US Drone Law
Cutting Edge Legal Analysis for
Cutting Edge Drone Technology
US Drone Law is not a law firm. The contents of this site do not represent legal advice and are for informational purposes only.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Part 107 Drone Rule
I already have a traditional pilot license (issued under part 61) but would like to fly drones as well. Do I need to obtain a separate drone pilot license?
Yes, if you plan to fly the drone for anything other than recreational purposes (under the authority of 14 CFR 107) then you will need to obtain a drone pilot license. The FAA created a separate drone pilot license (called a remote pilot certificate) for anyone piloting a drone under the Part 107 rule. The remote pilot certificate can be obtained by taking and passing an aeronautical knowledge test. However, anyone who holds a part 61 pilot certificate and has completed a flight review within the past 24 months may obtain the new remote pilot certificate by taking an online training course that focuses on drone-specific areas of knowledge instead sitting for the knowledge test. Everyone else will be required to take and pass the initial aeronautical knowledge test to obtain a remote pilot certificate.
The only other exceptions to the above would be drone operations under a Section 333 waiver and drone operations under a public COA.
If you currently hold a conventional pilot license (Part 61), you can start training for a drone pilot license (remote pilot certificate) immediately at www.faasafety.gov.
Section 333 Drone Use
My Section 333 exemption requires a pilot-in-charge of my drone operation. Can someone who has obtained the new drone pilot license (remote pilot license) act as the pilot-in-charge under my Section 333 exemption?
According the FAA, no. The FAA views this as “mixing and matching” the conditions and limitations in your Section 333 exemption with the Part 107 rule operating requirements. According to the FAA, Section 333 exemption holders have two choices:
- Continue to fly their drone(s) using their Section 333 exemption, following the conditions and limitations in the exemption, or
- Get a remote pilot certificate and start flying under the Part 107 rule, following all the requirements of the new rule.
At US Drone Law, we think the answer might not be so black and white. Whether an individual who holds a remote pilot certificate could act as the pilot-in-charge under your Section 333 operation would depend largely on specific language of your Section 333 exemption.