[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 35 (Monday, February 23, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 9543-9590]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-03544]



[[Page 9543]]

Vol. 80

Monday,

No. 35

February 23, 2015

Part III





Department of Transportation





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





Federal Aviation Administration





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





14 CFR Parts 21, 43, 45, et al.





Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems; 
Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 80 , No. 35 / Monday, February 23, 2015 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 9544]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Parts 21, 43, 45, 47, 61, 91, 101, 107, and 183

[Docket No.: FAA-2015-0150; Notice No. 15-01]
RIN 2120-AJ60


Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FAA is proposing to amend its regulations to adopt 
specific rules to allow the operation of small unmanned aircraft 
systems in the National Airspace System. These changes would address 
the operation of unmanned aircraft systems, certification of their 
operators, registration, and display of registration markings. The 
proposed rule would also find that airworthiness certification is not 
required for small unmanned aircraft system operations that would be 
subject to this proposed rule. Lastly, the proposed rule would prohibit 
model aircraft from endangering the safety of the National Airspace 
System.

DATES: Send comments on or before April 24, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2015-0150 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. 
Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room 
W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket 
Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.
    Privacy: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments 
from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts 
these comments, without edit, including any personal information the 
commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system 
of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.
    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at 
http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions 
for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 
of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning 
this action, contact Lance Nuckolls, Office of Aviation Safety, 
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office, AFS-80, Federal Aviation 
Administration, 490 L'Enfant Plaza East, SW., Suite 3200, Washington, 
DC 20024; telephone (202) 267-8447; email UAS-rule@faa.gov.
    For legal questions concerning this action, contact Alex Zektser, 
Office of Chief Counsel, International Law, Legislation, and 
Regulations Division, AGC-220, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267-
3073; email Alex.Zektser@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Authority for This Rulemaking

    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in the 
FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-95). Section 
333 of Public Law 112-95 directs the Secretary of Transportation \1\ to 
determine whether ``certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate 
safely in the national airspace system.'' If the Secretary determines, 
pursuant to section 333, that certain unmanned aircraft systems may 
operate safely in the national airspace system, then the Secretary must 
``establish requirements for the safe operation of such aircraft 
systems in the national airspace system.'' \2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The primary authority for this rulemaking is based on 
section 333 of Public Law 112-95 (Feb. 14, 2012). In addition, this 
rulemaking also relies on FAA statutory authorities. Thus, for the 
purposes of this rulemaking, the terms ``FAA,'' ``the agency,'' 
``DOT,'' and ``the Secretary,'' are used synonymously throughout 
this document.
    \2\ Public Law 112-95, section 333(c). In addition, Public Law 
112-95, section 332(b)(1) requires the Secretary to issue ``a final 
rule on small unmanned aircraft systems that will allow for civil 
operation of such systems in the national airspace system, to the 
extent the systems do not meet the requirements for expedited 
operational authorization under sections 333 of [Pub. L. 112-95].''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This rulemaking is also promulgated pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 
40103(b)(1) and (2), which charge the FAA with issuing regulations: (1) 
To ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace; and 
(2) to govern the flight of aircraft for purposes of navigating, 
protecting and identifying aircraft, and protecting individuals and 
property on the ground. In addition, 49 U.S.C. 44701(a)(5), charges the 
FAA with prescribing regulations that the FAA finds necessary for 
safety in air commerce and national security.
    Finally, the model-aircraft component of this rulemaking 
incorporates the statutory mandate in section 336(b) that preserves the 
FAA's authority, under 49 U.S.C. 40103(b) and 44701(a)(5), to pursue 
enforcement ``against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the 
safety of the national airspace system.''

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms Frequently Used in This Document

    AC Advisory Circular
    AGL Above Ground Level
    ACR Airman Certification Representative
    ARC Aviation Rulemaking Committee
    ATC Air Traffic Control
    CAFTA-DR Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free 
Trade Agreement
    CAR Civil Air Regulation
    CFI Certified Flight Instructor
    CFR Code of Federal Regulations
    COA Certificate of Waiver or Authorization
    DPE Designated Pilot Examiner
    FR Federal Register
    FSDO Flight Standards District Office
    ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
    NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement
    NAS National Airspace System
    NOTAM Notice to Airmen
    NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
    NTSB National Transportation Safety Board
    PIC Pilot in Command
    Pub. L. Public Law
    PMA Parts Manufacturer Approval
    TFR Temporary Flight Restriction
    TSA Transportation Security Administration
    TSO Technical Standard Order
    UAS Unmanned Aircraft System
    U.S.C. United States Code

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary
    A. Purpose of the Regulatory Action
    B. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action
    C. Costs and Benefits
II. Background
    A. Analysis of Public Risk Posed by Small UAS Operations
    B. Current Statutory and Regulatory Structure Governing Small 
UAS
    C. Integrating Small UAS Operations Into the NAS
III. Discussion of the Proposal
    A. Incremental Approach and Privacy
    B. Applicability
    1. Air Carrier Operations
    2. External Load and Towing Operations
    3. International Operations
    4. Foreign-Owned Aircraft That Are Ineligible for U.S. 
Registration

[[Page 9545]]

    5. Public Aircraft Operations
    6. Model Aircraft
    7. Moored Balloons, Kites, Amateur Rockets, and Unmanned Free 
Balloons
    C. Definitions
    1. Control Station
    2. Corrective Lenses
    3. Operator and Visual Observer
    4. Small Unmanned Aircraft
    5. Small Unmanned Aircraft System (small UAS)
    6. Unmanned Aircraft
    D. Operating Rules
    1. Micro UAS Classification
    2. Operator and Visual Observer
    i. Operator
    ii. Visual Observer
    3. See-and-Avoid and Visibility Requirements
    i. See-and-Avoid
    ii. Additional Visibility Requirements
    iii. Yielding Right of Way
    4. Containment and Loss of Positive Control
    i. Confined Area of Operation Boundaries
    ii. Mitigating Loss-of-Positive-Control Risk
    5. Limitations on Operations in Certain Airspace
    i. Controlled Airspace
    ii. Prohibited or Restricted Areas
    iii. Areas Designated by Notice to Airmen
    6. Airworthiness, Inspection, Maintenance, and Airworthiness 
Directives
    i. Inspections and Maintenance
    ii. Airworthiness Directives
    7. Miscellaneous Operating Provisions
    i. Careless or Reckless Operation
    ii. Drug and Alcohol Prohibition
    iii. Medical Conditions
    iv. Sufficient Power for the Small UAS
    v. Registration and Marking
    E. Operator Certificate
    1. Applicability
    2. Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate--Eligibility & 
Issuance
    i. Minimum Age
    ii. English Language Proficiency
    iii. Pilot Qualification
    a. Flight Proficiency and Aeronautical Experience
    b. Initial Aeronautical Knowledge Test
    c. Areas of Knowledge Tested on the Initial Knowledge Test
    d. Administration of the Initial Knowledge Test
    e. Recurrent Aeronautical Knowledge Test
    i. General Requirement and Administration of the Recurrent 
Knowledge Test
    ii. Recurrent Test Areas of Knowledge
    iv. Issuance of an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate With 
Small UAS Rating
    v. Not Requiring an Airman Medical Certificate
    4. Military Equivalency
    5. Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate: Denial, Revocation, 
Suspension, Amendment, and Surrender
    i. Transportation Security Administration Vetting and Positive 
Identification
    ii. Drugs and Alcohol Violations
    iii. Change of Name
    iv. Change of Address
    v. Voluntary Surrender of Certificate
    F. Registration
    G. Marking
    1. Display of Registration Number
    2. Marking of Products and Articles
    H. Fraud and False Statements
    I. Oversight
    1. Inspection, Testing, and Demonstration of Compliance
    2. Accident Reporting
    J. Section 333 Statutory Findings
    1. Hazard to Users of the NAS or the Public
    2. National Security
    3. Airworthiness Certification
IV. Regulatory Notices and Analyses
    A. Regulatory Evaluation
    1. Total Benefits and Costs of This Rule
    2. Who is potentially affected by this Rule?
    4. Benefit Summary
    5. Cost Summary
    B. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Determination (IRFA)
    1. Description of Reasons the Agency Is Considering the Action
    2. Statement of the Legal Basis and Objectives for the Proposed 
Rule
    3. Description of the Recordkeeping and Other Compliance 
Requirements of the Proposed Rule
    4. All Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict 
With the Proposed Rule
    5. Description and an Estimated Number of Small Entities To 
Which the Proposed Rule Will Apply
    6. Alternatives Considered
    C. International Trade Impact Assessment
    D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment
    E. Paperwork Reduction Act
    1. Obtaining an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate With a 
Small UAS Rating
    2. Registering a Small Unmanned Aircraft
    3. Accident Reporting
    F. International Compatibility and Cooperation
    G. Environmental Analysis
    H. Regulations Affecting Intrastate Aviation in Alaska
V. Executive Order Determinations
    A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism
    B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect 
Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use
VI. Additional Information
    A. Comments Invited
    B. Availability of Rulemaking Documents

I. Executive Summary

A. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    This rulemaking proposes operating requirements to allow small 
unmanned aircraft systems (small UAS) to operate for non-hobby or non-
recreational purposes. A small UAS consists of a small unmanned 
aircraft (which, as defined by statute, is an unmanned aircraft 
weighing less than 55 pounds \3\) and equipment necessary for the safe 
and efficient operation of that aircraft. The FAA has accommodated non-
recreational small UAS use through various mechanisms, such as special 
airworthiness certificates, exemptions, and certificates of waiver or 
authorization (COA). This proposed rule would be the next phase of 
integrating small UAS into the NAS.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Public Law 112-95, sec. 331(6).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The following are examples of possible small UAS operations that 
could be conducted under this proposed framework:
     Crop monitoring/inspection;
     Research and development;
     Educational/academic uses;
     Power-line/pipeline inspection in hilly or mountainous 
terrain;
     Antenna inspections;
     Aiding certain rescue operations such as locating snow 
avalanche victims;
     Bridge inspections;
     Aerial photography; and
     Wildlife nesting area evaluations.
    Because of the potential societally beneficial applications of 
small UAS, the FAA has been seeking to incorporate the operation of 
these systems into the national airspace system (NAS) since 2008. In 
April 2008, the FAA chartered the small UAS Aviation Rulemaking 
Committee (ARC). In April 2009, the ARC provided the FAA with 
recommendations on how small UAS could be safely integrated into the 
NAS. Since that time, the FAA has been working on a rulemaking to 
incorporate small UAS operations into the NAS.
    In 2012, Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 
2012 (Pub. L. 112-95). Section 333 of Public Law 112-95 directed the 
Secretary to determine whether UAS operations posing the least amount 
of public risk and no threat to national security could safely be 
operated in the NAS and if so, to establish requirements for the safe 
operation of these systems in the NAS, prior to completion of the UAS 
comprehensive plan and rulemakings required by section 332 of Public 
Law 112-95. As part of its ongoing efforts to integrate UAS operations 
in the NAS in accordance with section 332, and as authorized by section 
333 of Public Law 112-95, the FAA is proposing to amend its regulations 
to adopt specific rules for the operation of small UAS in the NAS.
    Based on our experience with the certification, exemption, and COA 
process, the FAA has developed the framework proposed in this rule to 
enable certain small UAS operations to commence upon adoption of the 
final rule and accommodate technologies as they evolve and mature. This 
proposed framework would allow small UAS operations for many different 
non-recreational purposes, such as the ones discussed previously, 
without requiring airworthiness certification, exemption, or a COA.

