Drones are everywhere in the news these days. We read about drones that deliver food like pizza and burritos to college campuses along with drones that do surveys over real estate and construction sites.
Amazon is even experimenting with drones to deliver packages directly to homes from nearby fulfillment centers, and the CIA uses armored drones to fire deadly missiles at terrorist targets half-way around the world.
Like it or not, drones are here to stay. It’s predicted that over the next few years, over 100,000 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) jobs will come to the market. Thousands of UAV/Remote pilots will be needed in the growing field of aerial photography alone where drones are used for land surveying, mineral and oil exploration, cinematography coverage of sporting events and movie making.
Multiply the number of other industries that will need operators with drone training to the increasing drone military applications and the demand for new pilots is obviously clear.
The New Part 107
“Part 107” in UAV lingo are the new rules for the Code of Federal Regulations that are designed to allow the use of commercial drones under certain conditions without having to obtain a Section 333 exemption.
The FAA has finalized this new set of regulations concerning small unmanned aerial systems as of August 29, 2016. Titled Part 107, these rules have created a new Remote Pilot Certification process. The object is to make certification easier for the majority of low-risk, commercial UAV flight operations. In line with Part 107, the Section 333 Exemption will no longer be required for commercial drone operators flying small UAS.
The following conditions will apply in order to operate a drone under the new part 107 guidelines:
1. Pass an initial part 107 knowledge test at an FAA-approved testing site and receive a Remote Pilot Certificate with a small UAS Rating.
2. Pass an aeronautical knowledge test every 2 years.
3. Minimum age of 16 years old.
4. Report accidents that incur injury or property damage to the FAA.
5. Conduct preflight inspections to ensure the small UAS is safe for operation.
There are explicit conditions drone operators must follow under the new regulations. They include flying a drone only in a visual line of sight during daylight hours and with some additional conditions. The goal is to allow the commercial use of drones by operators/pilots without an airman’s license to fly a manned aircraft.
Since the bill has passed, the need to wait 5-7 months for a Section 333 Exemption and having to have a manned aircraft pilot license for simple operating tasks is no longer a burden to prospective drone operators. Besides simplifying the FAA Drone Pilot requirements, companies will no longer be required to have a person with a Part 61 pilot certificate on the payroll in order to be able to perform simple drone tasks.
For those who have the desire to enter this new field of aviation, the sky is clear and waiting.
For further uav training, there are numerous drone pilot schools and courses around the United States.