These are the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) new, comprehensive regulations governing the routine non-recreational use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) — more popularly known as "drones."
The provisions of the new rule — formally known as Part 107 — are designed to minimize risks to other aircraft and people and property on the ground. A summary is available here.
- Waivers: If a proposed operation does not quite comply with Part 107 regulations, an applicant will need to apply for a waiver of some restrictions. The applicant will have to prove the proposed flight will be conducted safely under a waiver. Users must apply for these waivers at the online portal here.
- Airspace Authorization: A user can fly its drone in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace without air traffic control authorization, but operations in any other airspace need air traffic approval. A user must request access to controlled airspace via the electronic portal, not from individual air traffic facilities.
Users may submit their requests now, but air traffic facilities will receive approved authorizations according to the following tentative schedule:
- Class D & E Surface Area October 3, 2016
- Class C October 31, 2016
- Class B December 5, 2016
The FAA will try to approve requests as soon as possible, but the actual time will vary depending on the complexity of an individual request and the volume of applications it receives. An applicant should submit a request at least 90 days before it intends to fly in controlled airspace.
- Aeronautical Knowledge Test. Testing centers nationwide administer the Aeronautical Knowledge Test required under Part 107. After an applicant passes the test, it must complete an FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application to receive its remote pilot certificate.
It may take up to 48 hours for the website to record that an applicant passed the test. The FAA expects to validate applications within 10 days. You will then receive instructions for printing a temporary airman certificate, which is good for 120 days. We will mail you a permanent Remote Pilot Certificate within 120 days.
The new regulations do not apply to model aircraft operations that meet all the criteria specified in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (which is now codified in part 101), including the stipulation they be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes.