FAA Part 107 Waiver

The FAA predicts 835,000 commercial drones and 1.4 million recreational drones will be in use by 2023, significantly increasing the number of unmanned aircraft that will coexist with manned aircraft in the airspace.

As more drones crowd the sky, it becomes critical to follow the airspace rules and regulations for safe flight. But those rules and regulations depend on your mission. For example, recreational users looking to fly drones for fun have a shorter list of rules to follow. In a nutshell: Register your drone. Fly under 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace. Avoid controlled airspace near airports. And keep your done within line of sight. Easy enough.

On the other hand, the rules for commercial operators are a bit more complex. You’re required to become a certified drone pilot and follow the FAA’s Part 107 rules. But many commercial pilots need to fly in controlled airspace and operate outside of the Part 107 limitations to complete their missions. That’s where LAANC and Part 107 waivers come into the picture. 

What is the FAA’s LAANC?

Under Part 107, drone pilots planning to fly in controlled airspace near U.S. airports must get FAA permission via the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (aka LAANC). LAANC provides FAA authorization for drone pilots to access controlled airspace at or below 400 feet and gives air traffic professionals visibility into when and where drones are operating.

What is a Part 107 waiver, and do I need one?

Keep in mind that LAANC is strictly for approving flights classified under the current Part 107 regulations. If your organization needs to operate drones outside of these regulations, a Part 107 waiver will be required. For example, some organizations may need to fly drones over people or fly drones beyond visual line of sight in order to complete their mission. Other organizations may need to fly above 400 feet or fly drones at night. If that’s the case, you’ll need to request a Part 107 waiver from the FAA.

How do I get approved for a Part 107 waiver?

Organizations can request a Part 107 wavier via the FAA’s DroneZone application. When applying, include details about your operation, drone capabilities, and pilot experience. Also be prepared to explain how you’ll minimize risks when operating drones outside of the Part 107 regulations. Ultimately, the FAA wants to ensure you’re equipped to manage unforeseen circumstances in the airspace. They’ll be looking for details about the technology, training, equipment, and personnel you have in place to operate drones safely and securely for every flight.

How do I know I have the correct waivers?

That’s difficult to do without the right partners. The Dunaway Law Group stays up to date on the laws and in contact with our clients to make sure that they always have the most up to date information. The Dunaway Law Group also collects data the FAA shares to help drone operators stay compliant with regulations. This includes airport facility maps, airspace classifications, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), and notices to airmen (NOTAMs).

However, there are several other factors drone operators need to consider for a safe and secure flight. These factors include weather conditions like wind, turbulence, and precipitation; location data like terrain, buildings, and roads; and vehicle data like battery life and maintenance requirements.

The Dunaway Law Group uses these data sources to help drone operators minimize risks and generate the optimal route every time. Our goal is to help UAV operators safely integrate all unmanned aircraft in the global airspace.

Author: Clint Dunaway

Arizona attorney.