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Q. What is an unmanned aircraft system (UAS)?

A. An unmanned aircraft system is an unmanned aircraft and the equipment necessary for the safe and efficient operation of that aircraft. An unmanned aircraft is a component of a UAS. It is defined by statute as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft (Public Law 112-95, Section 331(8)).

Q. Is a UAS the same as a model aircraft?

A. Congress defined a “model aircraft” as a UAS that meets all of the following:

  • Is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere
  • Is flown within visual line-of-sight of the person operating it
  • Is flown for hobby or recreational purposes

Q. How do I fly a UAS for work or business purposes?

A. There are three ways to fly a UAS for work, business, or non-recreational reasons:

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

Q. What should I do if I see someone flying a drone in a reckless or irresponsible manner?

A. Flying a drone in a reckless manner is a violation of Federal law and FAA regulations and could result in civil fines or criminal action. If you see something that could endanger other aircraft or people on the ground, call local law enforcement.

Q. If someone’s UAS crashes in my yard, hurts someone, or damages my property, what do I do?

A. Call local law enforcement. Law enforcement personnel will contact the FAA if the crash investigation requires FAA participation.

Q. When do I need to report an accident?

A. The remote pilot in command of the small UAS is required to report an accident to the FAA within 10 days if it results in at least serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness, or if it causes damage to any property (other than the UAS) in excess of $500 to repair or replace the property (whichever is lower).

Q. Is the Small UAS Rule effective?

A. Yes. The Small UAS Rule came into effect on August 29, 2016.

Q. How do I submit an accident report under the Small UAS Rule (Part 107) to the FAA?

A. An online portal is available through www.faa.gov/uas for the remote pilot to report accidents in accordance with reporting requirements in the Part 107 rule. Accident reports may also be made by contacting your nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).

Q. 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)?

A. Yes. To act as a remote pilot in command under Part 107, a person must have a remote pilot certificate. 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 aeronautical knowledge test. The online training for current pilot certificate holders is available at http://www.faasafety.gov. All other members of the public must take and pass the initial aeronautical knowledge test to obtain a remote pilot certificate.

Q. Is package delivery allowed under the small UAS rule (Part 107)?

A. Part 107 permits the transportation of property for compensation or hire, provided the operator complies with all the provisions of the rule, including that the operator must keep the UAS within his/her sight, the flight is conducted within visual line-of-sight and not from a moving vehicle, external loads must be securely attached and cannot adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft, and the aircraft with payload must weigh less than 55 lbs. at takeoff. The transportation must also occur wholly within the bounds of a state and may not involve transportation of property between: (1) Hawaii and another place in Hawaii through airspace outside of Hawaii; (2) the District of Columbia and another place in the District of Columbia; or (3) a territory or possession of the United States and another place in the same territory or possession.

Q. Can news media fly a UAS to shoot stories or cover breaking news?

A. Media companies may use a UAS, but must adhere to the requirements of their Section 333 grant of exemption or the Small UAS Rule (Part 107). Organizations may request a waiver under Part 107 to fly over people, and will need to provide sufficient mitigations to ensure public safety.

Q. What options do I have if my operation is not permitted under these rules (Part 107)?

A. If you are operating an unmanned aircraft that weighs less than 55 pounds, generally you may apply for a Part 107 waiver (special permission) to conduct your operation. Your waiver application must outline 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. For more information on how to apply for a Part 107 waiver, see “How to Apply for a Part 107 Waiver” on our blog.

Q. Who do I contact if my question isn’t answered on the UAS website?

A. We encourage you to first read all of the information on the website and browse our Frequently Asked Questions. If you still have questions or concerns, you may contact the FAA’s UAS Integration Office via uashelp@faa.gov or by calling 844-FLY-MY-UA. You may also send us your inquiry via our Contact form.