Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Part 107

Posted on
3D Insider is ad supported and earns money from clicks and other ways.
DJI has just released the Mavic Air 2. See all of the specs here.

The Part 107 rules are simultaneously the most important and most confusing piece of knowledge that drone pilots need to learn. Beyond the basic requirements, there are a lot of small details and intricacies behind Part 107 that can make it an overwhelming topic, even for those who already have their Part 107 licenses.

In this article, we seek to answer all of your questions about Part 107. We will be going as deep into each rule as we can to clear up any ambiguities or points of contention. If there’s anything else we missed, then don’t hesitate to drop a comment below!

part-107-ebook

PART 107 Made Easy

  • 161 Question and Answer Study Guide
  • 105 pages of illustrated content
  • Covers all parts of the Part 107 test
  • $97 of value for free


What is Part 107?

What most drone pilots refer to as “Part 107” are the rules under Part 107 of Chapter 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, also known as the “Small UAS Rule.” It was implemented in June 2016 by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the first piece of legislation that will act as the legal framework for operators who intend to offer commercial drone-based services. The Part 107 rules were published in a 624-page publication.

The Part 107 rules were originally created an alternative to the requirements needed for a Section 333 exemption, which had stricter requirements and took a longer time to secure. As time went on, changes and refinements to the rules of Part 107 and how they are going to be implemented has made it clear that it is now the new standard for commercial drone flight.

When do I need to fly under Part 107 rules?

The Part 107 rules explicitly state that they apply only to commercial drone flight. Nowadays, the most common example of a commercial drone-based service is drone photography. Whether you offer on-site drone photography coverage, or you sell your photos online, you are considered a commercial drone pilot. This also covers the use of drones as an aid to any type of business, including the inspection of commercial property or the use of drone photos in websites or publication.

Commercial drone flight has branched out into a lot of industries and applications. Real estate agents and insurance adjusters have taken to using aerial photos to either advertise or inspect properties. Many farmers have come to realizes the advantages of using drone-mounted sensors for quick and accurate surveys that aid in precision agriculture. In civil engineering, drones have been used across virtually all parts of the construction process – from planning, project monitoring, and post-construction inspection.

part 107

There are also more specialized drone applications that may not be as accessible to the budding drone entrepreneur. Drones have been used for surveillance by security firms, search and rescue operations, law enforcement operations, and disaster response. Large, brand-name retailers such as Target and Amazon have even explored the idea of using drones for parcel delivery.

What if you will just be flying for fun? The great news is that the Part 107 rules won’t apply to you. Take note that there are still general guidelines that you’ll have to follow under Public Law 112-95 Section 336 or the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. These rules are much less restrictive with an emphasis only on staying away from restricted airspace and flying within visual line-of-sight.

However, you need to establish the intent of the flight at take-off, meaning that you can’t switch between commercial and hobbyist rules in the middle of your flight. This means that you cannot be taking drone photos while flying under hobbyist rules and decide to sell them later. Doing so will put you at risk of violating commercial drone flight rules.

What’s the difference between Part 107, Section 333 exemption, and an FAA Blanket COA?

With so many certification standards in place, it’s perfectly understandable that many drone pilots find themselves confused as to which standard they should apply to. To make it easier to understand how these standards are different, we’ll just outline their major points of distinction:

1. Part 107 Certification

  • Can be granted to any drone pilot who passes the knowledge test
  • Does not require a medical certificate. Instead, the pilot’s physical and mental fitness is only self-assessed.
  • Can only fly a drone that weighs between 0.55 and 55 lbs.
  • Drone operations can be conducted by just the pilot-in-command alone
  • Flight is permitted during daylight and twilight, but only with appropriate anti-collision lighting
  • Drone-related accidents must be reported if they resulted in serious personal injury or property damage amounting to at least $500
  • Processing time for the certification is somewhere between 1 to 2 months

