Part 107 Waiver

A waiver is an official document issued by the FAA which approves certain operations of aircraft outside the limitations of a regulation. You may request to fly specific drone operations not allowed under part 107 by requesting an operational waiver. These waivers allow drone pilots to deviate from certain rules under part 107 by demonstrating they can still fly safely using alternative methods.

Drone Operations that Require Waivers

You do not need a waiver to fly a drone following part 107 rules. You do need a waiver when you want to operate a drone contrary to the rules in part 107 under the waivable operations listed below.

You want to… Part 107 regulation you need a waiver from…
Fly a small UAS from a moving aircraft or a vehicle in populated areas § 107.25 – Operation from a Moving Vehicle or Aircraft
Fly a small UAS at night without anti-collision lighting § 107.29(a)(2) – Operation at night
Fly a small UAS during periods of civil twilight without anti-collision lighting § 107.29(b) – Operation at Night
Fly a small UAS beyond your ability to clearly determine the position, altitude, attitude, and movement of the sUA, with unaided vision. § 107.31 – Visual Line of Sight Aircraft Operation
Use a visual observer without following all visual observer requirements § 107.33 – Visual Observer
Fly multiple small UAS with only one remote pilot § 107.35 – Operation of Multiple Small UAS
Fly over a person with a small UAS which does not meet conditions of operational categories 1, 2, 3, or 4 § 107.39 – Operation over human beings.

Fly a small UAS:

  • Over 100 miles per hour groundspeed
  • Over 400 feet above ground level (AGL)
  • With less than 3 statute miles of visibility
  • Within 500 feet vertically or 2000 feet horizontally from clouds
§ 107.51 – Operating limitations for Small Unmanned Aircraft
Fly over moving vehicles with a small UAS which does not meet conditions of operational categories 1, 2, 3, or 4 § 107.145 – Operations Over Moving Vehicles

Definitions

Operations Over Human Beings: What does “over” mean?

  • “Over” refers to the flight of the small unmanned aircraft directly over any part of a person. For example, a small UAS that hovers directly over a person's head, shoulders, or extended arms or legs would be an operation over people. Similarly, if a person is lying down, for example at a beach, an operation over that person's torso or toes would also constitute an operation over people. A flight where a small UAS flies over any part of any person, regardless of how long the flight is over the person, would be considered an operation over people.

Operations Over Human Beings (Open-Air Assemblies): What does “sustained flight” mean?

  • “Sustained flight” over an open-air assembly includes hovering above the heads of persons gathered in an open-air assembly, flying back and forth over an open-air assembly, or circling above the assembly in such a way that the small unmanned aircraft remains above some part the assembly. Sustained flight over an open-air assembly of people does not include a brief, one-time transiting over a portion of the assembled gathering, where the flight is unrelated to the assembly.

Operations Over Human Beings: What is an “open-air assembly?”

  • The FAA employs a case-by-case approach in determining how to apply the term “open-air assembly.” Potential examples of open-air assemblies may include sporting events, concerts, parades, protests, political rallies, community festivals, or parks and beaches during certain events. Some potential examples that might not be considered open-air assemblies include individual persons or families exiting a shopping center, athletes participating in friendly sports in an open area without spectators, individuals or small groups taking leisure in a park or on a beach, or individuals walking or riding a bike along a bike path. Whether an open-air assembly exists depends on a case-by-case determination based on the facts and circumstances of each case.

How to Apply for a Waiver

Step 1: Determine what you need.

Request a waiver for only what you need to fly your mission. Additionally, you can review the criteria we use to evaluate waiver applications: Part 107 Waiver - Section Specific Evaluation Information (PDF)

The resources below can help you learn more about the waiver process and how to fill out the application.

Step 2: Login to FAADroneZone

  • Create an account, or log into your existing account. Select “Fly a sUAS under Part 107.” Note: You do not need to register a drone to request a waiver but you must register prior to any operation. When prompted to input make/model information for your drone, simply keep selecting “next” to bypass the payment forms.
  • Submit your application, including all supporting documents and attachments, through your FAADroneZone account. Select the "Operational Waiver" option.

Note: If you intend to use your waiver at night, you must include complete details of how you will mitigate risk at night in your waiver application or you may be restricted to daylight operations only.

Step 3: Decision

We will do our best to review and approve or disapprove waiver requests within 90 days of submission. Processing times will vary based on the complexity of your request and the completeness of your initial application.

If we need additional information to complete our review, we will contact the “responsible person” listed on your waiver application. Requests for information will be sent to you via FAADroneZone. If we need to send you a request for information, you will receive a FAADroneZone status change email and will need to log into your account to view and respond to the request. Requests will include questions to answer, instructions for responding, and a time limit for responses. If you do not respond to a request for information within the time limit, your application will be canceled and you will have to resubmit it.

Failure to adhere to the terms of the waiver may result in a violation of the regulation being waived.

Additional Information

Last updated: Friday, September 29, 2023