[[Page 9546]]

B. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action

    Specifically, the FAA is proposing to add a new part 107 to Title 
14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) to allow for routine civil 
operation of small UAS in the NAS and to provide safety rules for those 
operations. Consistent with the statutory definition, the proposed rule 
defines small UAS as those UAS weighing less than 55 pounds. To 
mitigate risk, the proposed rule would limit small UAS to daylight-only 
operations, confined areas of operation, and visual-line-of-sight 
operations. This proposed rule also addresses aircraft registration and 
marking, NAS operations, operator certification, visual observer 
requirements, and operational limits in order to maintain the safety of 
the NAS and ensure that they do not pose a threat to national security. 
Below is a summary of the major provisions of the proposed rule.

            Summary of Major Provisions of Proposed Part 107
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Operational Limitations......   Unmanned aircraft must weigh
                                less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).
                                Visual line-of-sight (VLOS)
                                only; the unmanned aircraft must remain
                                within VLOS of the operator or visual
                                observer.
                                At all times the small unmanned
                                aircraft must remain close enough to the
                                operator for the operator to be capable
                                of seeing the aircraft with vision
                                unaided by any device other than
                                corrective lenses.
                                Small unmanned aircraft may not
                                operate over any persons not directly
                                involved in the operation.
                                Daylight-only operations
                                (official sunrise to official sunset,
                                local time).
                                Must yield right-of-way to other
                                aircraft, manned or unmanned.
                                May use visual observer (VO) but
                                not required.
                                First-person view camera cannot
                                satisfy ``see-and-avoid'' requirement
                                but can be used as long as requirement
                                is satisfied in other ways.
                                Maximum airspeed of 100 mph (87
                                knots).
                                Maximum altitude of 500 feet
                                above ground level.
                                Minimum weather visibility of 3
                                miles from control station.
                                No operations are allowed in
                                Class A (18,000 feet & above) airspace.
                                Operations in Class B, C, D and
                                E airspace are allowed with the required
                                ATC permission.
                                Operations in Class G airspace
                                are allowed without ATC permission
                                No person may act as an operator
                                or VO for more than one unmanned
                                aircraft operation at one time.
                                No operations from a moving
                                vehicle or aircraft, except from a
                                watercraft on the water.
                                No careless or reckless
                                operations.
                                Requires preflight inspection by
                                the operator.
                                A person may not operate a small
                                unmanned aircraft if he or she knows or
                                has reason to know of any physical or
                                mental condition that would interfere
                                with the safe operation of a small UAS.
                                Proposes a microUAS category
                                that would allow operations in Class G
                                airspace, over people not involved in
                                the operation, and would require airman
                                to self-certify that they are familiar
                                with the aeronautical knowledge testing
                                areas.
Operator Certification and      Pilots of a small UAS would be
 Responsibilities.              considered ``operators''.
                                Operators would be required to:
                                  [cir] Pass an initial aeronautical
                                   knowledge test at an FAA-approved
                                   knowledge testing center.
                                  [cir] Be vetted by the Transportation
                                   Security Administration.
                                  [cir] Obtain an unmanned aircraft
                                   operator certificate with a small UAS
                                   rating (like existing pilot airman
                                   certificates, never expires).
                                  [cir] Pass a recurrent aeronautical
                                   knowledge test every 24 months.
                                  [cir] Be at least 17 years old.
                                  [cir] Make available to the FAA, upon
                                   request, the small UAS for inspection
                                   or testing, and any associated
                                   documents/records required to be kept
                                   under the proposed rule.
                                  [cir] Report an accident to the FAA
                                   within 10 days of any operation that
                                   results in injury or property damage.
                                  [cir] Conduct a preflight inspection,
                                   to include specific aircraft and
                                   control station systems checks, to
                                   ensure the small UAS is safe for
                                   operation.
Aircraft Requirements........   FAA airworthiness certification
                                not required. However, operator must
                                maintain a small UAS in condition for
                                safe operation and prior to flight must
                                inspect the UAS to ensure that it is in
                                a condition for safe operation. Aircraft
                                Registration required (same requirements
                                that apply to all other aircraft).
                                Aircraft markings required (same
                                requirements that apply to all other
                                aircraft). If aircraft is too small to
                                display markings in standard size, then
                                the aircraft simply needs to display
                                markings in the largest practicable
                                manner.
Model Aircraft...............   Proposed rule would not apply to
                                model aircraft that satisfy all of the
                                criteria specified in section 336 of
                                Public Law 112-95.
                                The proposed rule would codify
                                the FAA's enforcement authority in part
                                101 by prohibiting model aircraft
                                operators from endangering the safety of
                                the NAS.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Operator Certification: Under the proposed rule, the person who 
manipulates the flight controls of a small UAS would be defined as an 
``operator.'' A small UAS operator would be required to pass an 
aeronautical knowledge test and obtain an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating from the FAA before operating a 
small UAS. In order to maintain his or her operator certification, the 
operator would be

[[Page 9547]]

required to pass recurrent knowledge tests every 24 months subsequent 
to the initial knowledge test. These tests would be created by the FAA 
and administered by FAA-approved knowledge testing centers. Although a 
specific distant vision acuity standard is not being proposed, this 
proposed rule would require the operator to keep the small unmanned 
aircraft close enough to the control station to be capable of seeing 
that aircraft through his or her unaided (except for glasses or contact 
lenses) visual line of sight. The operator would also be required to 
actually maintain visual line of sight of the small unmanned aircraft 
if a visual observer is not used.
    Visual Observer: Under the proposed rule, an operator would not be 
required to work with a visual observer, but a visual observer could be 
used to assist the operator with the proposed visual-line-of-sight and 
see-and-avoid requirements by maintaining constant visual contact with 
the small unmanned aircraft in place of the operator. While an operator 
would always be required to have the capability for visual line of 
sight of the small unmanned aircraft, this proposed rule would not 
require the operator to exercise this capability if he or she is 
augmented by at least one visual observer. No certification 
requirements are being proposed for visual observers. A small UAS 
operation would not be limited in the number of visual observers 
involved in the operation, but the operator and visual observer(s) must 
remain situated such that the operator and any visual observer(s) are 
all able to view the aircraft at any given time. The operator and 
visual observer(s) would be permitted to communicate by radio or other 
communication-assisting device, so they would not need to remain in 
close enough physical proximity to allow for unassisted oral 
communication.
    Since the operator and any visual observers would be required to be 
in a position to maintain or achieve visual line of sight with the 
aircraft at all times, the proposed rule would effectively prohibit a 
relay or ``daisy-chain'' formation of multiple visual observers by 
requiring that the operator must always be capable of seeing the small 
unmanned aircraft. Such arrangements would potentially expand the area 
of a small UAS operation and pose an increased public risk if there is 
a loss of aircraft control.
    Operational Scope: A small UAS operator would be required to see 
and avoid all other users of the NAS in the area in which the small UAS 
is operating. The proposed rule contains operating restrictions 
designed to help ensure that the operator is able to yield right-of-way 
to other aircraft at all times.
    The proposed rule would limit the exposure of small unmanned 
aircraft to other users of the NAS by restricting small UAS operations 
in controlled airspace. Specifically, small UAS would be prohibited 
from operating in Class A airspace, and would require prior permission 
from Air Traffic Control to operate in Class B, C, or D airspace, or 
within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace 
designated for an airport. The risk of collision with other aircraft 
would be further reduced by limiting small UAS operations to a maximum 
airspeed of 87 knots (100 mph) and a maximum altitude of 500 feet above 
ground.
    Further, in order to enable maximum visibility for small UAS 
operation, the proposed rule would restrict small UAS to daylight-only 
operations (sunrise to sunset), and impose a minimum weather-visibility 
of 3 statute miles (5 kilometers) from the small UAS control station.
    Aircraft Maintenance: Under the proposed rule, the operator of a 
small UAS would be required to conduct a preflight inspection before 
each flight operation, and determine that the small UAS (aircraft, 
control station, launch and recovery equipment, etc.) is safe for 
operation.
    Airworthiness: Pursuant to section 333(b)(2) of Public Law 112-95, 
the Secretary has determined that small UAS subject to this proposed 
rule would not require airworthiness certification because the safety 
concerns associated with small UAS operation would be mitigated by the 
other provisions of this proposed rule. Rather, this proposed rule 
would require the operator to ensure that the small UAS is in a 
condition for safe operation by conducting an inspection prior to each 
flight.
    Registration and Marking: This proposed rule would apply to small 
unmanned aircraft the current registration requirements that apply to 
all aircraft. Once a small unmanned aircraft is registered, this 
proposed rule would require that aircraft to display its registration 
marking in a manner similar to what is currently required of all 
aircraft.

C. Costs and Benefits

    This proposed rule reflects the fact that technological advances in 
small UAS have led to a developing commercial market for their uses by 
providing a safe operating environment for them and for other aircraft 
in the NAS. In time, the FAA anticipates that the proposed rule would 
provide an opportunity to substitute small UAS operations for some 
higher risk manned flights, such as inspecting towers, bridges, or 
other structures. The use of small unmanned aircraft would avert 
potential fatalities and injuries to those in the aircraft and on the 
ground. It would also lead to more efficient methods of performing 
certain commercial tasks that are currently performed by other methods. 
The FAA has not quantified the benefits for this proposed rulemaking 
because we lack sufficient data. The FAA invites commenters to provide 
data that could be used to quantify the benefits of this proposed rule.
    For any commercial operation occurring because this rule is 
enacted, the operator/owner of that small UAS will have determined the 
expected revenue stream of the flights exceeds the cost of the flights 
operation. In each such case this rule helps enable new markets to 
develop.
    The costs are shown in the table below.

            Total and Present Value Cost Summary by Provision
                   [Thousands of current year dollars]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               7% P.V.
              Type of cost                Total costs (000)     (000)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Applicant/small UAS operator:             .................  ...........
    Travel Expense......................             $151.7       $125.9
    Knowledge Test Fees.................            2,548.6      2,114.2
    Positive Identification of the                    434.3        383.7
     Applicant Fee......................
Owner:                                    .................  ...........
    Small UAS Registration Fee..........               85.7         70.0
Time Resource Opportunity Costs:          .................  ...........

[[Page 9548]]

 
    Applicants Travel Time..............              296.1        245.3
    Knowledge Test Application..........              108.9         90.2
    Physical Capability Certification...               20.0         17.7
    Knowledge Test Time.................            1,307.1      1,082.9
    Small UAS Registration Form.........              220.5        179.7
    Change of Name or Address Form......               14.9         12.3
    Knowledge Test Report...............              154.9        128.5
    Pre-flight Inspection...............     Not quantified  ...........
    Accident Reporting..................       Minimal cost  ...........
Government Costs:                         .................  ...........
    TSA Security Vetting................            1,026.5        906.9
    FAA--sUAS Operating Certificate.....               39.6         35.0
    FAA--Registration...................              394.3        321.8
                                         -------------------------------
        Total Costs.....................            6,803.1      5,714.0
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Details may not add to row or column totals due to rounding.

