The Holidays will be here before we know it. Santa may have to team up with the FAA when gifting to “big kids” if their wish list includes something more substantial than a model airplane. In all seriousness, however, Part 107 is the FAA’s continued effort to maintain the safety of the National Airspace System and must be strictly adhered to.

The new Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rule, Part 107, takes effect today. The Rule governs unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds and does not apply to UAS’s flown strictly for hobby or recreational purposes, so long as they are flown in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

The newly-titled “Remote Pilot in Command” must hold either a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate with a Small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of one who holds such a Certificate. To qualify, the Certificate candidate must (1) demonstrate aeronautical knowledge by either passing an aeronautical test at one of the FAA-approved knowledge testing centers; or hold a Part-61 Pilot Certificate, have completed a flight review within the last 24 months, and complete a small UAS online FAA training course; (2) be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration; and (3) be at least 16 years old. An FAA airworthiness certification is not required, but the Remote Pilot in Command must complete a preflight check of the small UAS to ensure that it is in a condition safe for operation.

Among other things, Part 107 dictates that the Remote Pilot in Command not operate the Small UAS during daylight and civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise and 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) and that the Small UAS be operated with appropriate anti-collision lighting. The Small UAS may not operate over any persons not directly participating in its operation, and may not be operated under a covered structure, nor inside a stationary vehicle. Other requirements include yielding the right of way to other aircraft and not exceeding the maximum groundspeed of 100 mph (87 knots) or maximum altitude of 400 feet. The Rule permits a Small UAS to carry an external load so long as it does not adversely affect the aircraft’s characteristics or controllability. Most of the operational restrictions are waivable if the Remote Pilot in Command demonstrates that the proposed operation can be conducted safely under the waiver.

Click here for the complete text of the Small UAS Rule.