On August 29th, 2016 the FAA made a major regulatory change for commercial drone operations.
14CFR FAR Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems requires the person operating a drone for commercial use to have a Remote Pilot Certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with the certificate. This is good news for commercial drone pilots. It means that it’s easier to create a drone business because it is no longer a requirement that an individual have operational approval from the FAA.
With the global market for commercial drone business expected to triple in the next two years, there has never been a better time to become a certified drone pilot.
What all this means for you: If you want to operate a drone commercially (aka to make money) you must be obtain your Part 107 certification. This document will show you how to become a commercial drone operator from scratch.
Know You Objectives
It is important to understand the benefits of using a UAS. These include
- Reduced cost of aerial operations
Currently there are many types of UAS’s on the market, each with pros and cons. Choosing the right UAV for your specific operation is essential to your success.
Do you want to get into providing 3D mapping services? Perhaps you’re interested in becoming a drone photographer or videographer. There are many applications for which drones can be used. Much like making sure you have the right screwdriver for putting together your furniture, it is always important to choose the drone that best suits your job. Take a look at the number of drones for different industries offered by K2.
Learn about Part 107
The possibilities of UAS’s are far reaching. However there are FAA limitations to what pilots can and can’t do. FAR Part 107 describes the limitations to a standard operation. Most of the restrictions discussed below are waivable if the applicant demomnstrates to the FAA that his or her operation can safely be conducted under the terms of a certificate waiver.
Here’s a synopsis of the Part 107 restrictions:
- Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg)
- Daylight-only operations
- Minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from control station.
- Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level (AGL)
- Must remain within Visual line-of-sight (VLOS)
- May not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation
- May not operate from a moving vehicle
- Maximum groundspeed of 100 mph (87 knots)
- External load operations are allowed if the object being carried by the unmanned aircraft is securely attached
Get a Remote Pilot Certificate
In order to be qualified as a Commercial UAS Pilot, you must get a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. To qualify, a person must:
- Demonstrate aeronautical knowledge by either:
- Passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved testing center
- Hold a Part 61 pilot certificate other than a student pilot (i.e. private or commercial license, etc) AND complete a flight review within the previous 24 months AND complete a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA
- Be vetted by the TSA
- Be at least 16 years old
K2 offers a dedicated Training Academy that will prepare you for the FAA Part 107 test.
Purchase your UAS
Pick the drone that provides the most capability for your specific operations. There are various commercial drones on the market. Check out K2’s here.
Register Your Drone
FAA mandates that UAS’s be registered. There are potential civil and criminal penalties if you meet the requirements and fail to register your drone.
Registration can be done online at: https://faadronezone.faa.gov
Get a waiver from the FAA as needed
Mentioned earlier, most of the restrictions in Part 107 are waivable if the applicant demonstrates that his or her operation can be safely conducted under the terms of a certificate of waiver (COW).
The following limitations can be waived through online application:
- Operations from moving vehicle or aircraft
- Night operations
- Visual line of sight operations
- Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft
- Operation near aircraft; right-of-way rules
- Operation over human beings
- Operating limitations – Visibility
- Operating limitations – Altitude
- Operating limitations – Cloud clearance
K2 has successfully received a number of Certificates of Waiver and Certificates of Authorizations and can help you through the process.