2. Section 333 Exemption

  • The exemption will only be granted to pilots with an Airman’s Certificate with a sport or recreational level certification
  • Requires a medical certificate issued by the FAA stating that the pilot is in a physical and mental state fit to fly a drone
  • Requires at least a two-man team to fly a drone: a pilot-in-command and a visual observer
  • Can fly drones that weigh more than 55 lbs.
  • Processing time for the certification takes an average of 6 months
  • Al drone-related accidents must be reported to the FAA

3. FAA Blanket COA

  • The Blanket COA will only be granted to government agencies, first responders, local law enforcement, local municipalities, and public schools
  • The application requires a formal letter addressed to the FAA stating what the organization does and how its objectives can be classified as public drone use
  • The organization that is awarded the Blanket COA can self-certify its own pilots but must provide the FAA with a detailing training program
  • Approval for a COA request can take between 60 to 120 days
  • The organization must provide a monthly operational report to the FAA stating the details of the drone operations they undertook.
  • A COA holder can fly under conditions that will normally require a waiver from the FAA, such as in controlled airspace, during night, and over crowds of people.

Understanding the difference between the three certification options can be overwhelming, but you only need to pick which one works best for you. If you are still interested in this topic, you can head over to our detailed articles on the difference between Part 107 vs. Section 333 and Part 107 vs. FAA COA.

Do I need to register my drone if I’m flying under Part 107?

Drone registration is required for both commercial and recreational drone pilots, as long as your drone weighs between 0.55 and 55 lbs. This weight limit includes any payload or additional accessories. If you are unsure whether the drone you are eyeing will need to be registered, then a good rule of thumb is: if your drone is designed for outdoor flight, then chances are you will need to register it.

The requirement for drone registration went through a period of confusion back in May 2017 when it was overturned due to an appeal from the hobby drone community. However, when the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 was signed into law, it included in one of its provisions the very same requirement that the FAA had originally implemented for drone registration. This means that the status quo has been effectively retained, finally clearing up the matter.

What is a Part 107 license?

One of the major requirements under Part 107 is for commercial drone pilots to secure a remote pilot certificate before they can start flying for profit. More commonly known as a Part 107 drone license, the remote pilot certificate ensures that all commercial drone pilots are proficient according to a standard level of knowledge and agree to comply with the rules and restrictions under Part 107. The certification requirement also provided the FAA with a convenient way of maintaining a database of licensed commercial drone pilots.

How do I get a Part 107 license?

To even qualify for a Part 107 license, you must have all three basic qualifications:

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Be able to read, write, speak, and understand English
  • Be physically and mentally fit to fly a drone

This is just the bare minimum. The biggest hurdle you’ll need to go through to get the drone license is the Part 107 knowledge test. After passing the test, you’ll need to go through a TSA background check before you can finally get the much-coveted Part 107 drone license.

How much will it cost to get a Part 107 license?

Between the sign-up fee for the knowledge test (which goes to the testing center and not to the FAA), choosing to sign up for a paid Part 107 training course, and the possible cost of having to re-take the knowledge test should you fail, you are looking at spending somewhere between $155 to $825 to earn your Part 107 license.

There are, of course, ways for you to minimize the cost of getting the license. You can look for free Part 107 training resources online or make sure that you pass the test the first time. If you are taking a paid training course as a precursor to a drone-based service business, then you also have the option of declaring the cost of training as a “business expense.” This means that you can get back some of the amount you spent on training in the form of tax deductibles – somewhere around 30%. It’s best to consult with your tax advisor on this matter.

How long does it take to get the Part 107 license?

If you are planning to launch a business on the back of your future Part 107 license, then you might want to know how long it will take to get the license. From the point when you decide to take the test to when you might receive the temporary certificate, then it could take anywhere between 26 to 48 days. This will depend a lot on how much time you want to spend studying, how long the TSA takes to do the background check, and how much backlog the FAA has on pending Part 107 applications.

