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FAA Part 107 Frequently Asked Questions

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I’m breaking the FAA Part 107 FAQs down into these sections:

  1. General Questions,
  2. Part 61 Pilots (Sport, Recreational, Private, Commercial, ATP, but NOT Student),
  3. Non-Pilots,
  4. Those with Pending Section 333 Exemptions, and
  5. Those Who Already Have Section 333 Exemptions.

This is part of an overall FAA Part 107 Series of blog posts:

I briefly answered a few questions on the new Part 107 on TV.
 

General Questions

  1. If I pass this Part 107 remote pilot exam, can I charge for the flight? Yes, provided you fly within the requirements of Part 107.
  2. Do model aircraft individuals have to get a 107 exam? No. Section 107.1 says Part 107 does not apply to “Any aircraft subject to the provisions of part 101 of this chapter[.]” Part 101 is the section for model aircraft. You are going to have to meet the criteria of Part 101 or you will be forced to fly under Part 107. One area that has not been fully clarified is whether FPV racing will be allowed to fly under Part 101 since FPV racing does not fully comply with the FAA’s 2014 Model Aircraft Interpretation which said FPV could not be used to see and avoid other aircraft. The preamble to Part 107 in Pages 73-77 said they will issue a final interpretation on the 2014 interpretation sometime coming up but they did NOT address the interpretation in Part 107. Interestingly, Part 107 DOES allow for FPV provided you use a visual observer.  See page 149 of the Part 107 Preamble.
  3. So Part 107 isn’t for model aircraft people but just commercial people, right? No, everyone on the internet incorrectly classified everything as either commercial or non-commercial when the correct way to do it is model or non-model. Non-profit environmental organizations or fire departments are two good situations where they aren’t charging for the flight and cannot fall into model aircraft operations. They would need to get authorized some other way to fly.
  4. How do I take this Part 107 exam? See How to Get Your FAA Drone Pilot License (For First-Time and Current Pilots) for more information about how to get your drone pilot license.
  5. What in the world do I study? I’m working on this. Sign up for my newsletter to receive updates.
  6. How much does the test cost?  First time pilots have to take the initial knowledge exam which is estimated at $150.[1] Current manned pilots can either take the initial knowledge exam for $150 or take an initial online training course for free.
  7. When does Part 107 go into effect? August 29, 2016.
  8. I saw some link on the Facebook forums about a Part 107 test. I took it and received a certificate like what is below. Am I good to go? That online test is NOT the Part 107 initial knowledge exam. That test is ONLY for the current manned aircraft pilots who wish to add on the sUAS rating onto their certificates. See How to Get Your FAA Drone Pilot License (For First-Time and Current Pilots) for more information about how to get your drone pilot license.
  9. How many different exams are there? The current manned aircraft pilots can take either the initial online training course or the Part 107 initial knowledge exam while the first time pilots can ONLY take the initial Part 107 knowledge exam. After you receive your remote pilot certificate, you’ll have to pass a recurrent exam within 24 calendar-months of passing either an initial or recurrent aeronautical knowledge test.
  10. I read some people on Facebook telling me about the law…… Let me stop you right there. Getting aviation law advice off Facebook forums is like getting medical help off Craigslist – it’s dumb. Yes, I know there are a few good attorneys online that do help, but there are also a ton of posers. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk or get aviation law info off Facebook. On top of this, some of the people on these Facebook groups are committing the unlicensed practice of law by picking up clients for legal work but are too ignorant of their own criminal laws to know they are breaking these laws. Offering to help you be compliant with the law – while breaking the law themselves.
  11. What happens if I fail the Part 107 initial knowledge test? Arnold Schwarzenegger answered your question in Kindergarten Cop, “You lack discipline!” Go study again, and take the test. The FAA’s Advisory Circular says on page 27, “Retaking the UAS knowledge test after a failure:
  • 14 CFR part 107, section 107.71 specifies that an applicant who fails the knowledge test may not retake the knowledge test for 14 calendar days from the date of the previous failure.
  • An applicant retesting after failure is required to submit the applicable AKTR indicating failure to the testing center prior to retesting.
  • No instructor endorsement or other form of written authorization is required to retest after failure.
  • The original failed AKTR must be retained by the proctor and attached to the applicable daily log.”
  1. Let’s talking about the TSA background check.
    1. I’m a new pilot, does TSA pre-check or global entry count? Don’t know. Keep checking back to this page.
    2. I’m a current part 61 pilot, do I have to get TSA background checked? No, you already had your check when you obtained your Part 61 certificate.
  2. I’m a fire fighter, law enforcement officer, government agency employee, etc……can I get my 107 certificate and then go do government stuff?  Sure. But keep in mind that sometimes it might be beneficial to get a Public COA to accomplish the mission as there are certain restrictions with Part 107. However, there are Part 107 waivers that can be obtained. Contact me as each situation is different.
  3. What can I NOT do under Part 107? See my blog post on Part 107 waivers.
  4. I did a drone certification course with some company, does that count? No, your certification is worth nothing. A bunch of these drone courses popped up being taught by unqualified individuals who were far more proficient at WordPress and Mailchimp than they were at teaching weather and manuals.
  5. Why do you use the term drone pilot license in the title of one of your blog posts when the correct term is remote pilot certificate? I know the correct term is remote pilot certificate; however, when writing a blog post, it is important to write a title that would be understood by new individuals.  If you were new to this area, what would you type in Google?  I wrote the articles for first time pilots, not existing pilots who know how to speak “aviationese.”