II. Background

    This NPRM addresses the operation, airman certification, and 
registration of civil small UAS.
    A small UAS consists of a small unmanned aircraft and associated 
elements that are necessary for the safe and efficient operation of 
that aircraft in the NAS. Associated elements that are necessary for 
the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft include the interface 
that is used to control the small unmanned aircraft (known as a control 
station) and communication links between the control station and the 
small unmanned aircraft. A small unmanned aircraft is defined by 
statute as ``an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds.'' \4\ 
Due to the size of a small unmanned aircraft, the FAA envisions 
considerable potential business and non-business applications, 
particularly in areas that are hard to reach for a manned aircraft.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ Sec. 331(6) of Public Law 112-95.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The following are examples of possible small UAS operations that 
could be conducted under this proposed framework:
     Crop monitoring/inspection;
     Research and development;
     Educational/academic uses;
     Power-line/pipeline inspection in hilly or mountainous 
terrain;
     Antenna inspections;
     Aiding certain rescue operations such as locating snow 
avalanche victims;
     Bridge inspections;
     Aerial photography; and
     Wildlife nesting area evaluations.
    The following sections discuss: (1) The public risk associated with 
small UAS operations; (2) the current legal framework governing small 
UAS operations; and (3) the FAA's ongoing efforts to incorporate small 
UAS operations into the NAS.

A. Analysis of Public Risk Posed by Small UAS Operations

    Small UAS operations pose risk considerations that are different 
from the risk considerations associated with manned-aircraft 
operations. On one hand, certain operations of a small unmanned 
aircraft, discussed more fully in section III.D of this preamble, have 
the potential to pose significantly less risk to persons and property 
than comparable operations of a manned aircraft. The typical total 
takeoff weight of a general aviation aircraft is between 1,300 and 
6,000 pounds. By contrast, the total takeoff weight of a small unmanned 
aircraft is less than 55 pounds. Consequently, because a small unmanned 
aircraft is significantly lighter than a manned aircraft, in the event 
of a mishap, the small unmanned aircraft would pose significantly less 
risk to persons and property on the ground. As such, a small UAS 
operation whose parameters are well defined so it does not pose a 
significant risk to other aircraft would also pose a smaller overall 
public risk or threat to national security than the operation of a 
manned aircraft.
    However, even though small UAS operations have the potential to 
pose a lower level of public risk in certain types of operations, the 
unmanned nature of the small UAS operations raises two unique safety 
concerns that are not present in manned-aircraft operations. The first 
safety concern is whether the person operating the small unmanned 
aircraft, who would be physically separated from that aircraft during 
flight, would have the ability to see manned aircraft in the air in 
time to prevent a mid-air collision between the small unmanned aircraft 
and another aircraft. As discussed in more detail below, the FAA's 
regulations currently require each person operating an aircraft to 
maintain vigilance ``so as to see and avoid other aircraft.'' \5\ This 
is one of the fundamental principles for collision avoidance in the 
NAS.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ 14 CFR 91.113(b).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For manned-aircraft operations, ``see and avoid'' is the 
responsibility of persons on board an aircraft. By contrast, small 
unmanned aircraft operations have no human beings physically on the 
unmanned aircraft with the same visual perspective and the ability to 
see other aircraft in the manner of a manned-aircraft pilot. Thus, the 
challenge for small unmanned aircraft operations is to ensure that the 
person operating the small unmanned aircraft is able to see and avoid 
other aircraft.
    In considering this issue, the FAA examined to what extent existing 
technology could provide a solution to this problem. The FAA notes that 
advances in technologies that use ground-based radar and aircraft 
sensors to detect the reply signals from aircraft ATC transponders have 
provided significant improvement in the ability to detect other 
aircraft in close proximity to each other. The Traffic Collision 
Avoidance System also has the ability to provide guidance to flight 
crews to maneuver appropriately to avoid a mid-air collision. Both of 
these technologies have done an excellent job in reducing the mid-air 
collision rate between manned aircraft. Unfortunately, the equipment 
required to utilize these widely available technologies is

[[Page 9549]]

currently too large and heavy to be used in small UAS operations. Until 
this equipment is miniaturized to the extent necessary to make it 
viable for use in small UAS operations, existing technology does not 
appear to provide a way to resolve the ``see and avoid'' problem with 
small UAS operations without maintaining human visual contact with the 
small unmanned aircraft during flight.
    The second safety concern with small UAS operations is the 
possibility that, during flight, the person operating the small UAS may 
become unable to use the control interface to operate the small 
unmanned aircraft due to a failure of the control link between the 
aircraft and the operator's control station. This is known as a loss of 
positive control. This situation may result from a system failure or 
because the aircraft has been flown beyond the signal range or in an 
area where control link communication between the aircraft and the 
control station is interrupted. A small unmanned aircraft whose flight 
is unable to be directly controlled could pose a significant risk to 
persons, property, or other aircraft.

B. Current Statutory and Regulatory Structure Governing Small UAS

    Due to the lack of an onboard pilot, small unmanned aircraft are 
unable to see and avoid other aircraft in the NAS. Therefore, small UAS 
operations conflict with the FAA's current operating regulations 
codified in 14 CFR part 91 that apply to general aviation. 
Specifically, at the heart of the part 91 operating regulations is 
Sec.  91.113(b), which requires each person operating an aircraft to 
maintain vigilance ``so as to see and avoid other aircraft.''
    The FAA created this requirement in a 1968 rulemaking that combined 
two previous aviation regulatory provisions, Civil Air Regulations 
(CAR) Sec. Sec.  60.13(c) and 60.30.\6\ Both of the provisions that 
were combined to create the ``see and avoid'' requirement of Sec.  
91.113(b) were intended to address aircraft collision-awareness 
problems by requiring that a pilot on board the aircraft look out of 
the aircraft during flight to observe whether other aircraft are on a 
collision path with his or her aircraft. Those provisions did not 
contemplate the use of technology to substitute for the human vision of 
a pilot on board the aircraft. Similarly, there is no evidence that 
those provisions contemplated a pilot fulfilling his or her ``see and 
avoid'' responsibilities from outside the aircraft. To the contrary, 
CAR section 60.13(c) stated that one of the problems it intended to 
address was ``preoccupation by the pilot with cockpit duties,'' which 
indicates that the regulation contemplated the presence of a pilot on 
board the aircraft.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Pilot Vigilance, 33 FR 10505 (July 24, 1968).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because the regulations that resulted in the see-and-avoid 
requirement of Sec.  91.113(b) did not contemplate that this 
requirement could be complied with by a pilot who is outside the 
aircraft, Sec.  91.113(b) currently requires an aircraft pilot to have 
the perspective of being inside the aircraft as that aircraft is moving 
in order to see and avoid other aircraft. Since the operator of a small 
UAS does not have this perspective, operation of a small UAS could not 
meet the see and avoid requirement of Sec.  91.113(b) at this time.
    In addition to currently being prohibited by Sec.  91.113(b), there 
are also statutory considerations that apply to small UAS operations. 
Specifically, even though a small UAS is different from a manned 
aircraft, the operation of a small UAS still involves the operation of 
an aircraft. This is because the FAA's statute defines an ``aircraft'' 
as ``any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate or fly in 
the air.'' 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(6). Since a small unmanned aircraft is a 
contrivance that is invented, used, and designed to fly in the air, a 
small unmanned aircraft is an aircraft for purposes of the FAA's 
statutes.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Public Law 112-95 reaffirmed that an unmanned aircraft is 
indeed an aircraft by defining an unmanned aircraft as ``an aircraft 
that is operated without the possibility of direct human 
intervention from within or on the aircraft.'' Sec. 331(8), Public 
Law 112-95 (emphasis added).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because a small UAS involves the operation of an ``aircraft,'' this 
triggers the FAA's registration and certification statutory 
requirements. Specifically, subject to certain exceptions, a person may 
not operate a civil aircraft that is not registered. 49 U.S.C. 
44101(a). In addition, a person may not operate a civil aircraft in air 
commerce without an airworthiness certificate. 49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(1). 
Finally, a person may not serve in any capacity as an airman on a civil 
aircraft being operated in air commerce without an airman certificate. 
49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(2)(A).\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ The statutes also impose other requirements that are beyond 
the scope of this rulemaking. For example, 49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(4) 
prohibits a person from operating as an air carrier without an air-
carrier operating certificate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The term ``air commerce,'' as used in the FAA's statutes, is 
defined broadly to include ``the operation of aircraft within the 
limits of a Federal airway, or the operation of aircraft that directly 
affects, or may endanger safety in foreign or interstate air 
commerce.'' 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(3). Because of this broad definition, 
the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has held that ``any use 
of an aircraft, for purpose of flight, constitutes air commerce.'' \9\ 
Courts that have considered this issue have reached similar conclusions 
that ``air commerce,'' as defined in the FAA's statute, encompasses a 
broad range of commercial and non-commercial aircraft operations.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Administrator v. Barrows, 7 N.T.S.B. 5, 8-9 (1990).
    \10\ See, e.g., United States v. Healy, 376 U.S. 75, 84-85 
(1964) (holding that ``air commerce'' is not limited to commercial 
airplanes); Hill v. NTSB, 886 F.2d 1275, 1280 (10th Cir. 1989) 
(``[t]he statutory definition of ``air commerce'' is therefore 
clearly not restricted to interstate flights occurring in controlled 
or navigable airspace''); United States v. Drumm, 55 F. Supp. 151, 
155 (D. Nev. 1944) (``any operation of any aircraft in the air space 
either directly affects or may endanger safety in, interstate, 
overseas, or foreign air commerce'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Accordingly, because ``air commerce'' encompasses such a broad 
range of aircraft operations, a civil small unmanned aircraft cannot 
currently be operated, for purposes of flight, if: (1) It is not 
registered (49 U.S.C. 44101(a)); (2) it does not possess an 
airworthiness certificate (49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(1)); and (3) the airman 
operating the aircraft does not possess an airman certificate (49 
U.S.C. 44711(a)(2)(A)). However, the FAA's current processes for 
issuing airworthiness and airman certificates were designed to be used 
for manned aircraft and do not take into account the considerations 
associated with civil small UAS.
    Specifically, obtaining a type certificate and a standard 
airworthiness certificate, which permits the widest range of aircraft 
operation, currently takes about 3 to 5 years. Because the pertinent 
existing regulations do not differentiate between manned and unmanned 
aircraft, a small UAS is currently subject to the same airworthiness 
certification process as a manned aircraft. However, it is not 
practically feasible for many small UAS manufacturers to go through the 
certification process required of manned aircraft. This is because 
small UAS technology is rapidly evolving at this time, and 
consequently, if a small UAS manufacturer goes through a 3-to-5-year 
process to obtain a type certificate, which enables the issuance of a 
standard airworthiness certificate, the small UAS would be 
technologically outdated by the time it completed the certification 
process. For example, advances in lightweight battery technology may 
allow new lightweight transponders and power sources within the next 3 
to 5 years that are currently unavailable for small UAS operations.
    The FAA notes that there are several other certification options 
available to

