What is the New FAA Registration Requirement?

FAA Seal Regulations and laws may be boring but the new FAA developments for commercial drone use is very exciting. We all know the FAA has been behind the curve on drones and probably considered drones a passing fad.

The FAA had a short-term solution with Section 333 Exemptions, but this required the operator of a commercial drone to be a licensed pilot. For example, if you are a real estate agent and fly to take aerial photos or videos of property to assist in selling it – it is considered a commercial purpose due to an economic benefit.

Even with the 333, there were some positive changes earlier this year as the FAA increased flight ceiling to 400’ above ground level (AGL) and broadened the list of permitted drones to over 1,110 with more to come.

The primary barrier to entry into the commercial drone market is the licensed pilot requirement, and this is one of the major reasons Part 107 is being introduced. The introduction of Part 107 will allow a pilot without a manned aircraft pilot’s license to fly a drone for commercial use. The real question is how excited should we be about the new regulation?

Let’s look at how drone operations were handled before Part 107 becomes effective:

  • Section 333 with Certificate of Authorization (COA)
  • Pilot in Command (PIC) must be a licensed pilot
  • Visual observer (VO) for all flights
  • NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) filed prior to flight
  • Generally, no flights within 5 miles of airport (without FAA approval)
  • 400 feet AGL flight ceiling
  • Generally, no flights within 500 feet of non-participants
  • Monthly FAA flight reports
  • Maintenance logs
  • Report any accidents
  • Maximum weight – less than 55 lbs.
  • Maximum speed – 100 mph/87knots
  • Maintain Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)
  • No night flights

Let’s look at how drone operations were handled after Part 107 becomes effective:

  • Estimated testing cost = $150
  • Pass TSA background check
  • At least 16 years of age
  • If no pilot’s license – must pass an “aeronautical knowledge test”
  • Manned aircraft pilots = online test
  • Recurring test(s) will occur
  • No visual observer required
  • Fly in Class B, C, D and E airspace with FAA/ATC approval
  • Fly in Class G airspace without permission
  • Night flights prohibited
  • 400 feet AGL flight ceiling
  • Generally, no flights within 500 feet of non-participants but there is ambiguity in the language
  • Report any accidents
  • Maximum weight – less than 55 lbs.
  • Maximum speed – 100 mph/87knots
  • Maintain Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)
  • More flexibility on getting waivers for non-conforming flights

Another essential part of Part 107 is the new micro-drone classification as an operator will be able to fly over people. The drone must weigh less than 4.4 lbs. and be made out of material that will break up upon impact.


There are still vital issues the FAA must address.

First, will a licensed pilot have to take a new test to fly under Part 107? Second, will an operator with a Section 333 be “grandfathered” in under Part 107? Third, how does the FAA envision managing micro-drones over crowds when you might have twenty drones in the air over an outdoor crowd? Fourth, what is the FAA going to do about the VLOS requirement as this severely limits the growth of drone use in specific areas such as pipeline and power line inspections? Fifth, will the FAA ever allow night flights?


There is no question that commercial drone use will be big as the projected economic impact is $13B by 2018 and $82B by 2025 in the U.S. alone. It is also expected that 103,000 new U.S. jobs will be created by 2025. Part 107 provides an amazing opportunity but there are issues to monitor such as allowing flights beyond visual line of sight.

There is always the possibility of the FAA over-regulating the economics out of commercial drone use in the event a catastrophic accident occurs. All in all, Part 107 is a massive step for the FAA.


There is no doubt that Part 107 is exciting and a game changer for the commercial drone industry.

In summary, the FAA should be applauded for moving forward with Part 107 but must continue to develop with the drone industry as the applications for drones are endless and create great efficiency. Simply stated, the FAA is holding up the progress of the commercial drone industry.

More information can be found at: https://www.rchobbiesonair.com/faa-drone-rules/

About the author

McClintock is the creator of https://mydeardrone.com/, a free community to learn everything from news, reviews, guides and much more about drones and technology.

Leave a Comment