14 CFR Part 107 vrs. Filing for FAA 333 exemption

14 CFR Part 107





When is the effective date of the Small UAS Rule?
The Small UAS Rule will be in effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. August 29, 2016.  

Flying for Work or Business (non-recreational)

How do I fly a UAS for work or business purposes? There are three ways to fly a UAS for work, business, or non-recreational reasons:

  • Following the requirements in the Part 107 rule
  • Following the rules in your Section 333 grant of exemption
  • Obtain an airworthiness certificate for the aircraft

I am part of a Federal/State/local government office – how can I fly a UAS to support a specific mission e.g. search and rescue?
You may either operate under the Part 107 rule, or you may apply for a public Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for certain operations.

Can news media fly a UAS to shoot stories or cover breaking news?
Media companies may use a UAS, but must adhere to the requirements of the Part 107 rule. This includes not flying over non-participating people without a protective structure. Organizations may request a waiver to fly over people, and will need to provide sufficient mitigations to ensure public safety.

What options do I have if my operation is not permitted under this rule?
If you are operating an unmanned aircraft that weighs less than 55 pounds, generally, you may apply for a waiver to request special permission to conduct your operation. Generally, you must submit a waiver application that outlines how you intend to safely conduct your proposed operation, including any additional risk mitigation strategies you may use. An online portal will be available through www.faa.gov/uas for UAS operators to apply for waivers to applicable parts of the rule. Get more information in the FAQ section on Permissions, Authorizations, Waivers, and Exemptions.

Knowledge Testing/Remote Pilot Certification

I already have a pilot certificate issued under part 61. Do I need to obtain a remote pilot certificate to fly a UAS under the Small UAS Rule (Part 107)?
Yes. All operations under the Part 107 rule require the UAS operator to have a remote pilot certificate, which he or she can obtain by taking an online training course. However, part 61 pilot certificate holders who have completed a flight review within the past 24 months may elect to take an online training course focusing on UAS-specific areas of knowledge instead of the knowledge test. All other members of the public must take and pass the initial aeronautical knowledge test to obtain a remote pilot certificate.

When will the initial Knowledge Test at testing centers be available?
Members of the public will be able to take the knowledge test at testing centers on the effective date of the Small UAS Rule in August 2016.

When will the online training be available for current pilot certificate holders?
Online training for current pilot certificate holders is currently available at www.faasafety.gov.

How can I find the closest Knowledge Testing Center to me?
A list of Knowledge Testing Centers (PDF) is available.

Where can I find study materials for the knowledge test?
The Airman Certification Standards (ACS) and sample questions will be available at https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/training/

How much does it cost to get a remote pilot certificate?
We anticipate that a knowledge testing center will charge approximately $150 to people seeking to take the knowledge test.

Will the FAA recognize any previous UAS training I've taken?
No. Prior aviation-related training may be helpful to new applicants preparing for the knowledge test. However, there is no required practical training to fly under the Part 107 rule or to get a remote pilot certificate.

Once I complete the Knowledge Test at one of the approved centers, what is the process for obtaining my pilot certificate from the FAA?
After you have passed the Knowledge Test, you will then complete the FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (known as IACRA) to receive a remote pilot certificate. IACRA is a web-based certification/rating application that ensures you meet the requirements and electronically submits the application to the FAA's Airman Registry. Applications should be validated within 10 days. Applicants will then receive instructions for printing their temporary airman certificate, which is good for 120 days. The FAA will then mail you your permanent Remote Pilot Certificate within that 120 days.

What happens if I fail the knowledge test? How soon can I retake the test?
You may retake the test after 14 days.

What do I need to bring with me to take the knowledge test?
All applicants must bring a valid and current form of identification that includes their photo, date of birth, signature, and physical residential address. Acceptable forms of identification include:
    What to bring in order to take the knowledge test
  • U.S. Citizen and Resident Aliens
  • Driver permit or license issued by a U.S. state or territory
  • U.S. Government identification card
  • U.S. Military identification card
  • Passport
  • Alien residency card
  • Non-U.S. Citizens
  • Passport
  • AND
  • Driver permit or license issued by a U.S. state or territory
  • OR
  • Identification card issued by any government entity

More information is available in the FAA Airman Knowledge TestingMatrix (PDF).