[[Page 9550]]

small UAS manufacturers and operators who do not wish to go through the 
process of obtaining a type certificate and standard airworthiness 
certificate. However, because each of these options has significant 
limitations, these options do not provide flexibility for most routine 
small UAS operations. These certification options are as follows:
     A special airworthiness certificate in the experimental 
category may be issued to UAS pursuant to 14 CFR 21.191-21.195. This 
certificate is time-limited, and cannot be used for any activities 
other than research and development, market surveys, and crew training.
     A special flight permit may be issued pursuant to 14 CFR 
21.197. At this time, however, a special flight permit for a UAS is 
limited to production flight testing of new production aircraft.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ A special flight permit for production flight testing is 
not limited to small UAS and can be obtained for unmanned aircraft 
weighing more than 55 pounds. We emphasize, however, that a special 
flight permit is limited at this time to production flight testing 
and will include operational requirements and limitations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     A special airworthiness certificate in the restricted 
category is issued pursuant to 14 CFR 21.25(a). There are two options 
for obtaining this certificate.
    First, pursuant to Sec.  21.25(a)(2), a certificate may be issued 
for aircraft accepted by an Armed Force of the United States and later 
modified for a special purpose.
    Second, pursuant to Sec.  21.25(a)(1), a certificate may be issued 
for aircraft used in special purpose operations, which consist of:
    (1) agricultural operations;
    (2) forest and wildlife conservation;
    (3) aerial surveying;
    (4) patrolling (pipelines, power lines, and canals);
    (5) weather control;
    (6) aerial advertising; and
    (7) any other operation specified by the FAA.
    As can be seen from the above list, the current certification 
options are limited to very specific purposes. Accordingly, they do not 
provide sufficient flexibility for most routine civil small UAS 
operations within the NAS.
    In addition to obtaining an airworthiness certificate, any person 
serving as an airman in the operation of a small UAS must obtain an 
airman certificate. 49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(2)(A). The statute defines an 
``airman'' to include an individual who is ``in command, or as pilot, 
mechanic, or member of the crew, who navigates aircraft when under 
way.'' 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(8)(A). Because the person operating the small 
UAS is in command and is a member of the crew who navigates the 
aircraft, that person is an airman and must obtain an airman 
certificate.
    Under current pilot certification regulations, depending on the 
type of operation, the operator of the small UAS currently must obtain 
either a private pilot certificate or a commercial pilot certificate. A 
private pilot certificate cannot be used to operate a small UAS for 
compensation or hire unless the flight is only incidental to the 
operator's business or employment.\12\ Typically, to obtain a private 
pilot certificate, the small UAS operator currently has to: (1) Receive 
training in specific aeronautical knowledge areas; (2) receive training 
from an authorized instructor on specific areas of aircraft operation; 
(3) obtain a minimum of 40 hours of flight experience; and (4) obtain a 
third-class airman medical certificate.\13\ Conversely, holding at 
least a commercial pilot certificate allows the small UAS to generally 
be used for compensation or hire, but is more difficult to obtain. In 
addition to the requirements necessary to obtain a private pilot 
certificate, applicants for a commercial pilot certificate currently 
need to also obtain 250 hours of flight time, satisfy extensive testing 
requirements, and obtain a second-class airman medical certificate.\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ See 14 CFR 61.113.
    \13\ See 14 CFR part 61, Subpart E and Sec.  61.23(a)(3)(i).
    \14\ See 14 CFR part 61, Subpart F and Sec.  61.23(a)(2).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    While these airman certification requirements are necessary for 
manned aircraft operations, they impose an unnecessary burden for many 
small UAS operations. This is because a person typically obtains a 
private or commercial pilot certificate by learning how to operate a 
manned aircraft. Much of that knowledge would not be applicable to 
small UAS operations because a small UAS is operated differently than a 
manned aircraft. In addition, the knowledge currently necessary to 
obtain a private or commercial pilot certificate would not equip the 
certificate holder with the tools necessary to safely operate a small 
UAS. Specifically, applicants for a private or commercial pilot 
certificate currently are not trained in how to deal with the ``see-
and-avoid'' and loss-of-positive-control safety issues that are unique 
to small unmanned aircraft. Thus, requiring persons wishing to operate 
a small UAS to obtain a private or commercial pilot certificate imposes 
the cost of certification on those persons, but does not result in a 
significant safety benefit because the process of obtaining the 
certificate does not equip those persons with the tools necessary to 
mitigate the public risk posed by small UAS operations.
    Recognizing the problem of applying the operating rules of part 91 
to small UAS operations and the cost imposed on small UAS operations by 
existing certification processes, the FAA fashioned a temporary 
solution. Specifically, the FAA issued an advisory circular (AC) 91-57 
and a policy statement elaborating on AC 91-57, which provide guidance 
for the safe operation of ``model aircraft.'' The policy statement 
defines a ``model aircraft'' as a UAS that is used for hobby or 
recreational purposes.\15\ The policy statement explains that AC 91-57:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ See Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace 
System, 72 FR 6689, 6690 (Feb. 13, 2007) (explaining how AC 91-57 
functions).

    [E]ncourages good judgment on the part of operators so that 
persons on the ground or other aircraft in flight will not be 
endangered. The AC contains among other things, guidance for site 
selection. Users are advised to avoid noise sensitive areas such as 
parks, schools, hospitals, and churches. Hobbyists are advised not 
to fly in the vicinity of spectators until they are confident that 
the model aircraft has been flight tested and proven airworthy. 
Model aircraft should be flown below 400 feet above the surface to 
avoid other aircraft in flight. The FAA expects that hobbyists will 
operate these recreational model aircraft within visual line-of-
sight.\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ Id.

    Neither AC 91-57 nor the associated policy statement contains any 
registration or certification requirements.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ The policy statement did, however, explain the COA process 
that is currently used to allow public aircraft operations with UAS. 
This process is discussed in detail in section III.C of this 
preamble. As discussed in that section, this proposed rule would 
allow public aircraft operations with UAS to voluntarily comply with 
proposed part 107, but would otherwise leave the existing public 
aircraft operations COA process unchanged.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To date, the FAA has used its discretion\18\ to not bring 
enforcement action against model-aircraft operations that comply with 
AC 91-57. However, the use of discretion to permit continuing violation 
of FAA statutes and regulations is not a viable long-term solution for 
incorporating UAS operations into the NAS. Additionally, because AC 91-
57 and the associated policy statement are limited to model aircraft, 
they do not apply to non-recreational UAS operations. Thus, even with 
the use of enforcement discretion, because of the difficulty of 
obtaining the

[[Page 9551]]

requisite certification for a small UAS and because operation of a 
small UAS would violate the see-and-avoid requirement of Sec.  
91.113(b), non-recreational civil small UAS operations are effectively 
prohibited at this time.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ As used in this context, ``discretion'' refers to the FAA's 
power to decide whether to commence an enforcement action.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Integrating Small UAS Operations Into the NAS

    To address the issues discussed above, the FAA chartered the small 
UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) on April 10, 2008. On April 1, 
2009, the ARC provided the FAA with recommendations on how small UAS 
could be safely integrated into the NAS.\19\ In 2013, the U.S. 
Department of Transportation issued a comprehensive plan and 
subsequently the FAA issued a roadmap of its efforts to achieve safe 
integration of UAS operations into the NAS.\20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \19\ A copy of the small UAS ARC Report and Recommendations can 
be found in the docket for this rulemaking.
    \20\ http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/media/uas_roadmap_2013.pdf
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In 2012, Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 
2012 (Pub. L. 112-95). In section 332(b) of Public Law 112-95, Congress 
directed the Secretary to issue a final rule on small unmanned aircraft 
systems that will allow for civil operations of such systems in the 
NAS.\21\ In section 333 of Public Law 112-95, Congress also directed 
the Secretary to determine whether ``certain unmanned aircraft systems 
may operate safely in the national airspace system.'' To make a 
determination under section 333, we must assess ``which types of 
unmanned aircraft systems, if any, as a result of their size, weight, 
speed, operational capability, proximity to airports and populated 
areas, and operation within visual line of sight do not create a hazard 
to users of the national airspace system or the public or pose a threat 
to national security.'' Public Law 112-95, Sec. 333(b)(1). The 
Secretary must also determine whether a certificate of waiver or 
authorization, or airworthiness certification is necessary to mitigate 
the public risk posed by the unmanned aircraft systems that are under 
consideration. Public Law 112-95, Sec. 333(b)(2). If the Secretary 
determines that certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in 
the NAS, then the Secretary must ``establish requirements for the safe 
operation of such aircraft systems in the national airspace system.'' 
Public Law 112-95, Sec. 333(c). The flexibility provided for in section 
333 did not extend to airman certification and security vetting, 
aircraft marking, or registration requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \21\ As discussed in more detail further in the preamble, the 
FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 also contained a provision 
prohibiting the FAA from issuing rules and regulations for model 
aircraft meeting certain criteria specified in section 336 of the 
Act.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As noted above, section 333(b)(2) provided the Secretary of 
Transportation with discretionary power as to whether airworthiness 
certification should be required for certain small UAS.\22\ As 
discussed previously, the FAA's statute normally requires an aircraft 
being flown outdoors to possess an airworthiness certificate.\23\ 
However, subsection 333(b)(2) allows for the determination that 
airworthiness certification is not necessary for certain small UAS. The 
key determinations that must be made in order for UAS to operate under 
the authority of section 333 are: (1) The operation must not create a 
hazard to users of the national airspace system or the public; and (2) 
the operation must not pose a threat to national security.\24\ In 
making these determinations, we must consider the following factors: 
Size, weight, speed, operational capability, proximity to airports and 
populated areas, and operation within visual line of sight. Of these 
factors, operation within visual line of sight is a primary factor for 
evaluation. At this point in time, we have determined that technology 
has not matured to the extent that would allow small UAS to be used 
safely in lieu of visual line of sight without creating a hazard to 
other users of the NAS or the public, or posing a threat to national 
security.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ Public Law 112-95, sec. 333(b)(2).
    \23\ 49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(1).
    \24\ Public Law 112-95, sec. 333(b)(1).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This construction of section 333 is a reasonable interpretation 
that is consistent with the statutory text and reflects Congressional 
intent in adopting the provision. We invite comments on whether there 
are well-defined circumstances and conditions under which operation 
beyond the line of sight would pose little or no additional risk to 
other users of the NAS, the public, or national security. Finally, we 
invite comments on the technologies and operational capabilities or 
procedures needed to allow UAS flights beyond visual line of sight, and 
how such technologies, capabilities and procedures could be 
accommodated under this rule or in a future rulemaking.
    As a result of its ongoing integration efforts, the FAA seeks to 
change its regulations to take the first step in the process of 
integrating small UAS operations into the NAS. This proposal would 
utilize the airworthiness-certification flexibility provided by 
Congress in section 333 of Public Law 112-95, and allow some small UAS 
operations to commence in the NAS.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ As discussed in section III.B.6 below, 14 CFR part 107 that 
would be created by this proposed rule would not apply to model 
aircraft that satisfy all of the statutory criteria specified in 
section 336 of Public Law 112-95. The FAA has recently published an 
interpretive rule for public comment explaining the statutory 
criteria of section 336. See Interpretation of the Special Rule for 
Model Aircraft, 79 FR 36172, 36175 (June 25, 2014).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, to further facilitate the integration of UAS into the 
NAS, the FAA has selected six test sites to test UAS technology and 
operations. As of August 2014, all of the UAS test sites, which were 
selected based on geographic and climatic diversity, are operational 
and will remain in place for the next 5 years to help us gather 
operational data to foster further integration, as well as evaluate new 
technologies. In addition, the FAA is in the process of selecting a new 
UAS Center of Excellence which will also serve as another resource for 
these activities. The FAA invites comments on how it can improve or 
further leverage its test site program to encourage innovation, safe 
development and UAS integration into the NAS.

