Who can operate a small UAS?
Part 107 states that the operator or pilot is a person who manipulates the flight controls of a small UAS. The FARs establish a new airman concept: Remote Pilot in Command, who may operate a small UAS. The pilot must hold a Remote Pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a Remote Pilot in Command.
Becoming a Remote Pilot in Command:
For current pilots, the FAA intends to make the process “easy”:
- Complete the online training course “Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) ALC-451” available on the FAA FAASTeam website
- Complete FAA Form 8710-13 (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for a remote pilot certificate)
- Validate applicant identity
- An appropriate FSDO representative, a DPE, or an ACR will then issue the applicant a temporary airman certificate
- A permanent remote pilot certificate will be sent via mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete.
Becoming a Remote Pilot in Command for Non-Pilots:
New pilots will take a longer aeronautical knowledge test and be vetted by the TSA, but otherwise will follow the same process as described above for current pilots.
Operators are required to obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating along with passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center, followed by passing a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months thereafter.