Stretching the waiting time to the maximum 48 days sounds like a bit too long, but we recommend taking the time to prepare and study for the knowledge test. If it takes you a week or two, then that’s fine. Keep in mind that if you fail, you will need to wait 14 calendar days before you can re-take the test. The testing fee is also non-refundable, so it will also end up being more expensive. By getting it right the first time, you can make sure that you get the Part 107 drone license in as little time and as cheaply as possible.

What is the Part 107 knowledge test?

The Part 107 knowledge test is a 60-item multiple choice test that covers a wide range of topics on drone flight and general aviation. The major requirement for getting a drone license, the Part 107 knowledge test is no walk in the park. It covers subjects that are way beyond the realm of common knowledge, including reading sectional charts, interpreting weather reports, understanding radio communication language, and knowing how drone loading affects performance. You’ll also need to be very familiar with the operation restrictions under Part 107.

The knowledge test can only be taken in FAA-authorized testing centers. The testing environment is highly-controlled. You will be isolated in a room where you will take the test on a computer under constant monitoring. You will be provided with most of the materials needed to complete the test, including scratch paper, writing materials, and a copy of the Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement Book.

An important aspect of the Part 107 knowledge test is that the 60 questions you will receive will be pulled from a much larger pool of questions. Initial estimates have pegged the total number of questions to be about 400, although we expect the FAA to be constantly revising, removing, or adding questions from this pool. This means that there is virtually no possibility of two test-takers receiving the same set of questions, as there are billions of unique 60-question combinations.

This randomness ensures that no number of sample questions can sufficiently prepare you for the knowledge test if you have not studied the fundamentals. Our point is: study the right way, develop a genuine understanding of the concepts, and take the sample questions.

How do I sign up for the Part 107 knowledge test?

Once you’re sure that you qualify for the knowledge test, then you can sign up by contacting the closest testing center or via Computer Assisted Testing Service, Inc. (CATS). They can assist you in picking the schedule that works for you or may even suggest the most convenient testing center. Either way, you’ll need to present a valid government-issued ID and pay the $150 testing fee.

Where can I take the Part 107 test?

The good news that there are almost 700 FAA-authorized testing centers spread all over the US, so there’s a good chance that you could find one just several minutes of driving away from you. In fact, there’s one in almost every city. For a complete list of the testing centers, you may check the FAA website.

Since the authority of the FAA only extends to the US and its territories, there is no way to take the Part 107 knowledge test outside of a US territory. If you live in Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands, then you’re in luck, as there should an FAA-authorized testing center near you where you can take the knowledge test.

Is it possible to take the knowledge test online?

Right now, there is no provision for taking the Part 107 knowledge test online. Frankly, we don’t suggest holding your breath for this change to come as it’s not likely to happen. The knowledge test is conducted in a highly controlled and monitored environment, and there’s just no way for these conditions to be simulated in the comfort of your home. The FAA does not even allow you to bring your own testing materials, except for a calculator and a visual aid. With so many strict measures in place, we don’t see the FAA changing their stance on testing standards anytime soon.

How do I pass the Part 107 knowledge test?

To pass the knowledge test, you need to answer 70% of the questions correctly. This is equivalent to 42 out of 60 questions. If the number feels too high, then take solace in the fact that hundreds of thousands of drone pilots have done it before you. It’s a realistic goal and one that you are well capable of reaching.

How do I prepare for the Part 107 knowledge test?

There are so many ways that you can prepare for the knowledge test, and the best one will depend on your learning style, your pace, and how much budget you have. There are a lot of options out there – free resources, online training courses, and in-person classes.

While it’s not necessary to pay for a course so you can sufficiently prepare for the knowledge test, paid training courses are much more organized and well-designed. There are also several paid training courses that offer a money-back guarantee in case you end up failing the knowledge test on your first take.

Whether you settle for a free course or a paid one, we recommend that you devote around 15 to 20 hours to focused studying. Preparing for the Part 107 knowledge test isn’t something you should cram, as your knowledge retention is bound to suffer.

What do I do after I pass the knowledge test?

After taking the test, your results should get uploaded to the FAA website within 48 to 72 hours. If you passed, then congratulations! You’re finished with the hardest part of the Part 71 certification process. Just take note of the code for your successful exam results as you’ll be needing it later.

