How to apply for a waiver from the FAA

Let’s quickly make sense of the FAA ruling regarding Part 107 and sUAS operation…

Basically the government doesn’t want a Jetson-like future with thousands of drones and planes sharing the same sky, at least not yet. With good cause, technology hasn’t quite reached a level where drones automatically recognize an incoming flight path of a plane and autonomously clear the way to prevent any type of sky accident. Nor do they have the ability to recognize crowds of people gathered below them and guarantee not to violently dive out of the sky with propellers that can cut like razor blades.

Every time you fly, as a responsible pilot, it is your job to recognize potential hazards and steer clear of them at all costs. You need to be the brains of the operation, display safe practice and recognize your place in the sky. Once you gain a thorough understanding of airspace you’ll quickly realize that there is a lot of open air to explore without the need to obtain permission from the FAA, but there will most likely come a time when you need special clearance to operate outside of the provisions set in place under Part 107.

Some possible reasons to obtain a waiver (taken directly from http://www.faa.gov)

  • Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25)*
  • Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
  • Visual line of sight aircraft operation (§ 107.31)*
  • Visual observer (§ 107.33)
  • Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems (§ 107.35)
  • Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
  • Operation over people (§ 107.39)
  • Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
  • Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (§ 107.51)

As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons one might need to request a waiver. So what do you do if you need to obtain one?

First things first… Be aware that you will not be able to operate an aircraft under waivable conditions unless you are certified and your drone is registered. Another individual may apply on your behalf and can be known as the “Responsible Person” in charge of holding the waiver during an operation, but that person may not operate the sUAS unless they carry an official certification. Also, the FAA is diligently working on a solution to approve/deny waiver applications in a timely manner, however the current application process can take up to 90 days for a response so plan accordingly.

If you haven’t registered your drone yet head over to https://registermyuas.faa.gov/ and get that done right after you finish this article. It’s required that all sUAS be registered and properly labeled…the cost is $5.

Once your certified and registered, you can head over to http://www.faa.gov/uas


From the homepage you will see a list of tasks on the right hand side, select the ‘Request a Waiver/Airspace Authorization’ link. You will be immeaditely taken to the form required to submit your waiver request. Fill out all applicable information, required fields will be starred. Again, once submitted your request can take up to 90 days for approval/denial. In some cases your approval will come with an additional set of requirements/restrictions in order to operate in said area. Take note of these provisions and be sure to follow them closely. Keep in mind you are required to state an exact timeframe in which you are planning to operate your sUAS in a specific area… a perfect formula for an FAA agent to pay you a visit to make sure you are following the rules.

As the popularity of drones continues to become more and more evident, we are also noticing more and more sanctions being handed down by the FAA for those caught breaking the law… some fines in excess of $10,000! The government is making a statement that this technology should be taken very serious, as it has the ability to cause great catastrophe if abused.

Our goal is to help you become a more responsible pilot, we want to see everyone following safe practices set in place by the FAA. If you have any questions or suggestions for and article you can reach out to us directly in the comments below and as always…Stay on the Rize ✌🏽

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