III. Discussion of the Proposal

    As discussed in the previous section, in order to determine whether 
certain UAS may operate safely in the NAS pursuant to section 333, the 
Secretary must find that the operation of the UAS would not: (1) Create 
a hazard to users of the NAS or the public; or (2) pose a threat to 
national security. The Secretary must also determine whether small UAS 
operations subject to this proposed rule pose a safety risk sufficient 
to require airworthiness certification. The following preamble sections 
discuss the specific components of this proposed rule, and in section 
III.J below, we explain how these components work together and allow 
the Secretary to make the statutory findings required by section 333.

A. Incremental Approach and Privacy

    The FAA began its small UAS rulemaking in 2005. In its initial 
approach to this rulemaking, which the FAA utilized from 2005 until 
November 2013, the FAA attempted to implement the ARC's recommendations 
and craft a rule that encompassed the widest possible range of small 
UAS operations. This approach utilized a regulatory structure similar 
to the one that the FAA uses for manned aircraft. Specifically, small 
UAS operations that pose a low risk to people, property, and other

[[Page 9552]]

aircraft would have been subject to less stringent regulation while 
small UAS operations posing a greater risk would have been subject to 
more stringent regulation in order to mitigate the greater risk.
    In exploring this approach, the FAA found that, as discussed 
previously, there are two unique safety issues associated with UAS: (1) 
Extending ``see and avoid'' anti-collision principles to a pilot that 
is not physically present on the aircraft; and (2) loss of positive 
control of the unmanned aircraft. In addition, at the time that it was 
considering this approach, the FAA did not have the discretion 
necessary to exempt these aircraft from the statutory requirement for 
airworthiness certification, as the section 333 authority did not come 
into effect until February 14, 2012. As a result of these issues, the 
FAA's original broadly-scoped approach to the rulemaking effort took 
significantly longer than anticipated. Consequently, the FAA decided to 
proceed with multiple incremental UAS rules rather than a single 
omnibus rulemaking in order to utilize the flexibility with regard to 
airworthiness certification that Congress provided in section 333.
    Accordingly, at this time, the FAA is proposing a rule that, 
pursuant to section 333 of Public Law 112-95, will integrate small UAS 
operations posing the least amount of risk. Because these operations 
pose the least amount of risk, this proposed rule would treat the 
entire spectrum of operations that would be subject to this rule in a 
similar manner by imposing less stringent regulatory burdens that would 
ensure that the safety and security of the NAS would not be reduced by 
operation of these UAS. In the meantime, the FAA will continue working 
on integrating UAS operations that pose greater amounts of risk, and 
will issue notices of proposed rulemaking for those operations once the 
pertinent issues have been addressed, consistent with the approach set 
forth in the UAS Comprehensive Plan for Integration and FAA roadmap for 
integration.\26\ Once the entire integration process is complete, the 
FAA envisions the NAS populated with UAS that operate well beyond the 
operational limits proposed in this rule. Those UAS will be regulated 
differently than the UAS that would be integrated through this rule, 
and will be addressed in subsequent rulemakings. The FAA has selected 
this approach because it would allow lower-risk small UAS operations to 
be incorporated into the NAS immediately instead of waiting until the 
issues associated with higher-risk UAS operations are resolved.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ Section 332(a) of Public Law 112-95 requires the Secretary 
of Transportation to develop a comprehensive plan to safely 
accelerate the integration of civil UAS into the NAS. This plan must 
be developed in consultation with representatives of the aviation 
industry, federal agencies that employ UAS technology in the NAS, 
and the UAS industry. Section 332(a) also requires the Secretary of 
Transportation to develop a 5-year roadmap for the introduction of 
civil UAS into the NAS. Both the comprehensive plan and the roadmap 
were published in November 2013.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The approach of this proposal is meant to address low risk 
operations; to the greatest extent possible, it takes a data-driven, 
risk-based approach to defining specific regulatory requirements for 
small UAS operations. It is well understood that regulations that are 
articulated in terms of the desired outcomes (i.e., ``performance 
standards'') are generally preferable to those that specify the means 
to achieve the desired outcomes (i.e., ``design'' standards). According 
to Office of Management and Budget Circular A-4 (``Regulatory 
Analysis''), performance standards ``give the regulated parties the 
flexibility to achieve the regulatory objectives in the most cost-
effective way.'' \27\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \27\ http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/regulatory_matters_pdf/a-4.pdf
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Design standards have a tendency to lock in certain approaches that 
limit the incentives to innovate and may effectively prohibit new 
technologies altogether. The distinction between design and performance 
standards is particularly important where technology is evolving 
rapidly, as is the case with small UAS.
    In this proposal, the regulatory objectives are to enable 
integration of small UAS into the NAS in a manner that does not impose 
unacceptable risk to other aircraft, people, or property. The FAA seeks 
comment on whether there are additional requirements that could be 
specified in ways that are more performance-oriented in order to 
minimize any disincentives to develop new technologies that achieve the 
regulatory objectives at lower cost.
    Recently, the FAA, with the approval of the Secretary, has been 
issuing exemptions in accordance with 14 CFR part 11 and section 333 of 
Public Law 112-95 to accommodate an increasing number of small UAS 
operations that are not for hobby or recreational purposes. If adopted, 
this rule will eliminate the need for the vast majority of these 
exemptions. The exemption process will continue to be available for UAS 
operations that fall outside the parameters of this rule. Such 
operations may involve the use of more advanced technologies that are 
not yet mature at the time of this rulemaking.
    The FAA also notes that, because UAS-associated technologies are 
rapidly evolving at this time, new technologies could come into 
existence after this rule is issued or existing technologies may evolve 
to the extent that they establish a level of reliability sufficient to 
allow those technologies to be relied on for risk mitigation. These 
technologies may alleviate some of the risk concerns that underlie the 
provisions of this rulemaking like the line of sight rule. Accordingly, 
the FAA invites comments as to whether the final rule should relax 
operating restrictions on small UAS equipped with technology that 
addresses the concerns underlying the operating limitations of this 
proposed rule, for instance through some type of deviation authority 
(such as a letter of authorization or a waiver).
    The FAA also notes that privacy concerns have been raised about 
unmanned aircraft operations. Although these issues are beyond the 
scope of this rulemaking, recognizing the potential implications for 
privacy and civil rights and civil liberties from the use of this 
technology, and consistent with the direction set forth in the 
Presidential Memorandum, Promoting Economic Competitiveness While 
Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use 
of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (February 15, 2015), the Department and 
FAA will participate in the multi-stakeholder engagement process led by 
the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) 
to assist in this process regarding privacy, accountability, and 
transparency issues concerning commercial and private UAS use in the 
NAS. We also note that state law and other legal protections for 
individual privacy may provide recourse for a person whose privacy may 
be affected through another person's use of a UAS.
    The FAA conducted a privacy impact assessment (PIA) of this rule as 
required by section 522(a)(5) of division H of the FY 2005 Omnibus 
Appropriations Act, Public Law 108-447, 118 Stat. 3268 (Dec. 8, 2004) 
and section 208 of the E-Government Act of 2002, Public Law 107-347, 
116 Stat. 2889 (Dec. 17, 2002). The assessment considers any impacts of 
the proposed rule on the privacy of information in an identifiable 
form. The FAA has determined that this proposed rule would impact the 
FAA's handling of personally identifiable information (PII). As part of 
the PIA that the FAA conducted as part of this rulemaking, the FAA 
analyzed the effect this impact might have on collecting, storing, and

[[Page 9553]]

disseminating PII and examined and evaluated protections and 
alternative information handling processes in developing the proposed 
rule in order to mitigate potential privacy risks.
    As proposed, the process for granting unmanned aircraft operator 
certificates with a small UAS rating would be brought in line with the 
process for granting traditional airman certificates. Thus, the privacy 
implications of this rule to the privacy of the information that would 
be collected, maintained, stored, and disseminated by the FAA in 
accordance with this rule are the same as the privacy implications of 
the FAA's current airman certification processes. These privacy impacts 
have been analyzed by the FAA in the following Privacy Impact 
Assessments for the following systems: Civil Aviation Registry 
Applications (AVS Registry); the Integrated Airman Certification and 
Ratings Application (IACRA); and Accident Incident Database. These 
Privacy Impact Assessments are available in the docket for this 
rulemaking and at http://www.dot.gov/individuals/privacy/privacy-impact-assessments#Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

B. Applicability

    To integrate small UAS operations into the NAS, this proposed rule 
would create a new part in title 14 of the CFR: Part 107. Subject to 
the exceptions discussed below, proposed part 107 would prescribe the 
rules governing the registration, airman certification, and operation 
of civil small UAS within the United States. As mentioned previously, a 
small UAS is a UAS that uses an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 
pounds. This proposed rule would allow non-recreational small UAS to 
operate in the NAS. The operations enabled by this proposed rule would 
include business, academic, and research and development flights, which 
are hampered by the current regulatory framework.
    Under this proposal, the regulations of part 107, which are 
tailored to address the risks associated with small UAS operations, 
would apply to small UAS operations in place of certain existing FAA 
regulations that impede civil small UAS operations. Specifically, for 
small UAS operations, the requirements of proposed part 107 would 
generally replace the airworthiness provisions of part 21, the airman 
certification provisions of part 61, and the operating limitations of 
part 91.
    However, proposed part 107 would not apply to all small UAS 
operations. For the reasons discussed below, proposed part 107 would 
not apply to: (1) Air carrier operations; (2) external load and towing 
operations; (3) international operations; (4) foreign-owned aircraft 
that are ineligible to be registered in the United States; (5) public 
aircraft; (6) certain model aircraft; and (7) moored balloons, kites, 
amateur rockets, and unmanned free balloons.
1. Air Carrier Operations
    When someone is transporting persons or property by air for 
compensation, that person is considered an air carrier by statute and 
is required to obtain an air carrier operating certificate.\28\ Because 
there is an expectation of safe transportation when payment is 
exchanged, air carriers are subject to more stringent regulations to 
mitigate the risks posed to persons or non-operator-owned property on 
the aircraft.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \28\ 49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(4).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA notes that some industries may desire to transport property 
via UAS.\29\ Proposed part 107 would not prohibit this type of 
transportation so long as it is not done for compensation and the total 
weight of the aircraft, including the property, is less than 55 pounds. 
For example, research and development operations transporting property 
could be conducted under proposed part 107, as could operations by 
corporations transporting their own property within their business 
under the other provisions of this proposed rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \29\ Property that is transported as an external load is 
discussed in the next section of the preamble.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA seeks comment on whether UAS should be permitted to 
transport property for payment within the other proposed constraints of 
the rule, e.g., the ban on flights over uninvolved persons, the 
requirements for line of sight, and the intent to limit operations to a 
constrained area. The FAA also seeks comment on whether a special class 
or classes of air carrier certification should be developed for UAS 
operations.
2. External Load and Towing Operations
    The FAA considered allowing small unmanned aircraft to conduct 
external-load operations and to tow other aircraft or objects. These 
operations involve a greater level of public risk due to the dynamic 
nature of external-load configurations and inherent risks associated 
with the flight characteristics of a load that is carried, or extends, 
outside the aircraft fuselage and may be jettisonable. These types of 
operations may also involve evaluation of the aircraft frame for safety 
performance impacts, which may require airworthiness certification.
    Given the risks associated with external load and towing 
operations, the FAA cannot find that a certification is not required. 
However, the FAA invites comments, with supporting documentation, on 
whether external-load UAS operations and towing UAS operations should 
be permitted, whether they would require airworthiness certification, 
whether they would require higher levels of airman certification, 
whether they would require additional operational limitations, and on 
other relevant issues.
3. International Operations
    At this time, the FAA also proposes to limit this rulemaking to 
small UAS operations conducted entirely within the United States. The 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recognizes that:

    The safe integration of UAS into non-segregated airspace will be 
a long-term activity with many stakeholders adding their expertise 
on such diverse topics as licensing and medical qualification of UAS 
crew, technologies for detect and avoid systems, frequency spectrum 
(including its protection from unintentional or unlawful 
interference), separation standards from other aircraft, and 
development of a robust regulatory framework.\30\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \30\ ICAO Circular 328 (Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)) (2011).

