FAA Consulting

Drones and their accompanying systems are important tools for public safety and industrial applications. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has strict guidelines and regulations to which commercial drone users need comply. We’ve outlined everything you need to know below.


Commercial Drone Regulations

Whether you’re a fire department drone pilot, a police UAS manager, or the UAS team lead for an oil pipeline, there are an increasing number of use cases for commercial grade UAS. To help regulate commercial operators and commercial drone programs, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has authorized two (2) distinct methods for operating a legal, FAA-approved commercial drone program.


PART 107


  • Categorized as "Civil Aircraft Operations"

  • Operations conducted under the pilot's individual 107 certificate, not the agency

  • Daytime flight only

  • Must get permission to fly in B, C, D and E airspace for each flight

  • Operation under 400' AGL (above ground level)

  • Operation within visual line of sight of the operator

Training/Application Requirements

  • Pass "Remote Pilot in Charge" airman knowledge test every 2 years



  • Categorized as "Public Aircraft Operations"

  • Agency holds the authorization, not individual pilots

  • Nighttime flight, with permission

  • Pre-approval to fly in B, C, D and E airspace

  • Operation under 400' AGL (above ground level)

  • Operation within visual line of sight of the operator

Training/Application Requirements

  • Public Declaration Letter (letter to FAA certifying public status)

  • Self-certify that pilots have completed training

  • Self-certify that pilots are medically fit to fly

  • Documents, policies, and procedures furnished to the FAA by department or consulting company

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The FAA has approved over 900 Certificates of Authorization for public safety agencies in the United States.


Skyfire has helped hundreds of agencies across the country successfully launch their drone programs.


The number of public safety agencies with drone programs has doubled every year for the last four years.

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Understanding UAS Regulations

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choose the best option for your organization

The first step in creating a world-class commercial UAS program is determining the most appropriate regulatory framework for your agency that will give you the most coverage and flexibility possible. There are two regulatory options available to commercial agencies: Part 107 certification and the Certificate of Authorization (COA). Part 107 is an individual designation that places responsibility on the individual Remote Pilot in Command (RPC). Part 107 is available for all commercial operations, including public safety. The Certificate of Authorization is a department-level designation that places the responsibility for operations on the agency. It’s only available for public safety agencies and requires completion of a Public Declaration Letter to get access to the FAA COA processing system.

Download “Part 107 vs. FAA COA”


How to become part 107 certified

The process for obtaining your Part 107 certificate is relatively simple. All you need to do is go to your local Airmen Knowledge Testing Center and pass the initial aeronautical knowledge test. Passing the test and completing the electronic FAA Form 8710-13 will approve the pilot to operate during the day within line of sight of the UAS in Class G airspace anywhere in the United States. Any additional waivers, like airspace waivers or night flight operations, require additional applications to receive approval. There is no additional fee for applying for these waivers, though depending on your use cases, these waivers can sometimes be difficult to obtain. The initial aeronautical knowledge test is multiple choice and has a relatively high pass rate, however some self-study is recommended. For those with little prior aeronautical knowledge, we recommend taking a physical or online course that will help prepare you for the test.

Download the “Guide to Part 107”

understanding the FAA coa process

The Certificate of Authorization process is one of the most misunderstood and daunting in all of public safety UAS, which is why we’ve spent the past 5 years getting to know it inside and out. COA’s are only available to public safety agencies in the United States, and are a department-level designation, meaning the department maintains responsibility for flights flown on the department’s behalf. There are two primary types of COA’s: Blanket COA and Jurisdictional. A Blanket COA covers a department in Class G airspace anywhere in the United States. A Jurisdictional COA gives access to Class B, C, D, and E airspace for a limited, predefined jurisdiction. Which COA is right for your department depends on the airspace of your jurisdiction, how you will use your UAS, whether you will contribute to mutual aid regularly, among many other factors. Skyfire is committed to helping agencies find the best solution within their budget. Our experts are available as needed to answer questions about the COA and FAA regulatory process.

Download the “Guide to Certificates of Authorization (COA)”


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From dispatch to investigation and analysis, drones are fundamentally changing the way fire departments, police and emergency management teams operate.
— Matt Sloane, CEO, Co-Founder
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Drone Training Options

Determining your organization’s regulatory framework is just the beginning. Establishing an ongoing training regimen for your drone pilots is also one of the most critical aspects of creating a world-class commercial UAS program.


Part 107

Master all the topics you need to pass the initial aeronautical knowledge test with the Skyfire Online Part 107 course. This 3-hour course covers all key areas of aeronautical knowledge required to obtain the Part 107 certification, is entirely online, and comes with both an online and physical study guide.

Online part 107 course covers:

  • Everything you need to know

  • Pilot certification, training, and currency

  • Registering aircraft

  • Selecting the right equipment

  • UAS basics

  • Aerodynamics for UAS

  • Weather theory and hazards for UAS

  • Airport operations

  • National Airspace System

  • Aviation charts and publications

  • TFR’s and NOTAMs

  • Aeronautical decision making

  • Flight safety

  • Normal, abnormal, and emergency procedures

  • And plenty more


Coming soon!


Skills Camps

Skyfire Skills Camps are hosted, multi-day events that focus on 4-5 key practical commercial drone pilot skills. Through panel discussions, classroom training, and live flight courses, Skyfire Skills Camps combine the best of classroom and practical training in an engaging, dynamic, and educational format.

fully customizable options:

Choose from a host of classroom and practical course options, such as:

  • Product demonstrations

  • Expert panel discussions

  • “Breaking down the tape” group film work

  • Beginner pilot essentials

  • Thermography 101

  • Accident reconstruction

  • Mapping and GIS essentials

  • Custom NIST course

  • Using a drop system

  • Search and rescue (SAR) basics

  • Streaming software options

  • SWAT UAS tactics

  • Maintenance and camera tips

  • And plenty more

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Basic Training

Obtaining a Part 107 certification or a COA is only the first step in building a sustainable commercial drone program. The Skyfire Basic Training Package is a 2-day onsite classroom and practical drone training course, designed to give your team the skills they need to start flying missions immediately.

2-day onsite training covers:

  • Part 107 - everything you need to know

  • Certificate of Authorization (COA) process

  • The types of COA’s available

  • Pilot certification, training, and currency

  • Public aircraft operations

  • Building a UAS program

  • Components of a UAS program

  • Use cases/missions

  • Selecting the right equipment

  • Timelines for UAS program integration

  • National Airspace System

  • UAS basics

  • Crew resource management

  • Full-day practical flight training with a Skyfire certified trainer

  • And plenty more

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Advanced Training

Continue to elevate your training to expert level with a two-day course, including thermography and more intense flight training. Learn in-depth knowledge that only the most elite pilots possess. This immersive training will have you with the most up-to-date knowledge of the UAS space. 


  • Weather products

  • NOTAMs

  • COA vs 107 rules

  • IR science

  • Qualitative v quantitative data

  • Working with thermal data

  • Applications - structural inspection, electrical/solar, search and rescue

  • 2D, 3D, accident scene re-creation

  • Accuracy, ground control and RTK

  • Flight planning and techniques for good data

  • Processing and challenges

  • And plenty more


Learn More About Drone Training Courses