Airspace/Airports

How can I tell what class of airspace I'm in?
Under the Small UAS Rule (part 107) (PDF), operators must pass an aeronautical knowledge exam to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. This exam will test prospective operators on how to use aeronautical charts to determine airspace classifications.

For reference, aeronautical charts and a Chart User's Guide are also available on the FAA's website. These charts are the FAA's official source of airspace classifications.

Additionally, the FAA's B4UFLY app, which is designed to help recreational UAS flyers know where it's safe to fly, shows users if they are in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, or E airspaces) in a given or planned location. If the app's status indicator is yellow ("Use Caution – Check Restrictions"), a user is in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace.

How do I request permission from Air Traffic Control to operate in Class B, C, D, or E airspace? Is there a way to request permission electronically?
You can request airspace permission through an online web portal on the FAA's UAS website. This online portal will be available on the effective date of the rule in August 2016.

Can I contact my local air traffic control tower or facility directly to request airspace permission?
No. All airspace permission requests must be made through the online portal.

I'm an airport operator and have questions about recreational UAS flying near my airport.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Use of Model Aircraft near an Airport for more information.

Permissions, Authorizations, Waivers, and Exemptions

Do I need a Section 333 exemption, or any other kind of special permission, to fly once the Part 107 rule becomes effective?
Once you have obtained your remote pilot certificate, and registered your aircraft, you can fly in Class G airspace as long as you follow all the operating requirements in the small UAS Rule (Part 107). However, you will need special permission if you want to fly in any controlled airspace (PDF) (Classes B, C, D, or E), or if you want to deviate from any of the operational requirements contained in the Small UAS Rule (Part 107), including flying at night, or over people).

What happens to my Section 333 exemption when the Part 107 rule becomes effective in August?
Your Section 333 exemption remains valid until it expires. You may continue to fly following the conditions and limitations in your exemption. If your operation can be conducted under the requirements in the Part 107, you may elect to operate under Part 107. However, if you wish to operate under part 107, you must obtain a remote pilot certificate and follow all the operating rules of Part 107.

Can my blanket Section 333 Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) transfer to my UAS operation under part 107?
No. If you fly following the requirements of Part 107, you must comply with the operating provisions specified in part 107. Part 107 limits your altitude to 400 feet unless your unmanned aircraft is flying within 400 feet of a structure (in which case you may not fly higher than 400 feet above the top of that structure). Part 107 also limits your operation to Class G airspace unless you obtain FAA permission prior to the operation to fly in controlled airspace. The blanket COA issued with your Section 333 exemption is only valid if you continue flying using the conditions and limitations in your exemption.

Am I better off flying under the Part 107 rule or my Section 333 exemption?
It depends on what you want to do. UAS operators need to compare the conditions and limitations in their individual Section 333 exemption to the operating requirements in the Part 107 rule to determine which operating rules best address their needs.

Can I use the new airmen certification to fulfill the pilot-in-command requirement of my Section 333 exemption?
No. You cannot "mix and match" the conditions and limitations in your Section 333 exemption with the Part 107 rule operating requirements. Section 333 exemption holders have two choices:

  • A. Continue to fly using their Section 333 exemption, following the conditions and limitations in the exemption
  • OR
  • B. Get a remote pilot certificate and start flying under the Part 107 rule, following all operating rules and requirements.

Is the new Small UAS Rule retroactively applied to 333 exemption holders?
No. Current Section 333 exemption holders have two choices:

  • A. Continue to fly using their Section 333 exemption, following the conditions and limitations in the exemption
  • OR
  • B. Get a remote pilot certificate and start flying under the Part 107 rule, following all operating rules and requirements of Part 107.

I already applied for a Section 333 exemption. What do I do?
In the coming weeks, the FAA will contact you with specific information about the status of your Section 333 petition.

What about all the pending requests for amendments to existing Section 333 exemptions?
In the coming weeks, the FAA will contact you with specific information about the status of your Section 333 petition.

Will FAA be issuing renewals for current Section 333 exemptions?
For the most part, no. If your operation can be flown under the Part 107 rule, the FAA will not renew your exemption once it expires. If you cannot operate under the requirements of the Small UAS Rule, you will need to renew your Section 333 petition once it expires.

