UAS (Drones)

FAA UAS Homepage

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulations have been rapidly evolving, and can be somewhat confusing. The diagram below helps clarify which rules to fly under depending on what your purpose for flying is.

14 CFR Part 107 (the “small UAS rule”) is for UAS < 55 lbs flown for commercial or public purposes. A brief rule summary (somewhat dated) covers operational limitations, remote pilot certification, and registration. Other than weight, a waiver can be obtained for most operational limitations (see Subpart D).

14 CFR Part 91 (General Operating and Flight Rules) is for UAS > 55 lbs flown under an FAA Certificate of Authorization or Waiver (COA) for public aircraft, or a 49 USC 44807 (Special Authority for Certain UAS) exemption. Part 91 is also applicable to manned aircraft.

49 USC 44809 (Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft) is a conditional “carve out” from Part 107 and Part 91. It is specifically for those flying for recreational purposes only, which by definition includes UAS operated by institutions of higher education for educational or research purposes. The flow chart below will help you determine if recreational flying is appropriate for each flight.