FAA Says Part 107 Paperwork Needs Correcting

Agency says many drone applications contain simple mistakes.

Drone UAS Part 107
The FAA says many of the Part 107 applications it gets are filled out improperly.Frankie Fouganthin/Wikipedia Creative Commons

The FAA says it’s already processed 81 authorizations for drone flights into Class D and E airspace, as well as 36 waivers to Part 107 since the rule became effective August 29. The bad news, however, at least for operators trying to take advantage of the easier access offered by the new rule, is that quite a few of the applications aren’t filled out correctly, which translates into delays for the operator. Some applications contain the wrong information, or in other cases are simply incomplete. The agency said, “Many applicants request too many waivers or request waivers for flights in types of airspace for which the FAA is not yet granting approvals.” The result of not giving an application the attention it demands means the agency has so far rejected 71 waiver requests and 854 airspace applications.

The agency is reminding applicants for waivers to begin by reviewing the performance standards to apply for an exception.

Because so many of the waiver requests are focused on flying a drone at night, the FAA suggested a few tips as to what must be included in the application. The paperwork must tell the agency how the operator plans to maintain line-of-sight control over the aircraft in the darkness, as well as how they’ll maintain clearance from people and objects and verify the drone’s altitude. Most important, how will the operator guarantee an aircraft in the area can see and avoid the drone at night?

The agency also reminds applicants the FAA will only wait 30 days when it requests additional information. If the agency doesn’t hear back from the applicant, the paperwork heads to the trash, which mean the process will need to begin all over again.

For airspace authorizations, the FAA is currently only processing requests to operate in Class D and Class E airport surfaces and plans to consider requests for Class C drone flights after October 31. Class A airspace authorization approvals begin after December 5. Applications to operate in these areas won't be approved before these dates. The waiver/airspace authorization application is available for review prior to beginning the process.