The FAA announced in 2020 some big changes to the FAA Part 107 regulations, to become effective starting in April 2021.
If you've looked at the documents from the FAA, your brain may have exploded with the sheer volume of text and references to other regulations.
Don't worry! I've got you covered. Annoyingly, much of those changes were slight changes to wording, punctuation, and labels that didn't change the meaning of much.
These changes will become effective April 21st, 2021. This Part 107 Test Prep Course has already been updated with those changes so you can start preparing now.
Here's a breakdown of what's new.
Part 107 Testing & Training
Testing requirements for your Part 107 Initial Test didn't change. You'll still have to take the test in-person at a testing center, unless you already hold a Part 61 certificate.
There is no more in-person testing required to maintain your currency if you already hold a Part 107 certificate. You will need to instead complete free online training offered by the FAA every two years. Click here for details on how to renew your Part 107 certificate online. So now you just take your Initial test in-person, and don't need to spend $160 every two years to stay current.
Additionally, there is a new "night flying" knowledge area to make you legal to fly under the new night rules. This night training has already been incorporated into the courses on this site.
Speaking of night flying...all pilots may now fly during all hours of the night without obtaining a waiver first. Requirements to fly at night are:
- Take your Initial test or appropriate online recurrent training after April 6th, 2021.
- Equip your drone with a flashing anti-collision beacon that is visible for three statute miles, from sunset to sunrise.
Flying Over People and Moving Vehicles
You may still obtain a waiver to fly over people or moving vehicles. However, the FAA now offers a provision for you to do so without a waiver.
The FAA has established four "categories" based on risk level. Category 1 being low-risk, small drones to Category 4 being larger drones capable of inflicting some serious damage if they were to fall on someone.
If you're operating under one of these categories, you may fly directly over people and moving vehicles, provided you comply with the operating limits established for each category.
There are some other miscellaneous additions spread out in the new changes:
- Added "identification" to the required documentation you'll need to provide to the FAA upon inspection. Also added various levels of law enforcement, NTSB, and TSA to the agencies that may ask for your required documentation.
- Added two paragraphs stating that you are not to operate a transponder or ADS-B transmitter on your drone (receivers are okay, transmitters no). Remote ID laws will be effective in late 2023.
And that's it! It's really nothing to be overwhelmed with. All of the buzz and documentation floating around makes it seem like a lot for new pilots to learn, but it's really basic when you boil it down.
If you have any questions about any of this, please use the options on the Contact page.