts. You are also going to get into visual flight rules. There are many other aviation-related ground schoolwork type things that need to be done before you take your 107 test. Remember $150 every time you take it. If you fail it, hopefully you do not, you have to wait 14 days before you can take it again.
It is very cheap to get into this industry now but you have to play by the rules, be smart and make some money.
If you have any questions or comments please do hesitate to ask and remember to have fun and fly safe!
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