 

cockpit
Part 61 Pilots (Sport, Recreational, Private, Commercial, ATP, but NOT Student).

  1. How does a current manned aircraft pilot get a 107 certificate? See How to Get Your FAA Drone Pilot License (For First-Time and Current Pilots) for more information about how to get your drone pilot license.
  1. Do I really have to take the 107 online study course and fill out the 8710? I’m a private pilot. This is beneath me. Can’t I just fly using the Part 107 restrictions? Do you know what a difference between a pilot and God is? ……God doesn’t think he is a pilot.  The answer is no. On the back of your private pilot certificate, it says something like airplane single engine land right? You can’t go and fly a multi-engine airplane, or water plane, or helicopter right? It is because you do not have those additional ratings to fly those types of aircraft. You are going to have to go and obtain a small UAS rating for your certificate.
  2. How long does my temporary certificate last? § 107.64(a) says, “A temporary remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating is issued for up to 120 calendar days, at which time a permanent certificate will be issued to a person whom the Administrator finds qualified under this part.”

new drone pilot teddy

First Time Pilot Questions

  1. How do I go about getting my drone pilot license? The correct term is remote pilot certificate. See How to Get Your FAA Drone Pilot License (For First-Time and Current Pilots) for more information about how to get your remote pilot certificate.
  2. Where can I take the 107 knowledge exam? You take it at a knowledge exam testing center. A complete list is located here.
  3. Can I fly under the Part 107 restrictions now since they will be out soon? I don’t have a 333 exemption. Nope. You can’t fly under them without having a 107 rating.

Those with Pending Section 333 Exemptions

  1. I filed a 333 petition and it is still pending. Now what? The FAA will post a letter to your docket. See here for an example of what one looks like. The FAA is breaking the petitions down into three tiers: (1) operations that can be done within 107, (2) operations that can be done within 107, but need a waiver, and (3) operations that cannot be done within 107 even using a waiver.
  2. But my exemption was just about to be approved. Am I goofed?  The FAA recently just approved a batch of exemptions on 6/28 so they might be processing some of the exemptions up to a point. We will have to see. Keep checking in with this page.

Those Who Already Have Section 333 Exemptions

  1. I have a 333 and want to do a job tomorrow. Can I do it or do I have to wait to get a 107 certificate? Page 81 of the Preamble to Part 107 says, “the FAA will allow any Section 333 exemption holder to either continue operating under the terms and conditions of the exemption until its expiration, or conduct operations under Part 107 as long as the operation falls under Part 107.” Sometime later you should switch over to Part 107 before the 333 exemption expires.
  2. Do we still need to get COAs to operate near airports like we did with the 333s? You are required to get an airspace waiver if you are doing operations in Class B, C, D, or E airspace. So you still need a COA near actual legitimate airports. Gone are the days where we had to deal with the middle of nowhere private airports or the heliports that were completely all over the place like a herd of toddlers that somehow got into craft sparkles.
  3. Wait. I read Part 107 and it said ATC permission. It didn’t say anything about waivers. Where are you getting this COA idea from?  The FAA further clarified this area by their own FAQ pagewhich says:
    • How do I request permission from Air Traffic Control to operate in Class B, C, D, or E airspace? Is there a way to request permission electronically?
      You can request airspace permission through an online web portal on the FAA’s UAS website. This online portal will be available on August 29, 2016.
    • Can I contact my local air traffic control tower or facility directly to request airspace permission?
      No. All airspace permission requests must be made through the online portal.
  4. What advantage do 333 guys have now?  You have the ability to transition over to Part 107 when you feel like it. Many are rushing in to get their Part 107 certificate but the test will not be available until August and the new pilots will have to pass a TSA background check – along with a ton of other people. For non-part 61 pilots, the date of taking the exam and date of having a temporary certificate in their hand are going to be two different dates. Another advantage is that the 333 operators with airspace COAs will have an advantage to those without. There could be delays in implementation by the FAA which affects the 107 people but not the 333 people. Ultimately, the 107 is going to replace the 333 exemptions, except for a few situations like 55 pound and heaver, VLOS package delivery, carrying hazardous material, etc.
  5. Can a Part 107 remote pilot fly under our 333 exemption as pilot in command? Prior to June 2016, no 333 exemption had this provision so NO. You can’t mix and match parts and pieces of the 333 and the 107. It is either/or. For example, let’s say you have a COA already for your 333 in Class D airspace, you can’t take that COA and apply it over to your 107 certificate.
  6. So why would I fly under Part 107 as opposed to the 333 exemption? There is no 500 foot bubble rule, no NOTAMs, no sport pilot license at a minimum, no visual observer requirement, etc.
  7. Can I renew my 333 exemption? This depends on whether you can do the operations under 107 or not. Most of the exemptions were for aerial data collection which can be done under Part 107 so they will most likely not be renewed. See page 87 of the preamble to Part 107 for more details.
  8. How can I sign up for your newsletter to get more high quality blog posts like this in my email?   My newsletter.

[1] Page 13.

[2] Page 580.

 

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