The ABC's of Part 107
It sounds like the missing screw from your latest Ikea project, but Part 107 is actually a monumental step forward for the drone industry.
Chapter 14 of the Code for Federal Regulations Part 107 allows people who want to commercially operate drones to become certified as “Remote Pilots in Command” (RPIC) simply by taking a 60-question written test and passing a TSA background check.
The study material for the test is based on the most relevant parts of manned aviation knowledge, some specific points on the regulation itself, good decision making, and safety behaviors. You are required to make a 70% on the test to pass, and to take the test again every two years to stay certified.
This primarily deals with commercial drone operators, but there is a section in the Part 107 regulation that allows public safety agencies to operate under the rule as long as they declare themselves a “civil operator.”
So what are the benefits of doing this?
The biggest one is that it’s relatively easy compared with the complexities of getting a Certificate of Authorization (COA), as a public agency normally would. You simply need to take a test for about $150 and you’re ready to go.
Part 107 allows you to operate under 400-feet above ground, in daylight, within line-of-sight of the drone, and in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace.
All of those provisions are waive-able as long as you can make a strong safety case to the FAA. It’s fairly simple to get a nighttime waiver, and although it can take a fairly long time, people have gotten waivers to operate in controlled airspace. Beyond line-of-sight waivers, and waivers to fly over people have only been granted in a very small number of cases.
One important thing to note about operating under Part 107 is that it's the Remote Pilot in Command who elects to operate, not a department they may be representing, so the RPIC is the one responsible for the flight and the consequences for breaking the rules.
If you are interested in getting certified under Part 107, we recommend taking an online class to prepare yourself. While we're not affiliated with them, we’ve had good success with RemotePilot101.com, as well as the ASA “Remote Pilot Test Prep” guide, available at amazon.com.