To file your application for the drone license, you need to sign up for an account in the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website. Once you have your account setup, you need to provide the code for your exam results to file for the application. At this point, your application will be placed in a queue for the TSA background check. Nobody knows what the TSA looks for or exactly how long the background check will take, so all you need to do at this point is to wait.

Once the TSA declares that you’re good to go, you should receive your temporary certificate by email. Print out this temporary certificate and keep it with you when you’re out doing commercial drone flights. Your permanent certificate will be sent via regular mail over the next few weeks and it should arrive well before the 120-day validity of the temporary certificate expires.

Does the Part 107 license expire? How do I renew it?

The drone license expires after 24 months, after which the drone pilots need to take a recurrent knowledge test before being granted a renewal. The FAA has deemed recurrent testing necessary since drone pilots don’t need to regularly refer to the standards of Part 107 that they need to be ‘compelled’ to recall them.

Don’t worry about it too much, though. The recurrent knowledge test only has 40 multiple-choice questions and has a small subject scope. Notably, the test no long covers drone loading, weather, and performance standards. We recommend that you focus on airspace classifications, operational rules, and aeronautical charts when taking the recurrent knowledge test. Again, you need to correctly answer 70% of the questions to earn your renewed license.

You can sign up for the recurrent test the same way that you did it the first time around. It’s been several months since the renewal tests have started so testing centers should be more familiar with the process by now.

Surprisingly, there isn’t much that you need to do once you pass the recurrent knowledge test. You will be given no new certificate and don’t even need to apply for the renewal using the IACRA portal. Your best move is to keep the proof that you have passed the recurrent knowledge test with you at all times as proof that you have satisfied the license renewal requirements.

Is there a way to verify if someone is a Part 107-licensed drone pilot?

If you are looking to hire a professional drone pilot, then checking for the legitimacy of the license of your potential drone pilot is as easy as checking out the FAA’s public registry. You will need some of the personal details of the person you are looking for such as their full name, date of birth, or address.

It’s not a perfect system, as these details might not be immediately available to you. There may also be a delay of up to 90 days between the pilot’s certification and the time that their entry appears in the database.

If searching for the drone pilot via the registry is problematic, you can always ask them to show their remote pilot certificate to you. A Part 107-licensed drone pilot is advised to keep the license with them at all times, especially when conducting drone-related business.

Can I fly over restricted airspace with a Part 107 license?

The various airspace classifications and the corresponding flight restrictions are some of the more nuanced and complicated topics covered by the Part 107 knowledge test. Although we have already written a much more detailed article on this topic, we’ll attempt to answer this question as succinctly as possible here.

Basically, there are two major types of airspace: regulatory airspace and special use airspace. The FAA is only concerned with regulatory airspace, which is also divided into two classes, called controlled and uncontrolled airspace. Controlled airspace refers to the airspace immediately surrounding airports and the altitude in which commercial airlines cruise over.

When flying in controlled airspace near airports (Class B to Class D), a licensed drone pilot needs to secure permission from air traffic control (ATC) prior to the activity. The drone pilot must also ensure that their lines of communication are open in case ATC needs to contact them in middle of the flight mission.

Class E airspace, although also considered controlled airspace, merely fills in the spaces between the different airspace classes. Under normal circumstances, a Part 107-licensed drone pilot no longer needs ATC permission to fly a drone in Class E airspace. This is also the case when flying in uncontrolled airspace, also called Class F or Class G. Since the FAA has no authority over uncontrolled airspace, all types of drone pilots can fly in Class G airspace even without ATC authorization, provided that they don’t fly higher than the 400-ft. altitude limit.

Special use airspace falls outside the jurisdiction of the FAA and is instead controlled by another authority such as the military or the national government. Drone pilots need to pay special attention to Prohibited Areas and areas with active Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR), as drone flight in these areas is highly restricted. These areas can be defined due to ongoing military operations, disaster relief operations, or the movement of critical government personnel. Large-scale entertainment events can also be subject to a TFR.

