An unmanned aircraft system (UAS), sometimes called a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot onboard – instead, the UAS is controlled from an operator on the ground.
When you fly a drone in the United States, it is your responsibility to understand and abide by the rules.
The FAA has released a new video on the rules and regulations that operators must follow to safely operate UAS. Click here to view the video.
The NEW Small UAS Rule (Part 107), including all pilot and operating rules, will be effective on August 29, 2016. For more detailed information, please see: https://www.faa.gov/uas/
Federal regulations define hobby / recreational operations as operations that meet the following criteria:
For example, taking pictures for someone to use in the course of their business is NOT hobby / recreational use, even if you are not being paid.
Community-based organizations are membership based associations that represent the aeromodelling community within the United States; and provide members a comprehensive set of safety guidelines that underscore safe aeromodelling operations within the National Airspace System and the protection and safety of the general public on the ground. The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is considered a community-based organization. The AMA National Model Aircraft Safety Code is considered a community-based set of safety guidelines.
UAS operations that do not fall under the definition of hobby / recreational and are not public use are considered commercial use. Commercial use is regulated by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 107, Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Part 107 covers:
Operating Rules (Subpart B)
Most of these restrictions are waivable if the applicant demonstrates the operation can safely be conducted under the terms of a certificate of waiver (Subpart D).
Remote Pilot in Command (Subpart C)
A person operating a small UAS must either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who does hold a remote pilot certificate (remote pilot in command).
To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, a person must:
Operators who plan to use a UAS as a state or federal agency, or for other government purposes, such as fire departments or law enforcement, have the option of operating under the regulations set forth in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 107, Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems or they may apply for a Certificate of Authorization (COA).
A COA is an authorization issued to a public operator for a specific activity. Details on COAs, and application information, can be found on the FAA website under Certificates of Waiver or Authorization.