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FAA Small Unmanned Aircraft (UAS) rule (PART 107)  XML
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GMedich
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Joined: 10/19/2016 08:49 AM EDT
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Hello to all from a 1st-time posting, new member here:

I have been interested in purchasing a drone to assist in roof inspections for a few months now. I had put the idea on hold since the FAA was getting close to finalizing its first set of rules on the subject. Now that they have done so (effective August 29, 2016), I am revisiting the idea.

Has anyone here taken the FAA test yet?

Has anyone taken a preparatory class for it?

GRANT MEDICH
1st Call Home Inspection, LLC
Rockford, Michigan
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rthowell
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Back in January, I had my 333 waiver filed by a vendor at the ASHI show in San Diego. Spoke with him for a bit and he is very knowledgeable. Helps that his business is drone focused and he is an aviator, too. A month or so ago, he sent out this email explaining the new rule that was issued. I'll post the body of the email below. Hope this helps.

I have been meaning to send something out for the last month but things have been crazy busy.

This is NOT a solicitation for any product or business. This is an informational email about using drones commercially.

DISCLAIMER: None of this should be considered legal advice. I am NOT an attorney. You should verify everything that is mentioned below before acting on it.

First, if you don’t care about using drones commercially in your inspection business then you can quit reading.

I apologize for the length of this email but a LOT changed on 8/29/2016.

On August 29th, 2016 the FAA finally put into law what is called Part 107. I was one of the first people in the country to get the Part 107 license. I received my license on August 29th.

Part 107 makes it MUCH easier for people to fly drones commercially. Here are the important aspects of the new law.

1. The pilot in command no longer has to have a full scale pilots license.
2. The monthly reporting requirements go away.
3. The restrictions around small airports go away and you no longer need a Certificate of Authorization or a Letter of Authorization to fly within 5 miles of small airports who are in what is called class G airspace.
4. In many cases you no longer have to have a spotter.
5. For the most part, the requirement of filing a NOTAM (Notice to Airman) before every flight goes away.

There are still some strange rules but for the most part, Part 107 really helps make flying drones for commercial reasons (i.e., doing roof inspections) legal.

There are two ways to get a Part 107 drone license. The easiest way is if you are already a licensed full scale pilot. That is the route I took. Since I think 99% of home inspectors are NOT licensed pilots I will focus this email on the 2nd way.

The first thing you will need to do is take a written test at an FAA testing facility. If you do not have an aviation background this test will NOT be a walk in the park and you WILL fail. The test costs a minimum of $150 and if you are going to a testing center that is licensed by the FAA there may be an additional surcharge.

If you want to see the areas that the test will cover then download the following pdf file from the FAA’s website http://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/acs/media/uas_acs.pdf

If you want to get an idea of what some of the questions on the test will be like you can take a free online training course and sample test from the FAA. This is designed for licensed pilots but it will give you a very good idea of the questions that will be asked. Go to https://www.faasafety.gov/gslac/ALC/course_content.aspx?cID=451&sID=726&crID=1436761 to take the the course. The course will take about 45 minutes and the sample test will take about an hour or so. If you are thinking about taking the Part 107 test I would highly encourage you to take this free course and test.

I have seen people recommend the following book: The Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. I think the cost is about $20. You can buy it on amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Pilots-Handbook-Aeronautical-Knowledge-FAA-H-8083-25A/dp/1619540207/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466552136&sr=1-1&keywords=Pilot's+Handbook+of+Aeronautical+Knowledge&linkCode=sl1&tag=thedronegirl-20&linkId=7f146b5bd9df5385056db1684fe0ae8c

Once you pass the test you will need to be vetted by the TSA. I don’t think this is a big deal. Essentially prove you are a US citizen and they enter you into the system and some kind of automated background check is done.

You then need to enter your information into the FAA website which issues licenses. That website is https://iacra.faa.gov/IACRA/Default.aspx

Assuming the background check goes OK and you passed the test you should get your license in about 10 days.

If you want to read about people’s experiences in taking the test go to http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2729603

Finally, if you have already received the "333 Waiver” and are legally flying under it you can continue to do so until it expires (two years from when it was issued). However, if you do that you will have to deal with all the regulations that are tied to the 333. I would encourage you to get the Part 107 license.

