FAA Resources

Beyond the Basics

Waivers to Certain Small UAS Operating Rules

The small UAS rule (14 CFR part 107) includes the option to apply for a certificate of waiver, which allows for a small UAS operation to deviate from certain operating rules if the FAA finds that the proposed operation can be performed safely.

  • Waivable sections of part 107
  • 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)

*No waiver of this provision will be issued to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.

Applicants should submit their waiver requests to the FAA as early as possible. Processing time depends on the complexity of the request; however the agency strives to respond within 90 days.

Certificates of waiver may include specific special provisions designed to ensure that the small UAS operation provides an equivalent level of safety as part 107.

  • Standard special provisions for part 107 waivers (coming soon)

Aircraft Weighing more than 55 Pounds (lbs.)

The small UAS rule (14 CFR part 107) is only applicable to unmanned aircraft that weigh less than 55 lbs. at takeoff.

To fly a UAS that weighs 55 lbs. or more, operators will need to use the existing Section 333 exemption process.

Operating rules and aircraft requirements will be the same or similar to operators flying under the small UAS rule. Pilot requirements will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Government Entities

Government entities or organizations (e.g. law enforcement agencies, public universities, state governments, local municipalities) have 2 options for flying UAS:

  1. Fly under the small UAS rule – follow all rules under 14 CFR part 107, including aircraft and pilot requirements
  2. Obtain a blanket public Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) – permits nationwide flights in Class G airspace at or below 400 feet, self-certification of the UAS pilot, and the option to obtain emergency COAs (e-COAs) under special circumstances

    Contact 9-AJV-115-UASCOA@faa.gov to learn more about public COAs.

Original content for this page gathered from: https://www.faa.gov/uas/beyond_the_basics/