What is a Part 107 Waiver?
A Part 107 waiver is an official FAA document that allows commercial drone pilots to operate outside the regulations of CFR Part 107.
As a commercial drone pilot, you might need to fly at night or BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) in order to capture your dream shot. Unfortunately, Part 107 regulations do not permit you do so, and you will need a Part 107 waiver to facilitate this.
Obtaining a Part 107 waiver is difficult and you need to follow a systematic approach if you hope to get the FAA’s permission. That is why we have prepared this guide to help you out. So, let’s take it from the top, and first look at the different Part 107 waivers.
What are the Different Kinds of Part 107 Waivers?
These are the different kinds of Part 107 waivers:
- § 107.25 – Operation from a Moving Vehicle or Aircraft (Fly a UAS from a moving aircraft or a vehicle in populated areas)
- § 107.29 – (Daylight Operations Fly a UAS at night)
- § 107.31 – Visual Line of Sight Aircraft Operation (Fly a UAS beyond your ability to clearly determine its orientation with unaided vision)
- § 107.33 – Visual Observer (Use a visual observer without following all visual observer requirements)
- § 107.35 – Operation of Multiple Small UAS (Fly multiple UAS with only 1 remote pilot)
- § 107.37(a) – Yielding Right of Way (Fly a UAS without having to give way to other aircraft)
- § 107.39 – Operation Over People (Fly a UAS over a person/people)
- § 107.51 – Operating limitations for Small Unmanned Aircraft ( Fly a UAS over 1) 100 miles per hour 2) Over 400 feet AGL 3) With less than 3 statute miles of visibility 4) Within 500 feet vertically or 2000 feet horizontally from clouds
Of all the Part 107 waivers granted so far, an overwhelming majority were 107.29 Waivers (to fly a UAS at night).
How Can I Obtain a Part 107 Waiver?
How to Obtain Your Part 107 Waiver
(1) Log on to FAADroneZone
- Registering on FAADroneZone is quick and easy
- There are different sections for Part 107 and recreational pilots. Make sure you register yourself as a Part 107 pilot.
- Part 107 is applicable for drones weighing less than 55 pounds. You will need a Section 44807 exemption for large drones weighing more than 55 pounds.
(2) Fill out your Part 107 Waiver Application
- Click on “Create Part 107 Waiver/Authorization”
- You have the option to apply for an “Operational Waiver”, “Airspace Authorization” or “Airspace Waiver”
- Select “Operational Waiver”
(3) Add as many relevant details as possible
- This FAA document includes some excellent pointers for filling out your Part 107 waiver application
- Provide a complete description of the proposed operation and reveal all the safety measures that you plan to undertake
- The Waiver Explanation tab has a 15,000 character limit. You can upload 5 attachments no larger than 20 MB each.
(4) Enter sUAS details
- As per the FAA, “The sUA registration number, manufacturer, and model are required only for an application requesting a waiver to 14 CFR § 107.39 Operation over human beings. The Responsible Party must maintain a current list of sUAS by registration number used in the operation and must present the list for inspection to the FAA upon request”.
How Can I Increase My Chances of Obtaining a Part 107 Waiver?
- Submit your waiver application at least 90 days before you intend to fly. Sooner the better. This review period is dependent on the complexity of your request.
- If you need a waiver AND an airspace authorization (to fly in controlled airspace), note that you can apply for authorization AFTER procuring your operational waiver. So, plan accordingly.
- Be sure to include hazard identification and risk mitigation strategies in your application.
- Insufficient information is, by far, the biggest reason for rejecting an application. For instance, as per FAA’s trend analysis, these are some of the main reasons for Part 107 BVLOS waiver rejection.
- Insufficient information about command and control link & emitter capabilities.
- Applicant did not provide a detailed risk mitigation and collision avoidance plan.
- Vague information about weather tracking and operational limitations.
- Applicant did not provide enough details about employee training and testing program.
- Check out FAA’s Waiver Application Instructions document for more insights on this topic.
If you found this information useful, you might want to check out other blog posts as well. Watch this space for the latest and most exciting drone news and updates!