Speaking of the “333 Waivers”. I have tried to get information about the backlog and the FAA is stonewalling me. I actually had to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get the most basic information. They did provide SOME of the information I requested but are stonewalling on the rest. I may have to get my senator involved to get the other, more interesting, information that I requested.

Here is the information they did provide:

The number of 333 Waivers waiting to be processed:
January 31, 2016: 3582
February 29, 2016: 4885
March 31, 2016: 7542
April 30, 2016 :6192

The number of 333 Waivers approved as of:
January 31, 2016: 3164
February 29, 2016: 3674
March 31, 2016: 4464
April 30, 2016: 5182:

There were no 333 requests that were denied in January, February, March, or April of 2016

So, as you can see, the backlog was huge and that is why it is taking a year or longer for the FAA to process a “333 Waiver” request.

I am guessing that the FAA will notify the people who have not yet been processed and tell them to get a Part 107 license. The FAA is no longer accepting “333 Waiver” requests.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to email them to me.

Thanks

Dave Burritt

Owner: Mile High Drone Services
www.MileHighDroneServices.com

Ryan Howell, Owner
Coastline Home Services
http://coastlinehs.com
http://calhomewarranty.com
888-788-4228
GMedich
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Joined: 10/19/2016 08:49 AM EDT
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Thanks for passing this on, RT.

I remember there having been a waiver process (re: "333 waiver"), and had wondered if those would be grandfathered forward. It sounds as though the FAA wants to pretend those were never an option in the first place.

The process seems clear enough, but also difficult enough where I expect some inspectors will be tempted to operate without FAA certification.

I meant to link to their website in my OP.

Here it is: http://www.faa.gov/uas/

GRANT MEDICH
1st Call Home Inspection, LLC
Rockford, Michigan
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rthowell
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GMedich wrote:
The process seems clear enough, but also difficult enough where I expect some inspectors will be tempted to operate without FAA certification.


Like many laws/rules, they only work if they are enforced. Unless someone is being reckless or damages someone's property and they end up in a lawsuit, I don't really see local police forces hassling inspectors or anyone operating in a commercial setting. They have enough to worry about these days.

That said, it's not that hard to learn this stuff and pass a test. We do the same thing for home inspection anyway... learn stuff we don't know and continually improve our craft.


Ryan Howell, Owner
Coastline Home Services
http://coastlinehs.com
http://calhomewarranty.com
888-788-4228
GMedich
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Joined: 10/19/2016 08:49 AM EDT
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rthowell wrote:
Like many laws/rules, they only work if they are enforced. Unless someone is being reckless or damages someone's property and they end up in a lawsuit, I don't really see local police forces hassling inspectors or anyone operating in a commercial setting. They have enough to worry about these days. ...

The practicality of enforcement is the key issue for home inspectors as I see it.

I would be more concerned about disturbed neighbors filing a complaint with the FAA than any possible interaction with local enforcement. It just wouldn't be worth the hassle now that there is a feasible route to obtaining certification.

My area of the country is not particularly fond of federal agencies, but they ARE fond of peace and quiet however they can effect it.

What more, the cost of certification might just be worth cross-marketing additional revenue streams with a drone such as real estate listing photography and such.

GRANT MEDICH
1st Call Home Inspection, LLC
Rockford, Michigan
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William Chandler
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ridiculous rule. I'll take my chances on being the first home inspector to be executed for inspecting a roof.

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GMedich
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The FAA won't execute you, William. Dead citizens can't pay the fines which fund their enforcement activities.

All jesting aside, I would expect that enforcement of certification requirements would follow established patterns. Before certification was finalized, the FAA had been sending "cease and desist" letters to those identified as operating outside their guidelines. Formal enforcement occurred if the warning letter did not work as intended. I guess we'll have to keep our ears open to hear if they use the same method now.

I don't expect FAA employees will spend any time patrolling for offenders. They probably won't have to do so. Commercial operators who actually spend the time and money to obtain certification might want to shut-down competitors who have not incurred the same expense. Other licenses and certifications have produced similar effects - including the common driver license. We'll have to see if this happens in the drone pilot community.

GRANT MEDICH
1st Call Home Inspection, LLC
Rockford, Michigan
[WWW]
 
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