What are the Legal Limitations of Drones?
What is Part 107?
As of August 2016 the Official Rules and Regulations (Part 107) from the Federal Aviation Administration are in affect and they are AWESOME! They require every commercially operating drone pilot to go through training and pass a federal test to be a licensed drone pilot. It also mandates drone registration for all drones and also clarifies operating rules. Read more about Part 107 here.
What is Pertinent Need to Know?
There's a few things you should know to better be prepared for any upcoming operation:
- Night flying is not allowed (30min before and after sunrise/sunset is allowed)
- Operating over 400ft above ground level is not allowed unless you are within 400ft of a building (then 400ft above the building height)
- 5mi around any airport is a no fly zone
- The drone must be in Line-Of-Sight at all times. Visible to the naked eye
That being stated, most of the above rules can be waived by the FAA by applying for a Certificate of Waiver (COA) authorization if it can be shown the operation can still be completed safely. More about COA's here. This process can take up to 90 days so it must be done well in advance. Login to the FAA's website to apply for a COA, or create a new account to start your COA. Also, operations around airports can be permitted by contacting the Airport's Traffic Controller directly and asking for permission.