There are other classes of special use airspace (Alert Areas, Restricted Areas, Military Operation Areas) that do not explicitly prohibit drone flight. However, these areas will typically receive an unusual amount of air traffic, which the drone pilot needs to watch out for. When in doubt, it is best to contact the relevant authority to coordinate your planned drone activity.

What is the weight limit for drones flying under Part 107?

Under Part 107 rules, a commercial drone pilot can only fly a drone that weighs between 0.55 and 55 lbs. This is a pretty generous range which should cover even the heavier drones from DJI or Yuneec.

What if your drone and payload weigh more than 55 lbs? This is kind of a peculiar situation reserved for the most specialized drone applications. Drones beyond the weight limit are no longer within the scope of Part 107 but instead have to be registered as a traditional aircraft. This will require a longer assessment period on the side of the FAA, as they need to confirm the safety and air-worthiness of such a big and heavy drone.

The drone operator must also have a Section 333 exemption which requires an Airman’s Certificate with at least a sport or recreational level certification. This is on top of a medical certificate issued by the FAA stating that the pilot is in a physical and mental condition that is “fit to fly.”

How far away can I fly according to Part 107 rules?

While new drones with advanced transmission technology can fly up to 5 miles away without dropping the communications signal, existing drone flight laws make it illegal to do so. There is no definite allowable range for drone flight under Part 107, but the rules state that a licensed drone pilot must always fly their drone within visual line-of-sight.

How far you can take your drone without violating this rule depends on several things including how big your drone is, the prevailing weather conditions, and the presence of obstacles in your flight area. However, even at the best conditions, you can probably only fly around 1600 feet before your drone becomes starts looking like a speck in the sky.

Flying with FPV technology does not provide a way around this rule, as the drone operator needs to be aware of any hazards in the immediate surroundings of the drone. There’s also the increased risk of a signal dropout the farther a drone flies away from the controller, which can result in the drone pilot ‘flying blind’ – a recipe for disaster.

Extending the range of line-of-sight by creating a ‘daisy chain’ of visual observers is also not allowed under Part 107 rules, as the person controlling the drone must be one of the people who can see the aircraft.

If you really must cover a large area for a survey or an aerial photo shoot, then your best bet is to establish several take-off points. While it may take a much longer time to finish the job, you can be confident that you are flying safe and that you are not violating any laws.

What do the Part 107 rules say about flying at night?

The Part 107 rules about flying drones at night is one of the more controversial parts of this new legislation. To put it into context, licensed drone pilots are only allowed to fly their drones during the day or at twilight (30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset) provided that the drone is equipped with the appropriate anti-collision lighting.

The controversy stems from the fact that hobby drone pilots are not bound by any type of restriction on night flight. Thus, it’s perfectly fine for a recreational pilot to fly a drone at night, while commercial drone pilots doing the same activity can be cited for breaking the law.

Fortunately, there’s a silver lining behind this situation. The FAA allows licensed drone pilots to request for waivers against the rule for night flight, provided that they provide details on the planned activity, the anticipated risks, and their mitigating measures. So far, more than 90% of the waivers that the FAA has requested has been for night flight.

Another welcome consequence of so many drone pilots asking for waivers for night flight is that the FAA has started to reconsider relaxing this restriction. The proposal is still on the pipeline, and it may still be a few years before it gets approved, but this is a change that all commercial drone pilots will welcome.

Can I fly a drone from a moving vehicle?

According to the Part 107 rules, flying a drone from a moving land or water-borne vehicle is prohibited unless the flight is done over a sparsely populated area. The rule also prohibits flying a drone from a moving aircraft under all circumstances.

While flying a drone from a moving vehicle is an efficient way to cover a large area while maintaining visual line-of-sight, having to pay attention to both the road and drone at the same time can result to a drone crash or a vehicular crash. It will also be hard to fly a drone over a constantly changing environment, not to mention keeping pace with the vehicle can prove to be challenging.