How do I apply for a waiver to the requirements of the Part 107 rule?
Waivers are special permissions the FAA issues to authorize certain types of UAS operations not covered under the Part 107 rule. An online portal will be available through www.faa.gov/uas for people to apply for these waivers.

Once I submit my waiver request, how long before the FAA makes a decision? And how will I be notified?
Waiver processing times will vary depending on the complexity of the request. We encourage applicants to submit waiver requests well in advance of when they need a waiver – 90 days is strongly encouraged. Applicants will be notified via email about the outcome of their waiver processing.

Will I still need a COA to fly under the Part 107 rule?
If you already have a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA), you can continue to fly under those COA requirements until it expires. This applies to Section 333 COAs, as well as public COAs issued to public entities, such as law enforcement agencies, state or local governments, or universities.

If you don't already have a COA and you are not conducting a public aircraft operation, you probably don't need one now that Part 107 is out. Starting in August 2016, civil UAS operations flown under the new rules will not require the UAS operator to get a COA before flying in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace. Operators who want to fly in controlled (Class B, C, D, or E airspace (PDF)) will need air traffic permission – details about obtaining permission will be available online at www.faa.gov/uas before the rule becomes effective in August.

Please contact the FAA's Air Traffic Organization for more information.


Filing for FAA 333 exemption

The FAA provides instructions for filing a petition — A formal letter requesting an action from the FAA that must be filed in accordance with 14 CFR part 11. for exemption — A formal document issued in response to a petition that relieves or denies relief for the petitioner from the requirements of a particular section of 14 CFR. or rulemaking at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/petition/. Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) § 11.81 is reproduced here, in pertinent part, to provide information you need to know before submitting a petition for exemption.

Petition for Exemption 14 CFR § 11.81

If you have completed your research and determined you need an exemption, you must send a petition for exemption 120 days before you need the exemption to take effect. Your petition for exemption must include—

  • Your name and mailing address. You may include other contact information such as a fax number, telephone number, or email address;

  • The specific section or sections of 14 CFR from which you seek an exemption;

  • The extent of relief you seek and the reason you seek the relief;

  • How your request would benefit the public as a whole;

  • Reasons why the exemption would not adversely affect safety, or how the exemption would provide a level of safety at least equal to the existing rule;

  • A summary we can publish in the Federal RegisterFederal Register — The daily Federal Register contains four categories of documents: regulations (rules), proposed rules, notices, and Presidential documents. Rules published in the Federal Register keep the CFR current. Proposed rules solicit public comment on an agency's rules and encourage public participation in the rulemaking process. Notices provide information of interest to the public. stating—
    • The rule — A regulation written by the FAA to enact a statute. The FAA may grant an exemption from a rule, but not from a statute. from which you seek the exemption; and
    • A brief description of the exemption you seek;
  • Any additional information, views, or arguments available to support your request; and

  • If you want to exercise the privileges of your exemption outside the United States, you must state the reason.

Additional information can be viewed http://aes.faa.gov/Petition/home.html

Under the grant of an exemption, a PIC (Pilot in Command) must hold either an airline transport, commercial, private, recreational, or sport pilot certificate. The PIC must also hold a current FAA airman medical certificate or a valid U.S. driver’s license issued by a state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, a territory, a possession, or the Federal government. The PIC must also meet the flight review requirements specified in 14 CFR § 61.56 in an aircraft in which the PIC is rated on his or her pilot certificate.

Including all FAA approved sUAS on your 333 filing.

You may now reference the complete list of sUAS, that the FAA has approved and include that with your 333 submission.

Return response from the FAA "The operator is authorized by this grant of exemption to use any aircraft identified on the List of Approved Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) under Section 333 at regulatory docket FAA-2007-3330 at www.regulations.gov, when weighing less than 55 pounds including payload. Proposed operations of any aircraft not on the list currently posted to the above docket will require a new petition or a petition to amend this exemption."

Registering your sUAS with the FAA.

Now you may register your sUAS Online with the FAA and received a FA# for $5. The FA# is tied to the pilot and should be displayed on all of your air crafts.

Registering N-Numbers for your UAS. (Now needed only if you plan to work outside of the US)

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