Tuesday, June 21, 2016

FAA Releases Part 107 and Discusses Details at UAS Stakeholder Telecon

21 June 2016

Part 107 will be enacted 60-days after publication of the rule in the Federal register (5-7 days; late-August)



Related Documents and Materials:  
Paraphrased comments from Marke "Hoot" Gibson
  • Significant day in aviation; fundamental change in aviation
  • Less than 55 pounds, 400 feet above ground level (AGL) maximum altitude, 100mph/87kts, daytime (some accommodation for 30+/- minutes dawn/twilight with lighting), 16 yrs old minimum age, flight only over participants, Remote PIC (control authority), and accident reporting (within 10 days for $500 or more damage)
Paraphrased comments from John S. Duncan
  • Carrying load/cargo permitted (if secured and no adverse impact to flight performance), but only within a State (intrastate operations)
  • Compensation permissible
  • Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight (MTOW) cannot exceed 55 pounds
  • Visual line of sight (VLOS) operations only (unless waiver received for extended or beyond VLOS)
  • Testing to occur at existing knowledge testing centers (for non-Part 61 pilots), otherwise completion of an online course (no student pilots, must be 24mo current in aircraft)
  • Airworthiness certification not required for UAS
  • Part 107 rule does not apply to model aircraft (they follow Special Rule 336)
  • There will be waiver provisions (to permit operations from moving aircraft or vehicle, extended/BVLOS, multiple-UAS, near other aircraft, flight over people, maximum speed/altitude, minimum visibility, and distance from clouds)
  • Section 333s are still applicable (current applicants will be sorted into categories: Tier I – those that fall under 107, Tier II – those covered by waivers, and Tier III - further exemptions that exceed 107 provisions); will help alleviate backlog of current applications (1k+; 90% expected to be covered under Part 107, applicants will be notified of status and any required action, if needed)
  • Micro Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) recommendations (flight over people) are currently being evaluated (see https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=85327)
Questions (abbreviated and paraphrased)
  • Additional detail to be made available at https://www.faa.gov/uas/
  • Will operators still need to report under NTSB requirements? Yes
  • What does the FAA define as serious accident or injury? Level 3 or higher (according to abbreviated injury scale)
  • How do Part 61 operators remain current for sUAS? Participate in an online knowledge course every 24mos, will also need to remain current in aircraft
  • Is Part 107 exclusive, how does it interact with Part 91? Most requirements are applicable (copied), otherwise treated as exception in 107
  • Can 333 holders still operate, until exemption expires? Yes, they also have option to choose to operate under 107 (select one). Pending petitions are continuing to be evaluated (by categories) and if applicable, Tier I will be recommended to operate under Part 107; Tier II waiverable petitions will be transferred directly into waiver process (no action needed by petitioner); and Tier III will continued to be processed as 333s.
  • When will Part 61 exam be available? On implementation date (late-August), training course material is available today (no examination, complete course and then apply for certificate)
  • What about operations in non-Class G airspace? Risk-based procedures for operations in airspace are in development (starting with E and D, then C and B).
  • For damage requiring accident reporting, how is $500 defined, does it include sUAS? Damage to aircraft is not included in this total
  • Where will Part 61 knowledge test materials be found? Yes, at https://www.faasafety.gov/
  • Will pesticide application (spraying) be permissible? Part 137 still applies, there is one UAS that has demonstrated this use case
  • Inter/intrastate operations, what is distinction for operations? Intrastate is only applicable for carrying cargo/ external load, otherwise interstate operations permissible
  • Part 61 pilot testing, where will testing be provided? It will not be a test, just completion of an online course
  • Are Aeronautical Test Centers ready now? They cannot give tests until implementation date, they will be ready by date
  • Why was 500ft AGL maximum altitude reduced to 400ft? To provide buffer between general aviation and sUAS operations
  • How does rule prevent unauthorized flight over facilities (e.g., temporary flight restrictions [TFRs])? UAS not permitted to fly in  same areas where manned aircraft are prohibited
  • How does 500ft setback apply? It does not, must ensure no flight over non-participants (people)
  • Would closed set movie making Section 333 (over people) be permissible under 107? Yes, with waiver for flight over people.
  • Any specific provisions for research faculty and post-doctorate at Universities? No specific provisions, but waivers and 333 available to support.
  • Does rule apply to recreational operators not flying under community-based organization (CBO) guidelines? Yes, it applies to all operating outside of special rule 336
  • If a current 333 requests to operate under Part 107, will it be granted? Yes, one or the other
  • Will a licensed pilot need a sUAS rating? Yes, will need to take online training course (available now) and then apply for certificate/rating (available when enacted)
  • Will authorization be required to enter non-Class G airspace? Yes, FAA is developing risk-based procedures and requests will eventually be made through a web-based portal
  • Are notice to airman (NOTAMs) required for routine UAS flights? [NOT ANSWERED]
  • Is there an ability to fly above 400ft and within 500ft of a structure (e.g., tower)? Yes, within 400ft of top of tower (structure)
  • Is there an insurance requirement, similar to part 135? None, no insurance required
  • Are there any provisions for operating near airports outside of controlled airspace? No requirement to coordinate with airport, if in class G, but if any other (B-E) then must not interfere with airport operations (Part 107.43)
  • Is part 61 license at risk, if operating sUAS (UAS certificate or all licenses)? Yes, but it will be dependent on the situation. The FAA will investigate, if operating in irresponsible manner that poorly reflects on aeronautical decision making, FAA will take appropriate action.
  • Will UAS commercial training be allowed (for compensation) under 107? Yes, a non-licensed pilot can operate under supervision of licensed Remote PIC.
  • How are UAS operations in congested areas handled under Part 107? 107 prohibits flight over people (unless waiver approved); exempt from most requirements of Part 91
  • Will FAA form 7711-2 be used for waivers? Yes, but online processes are being built to apply and process (no need to fill out form, FAA will complete on applicants behalf)
  • Will rule allow flights in National Parks? No FAA rules prohibit such operations, but National Park Service prohibits takeoff and landing from their land (same true for any landholder)
  • Should state agencies pursue Part 107 or COA? Will require analysis on part of agency to determine which is preferable
  • Are there any provisions to support University research? Part 107 is less burdensome than existing process, but nothing specific addresses research at Universities
  • What are examples of 333 that are not waiverable under 107? Example, MTOW exceeding 55 pounds
  • Under Part 107 are visual observers required and what requirements will they need to meet? They are allowed, not required
  • Will ATC issue a clearance near airport or will pilot advise of intentions? Under 107, it is not advised, it requires positive authorization. This is currently being worked internally and hope to have application and receipt of approval resolved within the next 60 days (i.e., development of online portal to apply for approval).