The FAA’s new regulations for the commercial operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (“sUAS”) became effective on Monday August 29, 2016. Specifically, Part 107 to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations has been added to allow for the routine civil operation of sUAS in the national airspace system. As we previously announced, highlights of the new Commercial UAS Regulations are as follows:

Pilot Requirements:

  • A person operating a sUAS must either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a sUAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who holds a remote pilot certificate (remote pilot in command).
  • To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, a person must demonstrate aeronautical knowledge by either:
    • Passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center; or
    • Holding a part 61 pilot certificate, having completed a flight review within the previous 24 months and a sUAS online training course provided by the FAA; and
    • Being at least 16 years old with the ability to read, speak, write, and understand English.

Operational Limitations:

  • The sUAS must weigh less than 55 pounds (including payload);
  • Maximum altitude is 400 feet above ground level;
  • Maximum speed is 100 miles per hour;
  • The sUAS must remain within visual line of sight of the operator or an observer; and
  • The sUAS may not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation of the sUAS.

Aircraft Requirements:

  • An FAA airworthiness certificate is not required.
  • The sUAS must be registered with FAA and marked prior to its first flight