    ICAO has further stated that ``[u]nmanned aircraft . . . are, 
indeed aircraft; therefore existing [ICAO standards and recommended 
practices] SARPs apply to a very great extent. The complete integration 
of UAS at aerodromes and in the various airspace classes will, however, 
necessitate the development of UAS-specific SARPs to supplement those 
already existing.'' \31\ ICAO has begun to issue and amend SARPs to 
specifically address UAS operations. For example, the standard 
contained in paragraph 3.1.9 of Annex 2 (Rules of the Air) to the 
Convention on International Civil Aviation states that ``A remotely 
piloted aircraft shall be operated in such a manner as to minimize 
hazards to persons, property or other aircraft and in accordance with 
the conditions specified in Appendix 4.'' This appendix sets forth 
detailed conditions ICAO Member States must require of civil UAS 
operations for the ICAO Member State to comply with the Annex 2, 
paragraph 3.1.9 standard. ICAO standards in Annex 7 (Aircraft 
Nationality and Registration Marks) to the Convention also require 
remotely

[[Page 9554]]

piloted aircraft to ``carry an identification plate inscribed with at 
least its nationality or common mark and registration mark'' and be 
``made of fireproof metal or other fireproof material of suitable 
physical properties.'' For remotely piloted aircraft, this 
identification plate must be ``secured in a prominent position near the 
main entrance or compartment or affixed conspicuously to the exterior 
of the aircraft if there is no main entrance or compartment.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \31\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    While we embrace the basic principle that UAS operations should 
minimize hazards to persons, property or other aircraft, we believe 
that it is possible to achieve this goal with respect to certain small 
UAS operations in a much less restrictive manner than current ICAO 
standards require. Accordingly, the FAA proposes, for the time being, 
to limit the applicability of proposed part 107 to small UAS operations 
that are conducted entirely within the United States. The FAA envisions 
that international operations would be dealt with in a future FAA 
rulemaking. The FAA believes that the experience that the FAA will gain 
with UAS operations under this rule will assist with future 
rulemakings. The FAA also anticipates that ICAO will continue to revise 
and more fully develop its framework for UAS operations to better 
reflect the diversity of UAS operations and types of UAS and to 
distinguish the appropriate levels of regulation in light of those 
differences.
    The FAA notes that under Presidential Proclamation 5928, the 
territorial sea of the United States, and consequently its territorial 
airspace, extends to 12 nautical miles from the baselines of the United 
States determined in accordance with international law. Thus, UAS 
operating in the airspace above the U.S. territorial sea would be 
operating within the United States for the purposes of this proposed 
rule.
    The FAA also emphasizes that proposed part 107 would not prohibit 
small UAS operators from operating in international airspace or in 
other countries; however, the proposed rule also would not provide 
authorization for such operations. UAS operations that do not take 
place entirely within the United States would need to obtain all 
necessary authorizations from the FAA and the relevant foreign 
authorities outside of the part 107 framework, as that framework would 
not apply to operations that do not take place entirely within the 
United States. It is important to note that Article 8 of the Convention 
on International Civil Aviation, to which the U.S. is a party, 
provides:

    No aircraft capable of being flown without a pilot shall be 
flown without a pilot over the territory of a contracting State 
without special authorization by that State and in accordance with 
the terms of such authorization. Each contracting State undertakes 
to insure that the flight of such aircraft without a pilot in 
regions open to civil aircraft shall be so controlled as to obviate 
danger to civil aircraft.

    Accordingly, UAS operations in foreign countries may not take place 
without the required authorizations and permission of that country.
4. Foreign-Owned Aircraft That Are Ineligible for U.S. Registration
    The FAA proposes to limit the scope of this rulemaking to U.S.-
registered aircraft. Under 49 U.S.C. 44103 and 14 CFR 47.3, an aircraft 
can be registered in the United States only if it is not registered 
under the laws of a foreign country and meets one of the following 
ownership criteria:
     The aircraft is owned by a citizen of the United States;
     The aircraft is owned by a permanent resident of the 
United States;
     The aircraft is owned by a corporation that is not a 
citizen of the United States, but that is organized and doing business 
under U.S. Federal or state law and the aircraft is based and primarily 
used in the United States; or
     The aircraft is owned by the United States government or a 
state or local governmental entity.
    An aircraft that does not satisfy the above criteria is typically 
owned by a foreign person or entity and is subject to special operating 
rules.\32\ As previously noted, the ICAO framework for international 
UAS operations is at a relatively early stage in its development. 
Accordingly, proposed part 107 would only apply to small unmanned 
aircraft that meet the criteria specified in Sec.  47.3, which must be 
satisfied in order for an aircraft to be eligible for U.S. 
registration. The FAA notes existing U.S. international trade 
obligations do permit certain kinds of operations, known as specialty 
air services. Specialty air services are generally defined as any 
specialized commercial operation using an aircraft whose primary 
purpose is not the transportation of goods or passengers, including but 
not limited to aerial mapping, aerial surveying, aerial photography, 
forest fire management, firefighting, aerial advertising, glider 
towing, parachute jumping, aerial construction, helilogging, aerial 
sightseeing, flight training, aerial inspection and surveillance, and 
aerial spraying services. The FAA will consult with the Secretary to 
determine the process through which it might permit foreign-owned small 
unmanned aircraft to operate in the United States. The FAA invites 
comments on the inclusion of foreign-registered small unmanned aircraft 
in this new framework.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \32\ See, e.g., 14 CFR part 91, subpart H (specifying operating 
rules for foreign civil aircraft).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As provided by 49 U.S.C. 40105(b)(1)(A), the FAA Administrator must 
carry out his responsibilities under Part A (Air Commerce and Safety) 
of title 49, United States Code, consistently with the obligations of 
the U.S. Government under international agreements. The FAA invites 
comments regarding whether the proposed rule needs to be modified to 
ensure that it is consistent with any relevant obligations of the 
United States under international agreements.
5. Public Aircraft Operations
    This proposed rule would also not apply to public aircraft 
operations with small UAS that are not operated as civil aircraft. This 
is because public aircraft operations, such as those conducted by the 
Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, are not required to comply with civil airworthiness or 
airman certification requirements to conduct operations. However, these 
operations are subject to the airspace and air-traffic rules of part 
91, which include the ``see and avoid'' requirement of Sec.  91.113(b). 
Because unmanned aircraft operations currently are incapable of 
complying with Sec.  91.113(b), the FAA has required public aircraft 
operations that use unmanned aircraft to obtain an FAA-issued 
Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) providing the public 
aircraft operation with a waiver/deviation from the ``see and avoid'' 
requirement of Sec.  91.113(b).
    The existing COA system has been in place for over eight years, and 
has not caused any significant human injuries or other significant 
adverse safety impacts.\33\ Accordingly, this proposed rule would not 
abolish the COA system. However, this proposed rule would provide 
public aircraft operations with greater flexibility by giving them the 
option to declare an operation to be a civil operation and comply with 
the provisions of proposed part 107 instead

[[Page 9555]]

of seeking a COA from the FAA. Because proposed part 107 would address 
the risks associated with small UAS operations, there would be no 
adverse safety effects from allowing public aircraft operations to be 
voluntarily conducted under proposed part 107.\34\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \33\ The FAA has been issuing COAs to public aircraft operations 
using UAS for over 20 years; however, prior to 2005, those COAs were 
issued using different processes.
    \34\ The FAA notes that section 334(b) of Public Law 112-95 
requires the FAA to develop standards regarding the operation of 
public UAS by December 31, 2015.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Model Aircraft
    Proposed part 107 would not apply to model aircraft that satisfy 
all of the criteria specified in section 336 of Public Law 112-95. 
Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 defines a model aircraft as an 
``unmanned aircraft that is--(1) capable of sustained flight in the 
atmosphere; (2) flown within visual line of sight of the person 
operating the aircraft; and (3) flown for hobby or recreational 
purposes.'' \35\ Because section 336 of Public Law 112-95 defines a 
model aircraft as an ``unmanned aircraft,'' a model aircraft that 
weighs less than 55 pounds would fall into the definition of small UAS 
under this rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \35\ Sec. 336(c) of Public Law 112-95.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    However, Public Law 112-95 specifically prohibits the FAA from 
promulgating rules regarding model aircraft that meet all of the 
following statutory criteria: \36\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \36\ Sec. 336(a) of Public Law 112-95.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational 
use;
     The aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-
based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a 
nationwide community-based organization;
     The aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless 
otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight 
test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based 
organization;
     The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not 
interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and
     When flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of 
the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic 
control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) 
with prior notice of the operation.
    Because of the statutory prohibition on FAA rulemaking regarding 
model aircraft that meet the above criteria, model aircraft meeting 
these criteria would not be subject to the provisions of proposed part 
107. Likewise, operators of model aircraft excepted from part 107 by 
the statute would not need to hold an unmanned aircraft operator's 
certificate with a small UAS rating. However, the FAA emphasizes that 
because the prohibition on rulemaking in section 336 of Public Law 112-
95 is limited to model aircraft that meet all of the above statutory 
criteria, model aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds that fail to meet 
all of the statutory criteria would be subject to proposed part 107.
    In addition, although Public Law 112-95 excepted certain model 
aircraft from FAA rulemaking, it specifically states that the law's 
exception does not limit the Administrator's authority to pursue 
enforcement action against those model aircraft operators that 
``endanger the safety of the national airspace system.'' \37\ This 
proposed rule would codify the FAA's enforcement authority in part 101 
by prohibiting model aircraft operators from endangering the safety of 
the NAS.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \37\ Sec. 336(b) of Public Law 112-95.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA also notes that it recently issued an interpretive rule 
explaining the provisions of section 336 and concluding that ``Congress 
intended for the FAA to be able to rely on a range of our existing 
regulations to protect users of the airspace and people and property on 
the ground.'' \38\ In this interpretive rule, the FAA gave examples of 
existing regulations the violation of which could subject model 
aircraft to enforcement action. Those regulations include:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \38\ Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, 79 
FR 36172, 36175 (June 25, 2014). This document was issued as a 
notice of interpretation and has been in effect since its issuance 
on June 25, 2014. However, we note that the FAA has invited comment 
on this interpretation, and may modify the interpretation as a 
result of comments that were received.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Prohibitions on careless or reckless operation and 
dropping objects so as to create a hazard to persons or property (14 
CFR 91.13 and 91.15);
     Right-of-way rules for converging aircraft (14 CFR 
91.113);
     Rules governing operations in designated airspace (14 CFR 
part 73 and Sec. Sec.  91.126 through 91.135); and
     Rules relating to operations in areas covered by temporary 
flight restrictions and notices to airmen (NOTAMs) (14 CFR 91.137 
through 91.145).\39\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \39\ Id. at 36175-76.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA notes that the above list is not intended to be an 
exhaustive list of all existing regulations that apply to model 
aircraft meeting the statutory criteria of Public Law 112-95, section 
336. Rather, as explained in the interpretive rule, ``[t]he FAA 
anticipates that the cited regulations are the ones that would most 
commonly apply to model aircraft operations.'' \40\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \40\ Id. at 36176.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

7. Moored Balloons, Kites, Amateur Rockets, and Unmanned Free Balloons
    Lastly, proposed part 107 would not apply to moored balloons, 
kites, amateur rockets, and unmanned free balloons. These types of 
aircraft currently are regulated by the provisions of 14 CFR part 101. 
Because these aircraft are already incorporated into the NAS through 
part 101 and because the safety risks associated with these specific 
aircraft are already mitigated by the regulations of part 101, there is 
no need to make these aircraft subject to the provisions of proposed 
part 107.