The rule also makes no definition of what a ‘sparsely populated’ area looks like., leaving drone pilots to decide this matter for themselves. A landmark 2010 court ruling interpreted a population density of twenty people over ten acres as “sparsely populated.”. You have the option of using this court ruling as a guideline, but such areas can be hard to come by.

Does the FAA approve waivers for this rule? Yes, they do, but only with very special conditions. So far, only four applications for flying a drone from a moving vehicle have been granted. Two of these were awarded to the testing of a military-grade nano-drone, while the rest were for closed-set movie production. The results don’t seem very encouraging, especially for casual drone pilots with a standard set of qualifications. You’re welcome to try and request for a waiver, but don’t pin your hopes on it.

What is the altitude limit for drone flight under Part 107?

Drones and manned aircraft sharing common airspace is bad news, which makes the more than 900 recorded incidents of close encounters between them a disturbing statistic. For this very reason, the FAA has limited drone flight to an altitude of 400 feet for both recreational and commercial drone flight, well below the usual cruising altitude of commercial airlines.

However, there is a corollary to the rule that states that you can fly your drone higher than 400 feet if you are flying within 400 feet of a structure. This is under the assumption that manned aircraft will fly at higher altitudes when within the proximity of a large structure.

The rule also states that the 400 feet limit is measured ‘above the ground’. This means that you can take off from the peak of a mountain and fly to an altitude of 400 feet relative to your take-off point. This shouldn’t be a problem as any aircraft will adjust cruising altitude due to the presence of large man-made structures or geological features.

Can I fly a drone over people?

The Part 107 rules prohibit the flight of a drone over any person unless that person is directly participating in the activity (as the pilot-in-command or visual observer) or that person is located under a covered structure or inside a stationary vehicle. Take note that flying over someone who has consented to the activity, but is not participating, is still illegal.

The FAA also states that a drone pilot must remain aware of the drone’s movement and speed on the trajectory it would take should it crash. Therefore, flying “over” people should not be taken only in its literary sense. It is the responsibility of the drone pilot to ensure that a drone crash will not result to personal injury of any non-participating people near or below the drone’s flight path.

This restriction has been problematic for many professions, including drone photographers who are usually tapped to provide photo and video coverage of events. Having to steer clear of the people in an event severely limits the ability of a drone photographer to get good shots and good angles.

The good news is that the FAA has also started making moves to relax this particular restriction. Under the proposed changes, drones will be classified according to how severe the consequences could be should they crash. Category 1 drones are those that weigh less than 0.55 lbs. and pose minimal risk, while Category 3 drones have a much higher safety threshold.

The flight stipulations will differ according to the category level of the drone. For example, a Category 3 drone can only fly over people within an enclosed site and should always remain in transit when flying over people. The FAA will maintain a database classifying each drone model into the appropriate risk category, and it will be the responsibility of the drone manufacturer to prove that their drone has the appropriate measures that make it safe to fly over people.

Does Part 107 affect drone flight indoors?

The authority of the FAA is limited only to the national airspace. Any space indoors or within a covered structure is no longer considered airspace. Following this line of reasoning, it can be concluded that the FAA has no jurisdiction over an indoor space and that it is not within the scope of the Part 107 rules.

This means that anyone – even a drone pilot without a Part 107 license – can fly a drone for commercial purposes indoors without violating any law. Moreover, there are no rules when flying a drone indoors. This means that you can fly a drone at night or over people without legal consequence.

A word of warning, though: flying a drone indoors can be very unsafe and isn’t something that we would recommend for beginners. Without GPS stabilization and with obstacles all over the place, the chances of your drone crashing multiply by several factors. Considering that the density of people in an indoors environment is much higher, a bad drone crash can very likely result in heavy personal injury. We’re not saying that it’s impossible and that you shouldn’t do it, but try and practice flying your drone without GPS stabilization first so you’ll know what you’re getting into.

What is a Part 107 waiver and how do I get one?

