Commercial Drone Operation FAQ
Q: Are there rules for operating a drone (sUAS or Small Unmanned Aircraft System)?
A: Yes. The FAA regulates drone operations in the United States.
Q: Are there specific rules for operating a drone for commercial purposes?
A: Yes. These regulations are contained in 14 CFR Part 107 (known as "Part 107" for short).
Q: What constitutes "commercial" drone operations?
A: Any furtherance of a business would be considered a commercial operation. It's easier to answer in the context of non-commercial operation, known as "hobbyist" operation. If you're just flying a drone for fun (a.k.a. "hobby"), then Part 107 does not apply.
Q: Is a license required to operate a drone commercially?
A: Yes. As of September 30, 2016, a drone pilot can obtain a remote pilot certificate from the FAA, after completing a knowledge test and background check.
Q: Why is it important to hire a drone pilot with a Part 107 certificate?
A: A drone pilot with a Part 107 certificate has shown that they are aware of FAA regulations and restrictions for operating a drone in the national air space.
Q: Are there penalties for operating a drone commercially without a Part 107 certificate, or for hiring a pilot without a Part 107 certificate?
A: Yes. According to the FAA both the operator AND the person who hired the pilot could be liable. The pilot would face a fine of $1,100 per violation (as an individual acting as an airman), while the person who causes the operation could be liable for a fine of $11,000 (as an individual not acting as an airman).