C. Definitions

    Proposed part 107 would create a new set of definitions to address 
the unique aspects of a small UAS. Those proposed definitions are as 
follows.
1. Control Station
    Proposed part 107 would define a ``control station'' as an 
interface used by the operator to control the flight path of the small 
unmanned aircraft. In a manned aircraft, the interface used by the 
pilot to control the flight path of the aircraft is a part of the 
aircraft and is typically located inside the aircraft flight deck. 
Conversely, the interface used to control the flight path of a small 
unmanned aircraft is typically physically separated from the aircraft 
and remains on the ground during aircraft flight. Defining the concept 
of a control station would clarify the interface that is considered 
part of the small UAS under this regulation.
2. Corrective Lenses
    Proposed part 107 would also define ``corrective lenses'' as 
spectacles or contact lenses. As discussed in the Operating Rules 
section of this preamble, this proposed rule would require the operator 
and/or visual observer to have visual line of sight of the small 
unmanned aircraft with vision that is not enhanced by any device other 
than corrective lenses. This is because spectacles and contact lenses 
do not restrict a user's peripheral vision while other vision-enhancing 
devices may restrict that vision. Because peripheral vision is 
necessary in order for the operator and/or visual observer to be able 
to see and avoid other air traffic in the NAS, this proposed rule would 
limit the circumstances in which vision-enhancing devices other than 
spectacles or contact lenses may be used.

[[Page 9556]]

3. Operator and Visual Observer
    Because of the unique nature of small UAS operations, this proposed 
rule would create two new crewmember positions: The operator and the 
visual observer. These positions are discussed further in section 
III.D.1 of this preamble.
4. Small Unmanned Aircraft
    Public Law 112-95 defines a ``small unmanned aircraft'' as ``an 
unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds.'' \41\ This statutory 
definition of small unmanned aircraft does not specify whether the 55-
pound weight limit refers to the total weight of the aircraft at the 
time of takeoff (which would encompass the weight of the aircraft and 
any payload on board), or simply the weight of an empty aircraft.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \41\ Sec. 331(6) of Public Law 112-95.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This proposed rule would define a small unmanned aircraft as an 
unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds, including everything 
that is on board the aircraft. The FAA proposes to interpret the 
statutory definition of small unmanned aircraft as referring to total 
weight at the time of takeoff because heavier aircraft generally pose 
greater amounts of public risk in the event of an accident. In the 
event of a crash, a heavier aircraft can do more damage to people and 
property on the ground. The FAA also notes that this approach would be 
similar to the approach that the FAA has taken with other aircraft, 
such as large aircraft, light-sport aircraft, and small aircraft.\42\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \42\ See 14 CFR 1.1 (referring to ``takeoff weight'' for large, 
light-sport, and small aircraft in the definitions for those 
aircraft).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. Small Unmanned Aircraft System (Small UAS)
    This proposed rule would define a small UAS as a small unmanned 
aircraft and its associated elements (including communication links and 
the components that control the small unmanned aircraft) that are 
required for the safe and efficient operation of the small unmanned 
aircraft in the NAS. Except for one difference, this proposed 
definition would be similar to the definition of ``unmanned aircraft 
system'' provided in Public Law 112-95.\43\ The difference between the 
two definitions is that the proposed definition in this rule would not 
refer to a pilot-in-command because, as discussed further in this 
preamble, this proposed rule would create a new position of operator to 
replace the traditional manned-aviation positions of pilot and pilot-
in-command for small UAS operations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \43\ Sec. 331(9) of Public Law 112-95. Public Law 112-95 defines 
an ``unmanned aircraft system'' as ``an unmanned aircraft and 
associated elements (including communication links and the 
components that control the unmanned aircraft) that are required for 
the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the 
national airspace system.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Unmanned Aircraft
    Lastly, this proposed rule would define an unmanned aircraft as an 
aircraft operated without the possibility of direct human intervention 
from within or on the aircraft. This proposed definition would codify 
the definition of ``unmanned aircraft'' specified in Public Law 112-
95.\44\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \44\ Sec. 331(8) of Public Law 112-95.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Operating Rules

    As discussed earlier in this preamble (section III.A), instead of a 
single omnibus rulemaking that applies to all small UAS operations, the 
FAA has decided to proceed incrementally and issue a rule governing 
small UAS operations that pose the least amount of risk. Subpart B of 
this proposed rule would specify the operating constraints of these 
operations. The FAA emphasizes that it intends to conduct future 
rulemaking(s) to incorporate into the NAS small UAS operations that 
pose a greater level of risk than the operations that would be 
permitted by this proposed rule. However, those operations present 
additional safety issues that the FAA needs more time to address. In 
the meantime, under this proposed rule, operations that could be 
conducted within the proposed operational constraints would be 
incorporated into the NAS.
    The FAA also considered whether to further subdivide small UAS into 
different categories of unmanned aircraft that would be regulated 
differently based on their weight, operational characteristics, and 
operating environment. This subdivision would have been based on five 
category groups (Groups A through E). Each of these groups would have 
been regulated based on its specific weight and operating 
characteristics.
    This is the framework that the FAA used in its initial approach to 
this rulemaking. However, because this framework attempted to integrate 
a wide range of UAS operations posing different risk profiles whose 
integration raised policy questions on which data was either limited or 
unavailable, the FAA's initial approach would have been unduly 
burdensome on all UAS groups that would have been covered under that 
approach. For example, UAS in Group A, which posed the least safety 
risk under the FAA's initial framework, would have been required to: 
(1) Obtain a permit to operate (PTO) from the FAA, which would have to 
be renewed after one year; (2) file quarterly reports with the FAA 
providing their operational data; (3) establish a level of 
airworthiness that would be sufficient to obtain an airworthiness 
certification (the initial approach would have merged airworthiness 
certification into the PTO); (4) obtain a pilot certificate by passing 
a knowledge test, a practical test, and completing required ground 
training with an FAA-certificated instructor; (5) obtain a NOTAM from 
the FAA prior to conducting certain UAS operations (the operator would 
do this by filing notice with the FAA); and (6) maintain records 
documenting the complete maintenance history of the UAS.
    After extensive deliberation, the FAA ultimately determined that 
such a regulatory framework was too complex, costly, and burdensome for 
both the public and the FAA. The FAA then examined the entire small UAS 
category of aircraft (unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds) 
in light of the new authority provided for under section 333 of Public 
Law 112-95 and determined that appropriate operational risk mitigations 
could be developed to allow the entire category of small UAS to avoid 
airworthiness certification and be subject to the least burdensome 
level of regulation that is necessary to protect the safety and 
security of the NAS. Furthermore, the FAA decided to also substantially 
simplify the operational limitations and airman (operator) 
certification requirements in a manner that would equally accommodate 
all types of small UAS business users with the least amount of 
complexity and regulatory burden.
    The FAA believes that treating small UAS as a single category 
without airworthiness certification would accommodate a large majority 
of small UAS businesses and other non-recreational users of UAS. The 
operational limits in this proposed rule would mitigate risk associated 
with small UAS operations in a way that would provide an equivalent 
level of safety to the NAS with the least amount of burden to business 
and other non-recreational users of even the smallest UAS. The FAA 
invites comments, with supporting documentation, on whether the 
regulation of small UAS should be further subdivided based on the size, 
weight, and operating environment of the small UAS.
1. Micro UAS Classification
    In addition to part 107 as proposed, the FAA is considering 
including a

[[Page 9557]]

micro UAS classification. This classification would be based on the UAS 
ARC's recommendations, as well as approaches adopted in other countries 
that have a separate set of regulations for micro UAS.
    In developing this micro UAS classification, the FAA examined small 
UAS policies adopted in other countries. In considering other 
countries' aviation policies, the FAA noted that each country has its 
unique aviation statutory and rulemaking requirements, which may 
include that country's unique economic, geographic, and airspace 
density considerations. Canada is our only North American neighbor with 
a regulatory framework for small UAS. The chart below summarizes 
Transport Canada's operational limitations for micro UAS (4.4 pounds (2 
kilograms) and under) and compares it with the regulatory framework in 
proposed part 107 as well as the micro UAS classification that the FAA 
is considering.

 Comparison of Canadian Rules Governing Micro UAS Class With Provisions of Proposed Part 107 and Micro UAS Sub-
                                                 Classification
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                               Micro UAS Sub-
             Provision                        Canada                  Small UAS NPRM           classification
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Definition of Small UAS...........  Up to 4.4 lbs (2 kg)......  Up to 55 lbs (24 kg)......  Up to 4.4 lbs (2
                                                                                             kg).
Maximum Altitude Above Ground.....  300 feet..................  500 feet..................  400 feet.
Airspace Limitations..............  Only within Class G         Allowed within Class E in   Only within Class G
                                     airspace.                   areas not designated for    airspace.
                                                                 an airport. Otherwise,
                                                                 need ATC permission.
                                                                 Allowed within Class B, C
                                                                 and D with ATC
                                                                 permission. Allowed in
                                                                 Class G with no ATC
                                                                 permission.
Distance from people and            100 feet laterally from     Simply prohibits UAS        Flying over any
 structures.                         any building, structure,    operations over any         person is
                                     vehicle, vessel or animal   person not involved in      permitted.
                                     not associated with the     the operations (unless
                                     operation and 100 feet      under a covered
                                     from any person.            structure).
Ability to extend operational area  No........................  Yes, from a waterborne      No.
                                                                 vehicle.
Autonomous operations.............  No........................  Yes.......................  No.
Aeronautical knowledge required...  Yes; ground school........  Yes; applicant would take   Yes; applicant would
                                                                 knowledge test.             self-certify.
First person view permitted.......  No........................  Yes, provided operator is   No.
                                                                 visually capable of
                                                                 seeing the small UAS.
Operator training required........  Yes, ground school........  No........................  No.
Visual observer training required.  Yes.......................  No........................  No.
Operator certificate required.....  No........................  Yes (must pass basic UAS    Yes (no knowledge
                                                                 aeronautical test).         test required).
Preflight safety assessment.......  Yes.......................  Yes.......................  Yes.
Operate within 5 miles of an        No........................  Yes.......................  No.
 airport.
Operate in a congested area.......  No........................  Yes.......................  Yes.
Liability insurance...............  Yes, $100,000 CAN.........  No........................  No.
Daylight operations only..........  Yes.......................  Yes.......................  Yes.
Aircraft must be made out of        No........................  No........................  Yes.
 frangible materials.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA is considering the following provisions for the micro UAS 
classification:
     The unmanned aircraft used in the operation would weigh no 
more than 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms). This provision would be based on 
the ARC's recommendations and on how other countries, such as Canada, 
subdivide their UAS into micro or lightweight UAS;
     The unmanned aircraft would be made out of frangible 
materials that break, distort, or yield on impact so as to present a 
minimal hazard to any person or object that the unmanned aircraft 
collides with. Examples of such materials are breakable plastic, paper, 
wood, and foam. This provision would be based on the ARC's 
recommendations;
     During the course of the operation, the unmanned aircraft 
would not exceed an airspeed of 30 knots. This provision would be based 
on the ARC's recommendation, which was concerned with damage that could 
be done by unmanned aircraft flying at higher speeds;
     During the course of the operation, the unmanned aircraft 
would not travel higher than 400 feet above ground level (AGL). This 
provision would be based on the ARC's recommendations;
     The unmanned aircraft would be flown within visual line of 
sight; first-person view would not be used during the operation; and 
the aircraft would not travel farther than 1,500 feet away from the 
operator. These provisions would be based on ARC recommendations and 
Canada's requirements for micro UAS;
     The operator would maintain manual control of the flight 
path of the unmanned aircraft at all times, and the operator would not 
use automation to control the flight path of the unmanned aircraft. 
This provision would be based on ARC recommendations and Canada's 
requirements for micro UAS;
     The operation would be limited entirely to Class G 
airspace. This provision would be based on Canada's requirements for 
micro UAS; and
     The unmanned aircraft would maintain a distance of at 
least 5 nautical miles from any airport. This provision would be based 
on Canada's requirements for micro UAS.
    The operational parameters discussed above may provide significant 
additional safety mitigations. Specifically, a very light (micro) UAS 
operating at lower altitudes and at lower speeds, that is made up of 
materials that break or yield easily upon impact, may pose a much lower 
risk to persons, property, and other NAS users than a UAS that does not 
operate within these