The FAA provides some flexibility in the Part 107 restrictions by allowing drone pilots to apply for waivers. The waivers are only granted for a few selected conditions, as follows:

  • Drone flight at night
  • Operation beyond visual line-of-sight
  • Operation of multiple drones by a single pilot
  • Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft
  • Operation over restricted airspace
  • Operation over a populated area
  • Operation beyond the prescribed limits for UAVs

The FAA holds the discretion to grant waivers given that the applicant can demonstrate that the remote pilot-in-command can fly safely under such conditions. Approval of the waiver can take up to 90 days, so you’ll need to plan way ahead of time if you are going to rely on a waiver to pull off a drone gig.

So far, the FAA has granted more than 2000 waivers, more than 90% of which were for drone flight at night. There were also many requests granted for flight over restricted airspace (around 5%) while requests for the operation of multiple drones, flight over populated areas, and flight beyond visual line-of-sight constituted less than 1% of the total waivers approved.

If you wish to apply for a Part 107 waiver, then here’s our quick guide:

  1. Waiver applications are submitted via the FAA’s DroneZone portal. In case you don’t have an account yet, you will need to sign up for one.
  2. An application needs to start with the Operation Title, a Responsible Party, and a Remote Pilot. For best results, make the Operation Title as descriptive of your activity as possible. The Responsible Party does not need to be the drone pilot. In many cases, the company CEO or representative acts the Responsible Party for a waiver application.
  3. You can either apply for an operation request or a controlled airspace request. An operation request applies to a waiver request for overstepping operational limits. In other words, it refers to anything that is not airspace-related.
  4. You will need to provide the technical details of the drone you will be using. Make sure to include the drone model, weight, dimensions, its maximum speed, range, flight time, and any anti-collision or retrieval technology.
  5. Provide the details of the pilot who will operate the drone. Include the level of experience of the pilot, any training that the pilot has taken, and indicate how many pilots will be operating under the waiver. You have the option of providing flight records if you feel that they will reinforce how experienced the drone pilot is.
  6. Finally, you will be asked to provide the details of your operations, the risks you are anticipating, and how you can mitigate them. This will be a long entry, and it’s in your best interest to make it as detailed as possible. Indicate where and when you intend to fly. There are no hard and fast rules here, but make sure that you are writing details that are relevant to the Part 107 provision you are requesting a waiver for.

After you have filed your application, make sure to keep your communication lines open. The FAA may try and contact you to fill the details that they think are lacking from your application. Make sure that you are available to answer these questions so that the approval of your request can be sped up.

As we’ve mentioned above, the FAA has proposed changes to Part 107 that should render some of the waiver request unnecessary. In the future, flying drones at night may be possible even without a waiver. This will also free up the FAA from the huge number of waivers they receive from drone pilots who would like to do drone jobs at night.

What are the penalties for violating the rules of Part 107?

As anyone should expect, flying a drone while violating the Part 107 rules will result in severe penalties. These penalties can include confiscation of your drone, removal of your drone license, payment of a fine, or possible jail time.

Flying a drone for profit without the Part 107 drone license is subject to a penalty amounting to $32,666 for each incident. You can be charged this amount for every day that you are conducting commercial drone flight illegally. Further violations of this rule can eventually result in criminal sanctions, which will involve a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of jail time.

For pilots who already have the Part 107 license, any violation of the flight restrictions can result in a fine of up to $30,000 per incidence. This amount is subject to change, upon the discretion of the FAA, according to the gravity of the violation. Among the possible violations, unauthorized drone flight in restricted airspace or in any location where national security can be come compromised is one of the most serious violations that a drone pilot can do.

Final thoughts

Reading all the rules included under Part 107 can prove to be overwhelming. Don’t worry about it too much, as even experienced drone pilots can find themselves asking about the finer points of these rules. We hope that our detailed guide on all the provisions of Part 107 has answered all your lingering questions. In case we missed something or if you have a question that we haven’t yet answered, then don’t hesitate to drop a comment below. This is still very much a learning process for most of us.