[[Page 9558]]

parameters. Additionally, limiting the micro UAS operation entirely to 
Class G airspace, far away from an airport, and in close proximity to 
the operator (as well as limiting the unmanned aircraft's flight path 
to the operator's constant manual control) would significantly reduce 
the risk of collision with another aircraft. Accordingly, because the 
specific parameters of a micro UAS operation described above would 
provide additional safety mitigation for those operations, the FAA's 
micro UAS approach would allow micro UAS to operate directly over 
people not involved in the operation. Under the FAA's micro UAS 
approach, the operator of a micro UAS also would be able to operate 
using a UAS airman certificate with a different rating (an unmanned 
aircraft operator certificate with a micro UAS rating) than the airman 
certificate that would be created by proposed part 107. No knowledge 
test would be required in order to obtain an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a micro UAS rating; instead, the applicant would 
simply submit a signed statement to the FAA stating that he or she has 
familiarized him or herself with all of the areas of knowledge that are 
tested on the initial aeronautical knowledge test that is proposed 
under part 107.
    The FAA is also considering whether to require, as part of the 
micro UAS approach, that the micro UAS be made out of frangible 
material. A UAS that is made out of frangible material presents a 
significantly lower risk to persons on the ground, as that UAS is more 
likely to shatter if it should impact a person rather than injuring 
that person. Without the risk mitigation provided by frangible-material 
construction, the FAA would be unable to allow micro UAS to operate 
directly over a person not involved in the operation. The FAA notes 
that, currently, a majority of fixed-wing small UAS are made out of 
frangible materials that would satisfy the proposed requirement. The 
FAA invites comments on whether it should eliminate frangibility from 
the micro UAS framework.
    The FAA also invites commenters to submit data and any other 
supporting documentation on whether the micro UAS classification should 
be included in the final rule, and what provisions the FAA should adopt 
for such a classification. The FAA invites further comments, with 
supporting documentation, estimating the costs and benefits of 
implementing a micro UAS approach in the final rule. Finally, the FAA 
invites comments to assess the risk to other airspace users posed by 
the lesser restricted integration of micro UAS into the NAS. The FAA 
notes, however, that due to statutory constraints, the FAA would be 
unable to eliminate the requirement to hold an airman certificate and 
register the unmanned aircraft even if it were to adopt a micro UAS 
approach in the final rule.
    During the course of this rulemaking, the FAA also received a 
petition for rulemaking from UAS America Fund LLC. This petition 
presented the FAA with an alternative approach to regulating micro UAS, 
complete with a set of regulatory provisions that would be specific to 
micro UAS operations. Because the FAA was already in the process of 
rulemaking at the time this petition was filed, pursuant to 14 CFR 
11.73(c), the FAA will not treat this petition as a separate action, 
but rather, will consider it as a comment on this rulemaking. 
Accordingly, the FAA has placed a copy of UAS America Fund's rulemaking 
petition in the docket for this rulemaking and invites comments on the 
suggestions presented in this petition. Any comments received in 
response to the proposals in the petition will be considered in this 
rulemaking.
2. Operator and Visual Observer
    As briefly mentioned earlier, this proposed rule would create two 
new crewmember positions: An operator and a visual observer. The FAA 
proposes these positions for small UAS operations instead of the 
traditional manned-aircraft positions of pilot, flight engineer, and 
flight navigator. This is being proposed because, by their very nature, 
small UAS operations are different from manned aircraft operations, and 
this necessitates a different set of qualifications for crewmembers.
i. Operator
    The FAA proposes to define an operator as a person who manipulates 
the flight controls of a small UAS. Flight controls include any system 
or component that affects the flight path of the aircraft. The position 
of operator would be somewhat analogous to the position of a pilot who 
controls the flight of a manned aircraft. However, the FAA proposes to 
create the position of an operator rather than expand the existing 
definition of pilot to emphasize that, even though the operator 
directly controls the flight of the unmanned aircraft, the operator is 
not actually present on the aircraft.
    The FAA notes that even though a small UAS operator is not a pilot, 
the operator would still be considered an airman and statutorily 
required to obtain an airman certificate. The statutory flexibility 
provided in section 333 of Public Law 112-95 is limited to 
airworthiness certification and does not extend to airman 
certification. Thus, as mentioned previously, the FAA's statute 
prohibits a person without an airman certificate from serving in any 
capacity as an airman with respect to a civil aircraft used or intended 
to be used in air commerce.\45\ The statute defines an ``airman,'' in 
part, as an individual who, as a member of the crew, navigates the 
aircraft when under way.\46\ Because under this proposed rule the 
operator would be a member of the crew and would navigate the small 
unmanned aircraft when that aircraft is under way, an operator would be 
an airman as defined in the FAA's statute. Accordingly, the operator 
would statutorily be required to obtain an airman certificate in order 
to fly the small unmanned aircraft.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \45\ 49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(2)(A).
    \46\ 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(8)(A).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA proposes to codify this statutory requirement in Sec.  
107.13(a), which would require a person who wishes to serve as an 
operator to obtain an unmanned aircraft airman certificate with a small 
UAS rating. An unmanned aircraft airman certificate would be a new type 
of airman certificate that would be created by this proposed rule 
specifically for UAS operators to satisfy the statutory requirement for 
an airman certificate. The certificate necessary to operate small UAS 
would have a small UAS rating. The FAA anticipates that certificates 
used to operate UAS not subject to this proposed rule would have 
different certification requirements. The specific details of this 
certificate are discussed further in section III.E of this preamble.
    The FAA also proposes to give each operator the power and 
responsibility typically associated with a pilot-in-command (PIC) under 
the existing regulations. Under the existing regulations, the PIC ``is 
directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to the 
operation of [the] aircraft.'' \47\ The PIC position provides 
additional accountability for the safety of an operation by: (1) 
Ensuring that a single person on board the aircraft is accountable for 
that operation; and (2) providing that person with the authority to 
address issues affecting operational safety.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \47\ 14 CFR 91.3(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    An accountability system, such as the existing PIC concept, would 
provide similar benefits for small UAS operations. Accordingly, the FAA 
proposes, in Sec.  107.19(a), to make each operator: (1) Directly 
responsible for the

[[Page 9559]]

small UAS operation, and (2) the final authority as to the small UAS 
operation. To provide further clarity as to the operator's authority 
over the small UAS operation, proposed Sec.  107.49(b) would require 
that each person involved in the small UAS operation perform the duties 
assigned by the operator.
    The FAA also considered providing the operator with the emergency 
powers available to the PIC under 14 CFR 91.3(b). Under Sec.  91.3(b), 
a PIC can deviate from FAA regulations to respond to an in-flight 
emergency. However, the FAA does not believe that this power is 
necessary for the operator because a small unmanned aircraft is highly 
maneuverable and much easier to land than a manned aircraft. Thus, in 
an emergency, an operator should be able to promptly land the small 
unmanned aircraft in compliance with FAA regulations. Accordingly, the 
FAA proposes not to provide an operator with the emergency powers 
available to the PIC under Sec.  91.3(b). The FAA invites comments on 
this issue.
    The FAA also does not believe that it is necessary to create a 
separate ``operator-in-command'' position for small UAS operations. The 
existing regulations create a separate PIC position because many manned 
aircraft are operated by multiple pilots. Thus, it is necessary to 
designate one of those pilots as the accountable authority for the 
operation. By contrast, only one operator is needed for a small UAS 
flight operation even though additional non-operator persons could be 
involved in the operation. Thus, at this time, it is not necessary to 
create an operator-in-command position. The FAA invites comments on 
whether a separate operator-in-command position should be created for 
small UAS operations.
    The FAA finally notes that the term ``operate'' is currently a 
defined term in 14 CFR 1.1 that is used in manned-aircraft operations. 
While, for purposes of proposed part 107, the proposed definition of 
``operator'' would supersede any conflicting definitions in Sec.  1.1, 
the FAA invites comments as to whether defining a new crewmember 
position as an ``operator'' would cause confusion with the existing 
terminology. If so, the FAA invites suggestions as to an alternative 
title for this crewmember position.
ii. Visual Observer
    To assist the operator with the proposed see-and-avoid and visual-
line-of-sight requirements discussed in the next section of this 
preamble, the FAA proposes to create the position of a visual observer. 
Under this proposed rule, a visual observer would be defined as a 
person who assists the small unmanned aircraft operator in seeing and 
avoiding other air traffic or objects aloft or on the ground. The 
visual observer would do this by augmenting the operator as the person 
who must satisfy the see-and-avoid and visual-line-of-sight 
requirements of this proposed rule. As discussed in more detail below, 
an operator must always be capable of seeing the small unmanned 
aircraft. However, if the operation is augmented by at least one visual 
observer, the operator is not required to exercise this capability, as 
long as the visual observer maintains a constant visual-line-of-sight 
of the small unmanned aircraft.
    The FAA emphasizes that, as proposed, a visual observer is not a 
required crewmember, as the operator could always satisfy the pertinent 
requirements him- or herself. Under this proposed rule, an operator 
could, at his or her discretion, use a visual observer to increase the 
flexibility of the operation. The FAA notes, however, that as discussed 
in III.D.3.i of this preamble, even if a visual observer is used to 
augment the operation, a small unmanned aircraft would still be 
required by Sec.  107.33(c) to always remain close enough to the 
control station for the operator to be capable of seeing that aircraft.
    To ensure that the visual observer can carry out his or her duties, 
the FAA proposes, in Sec.  107.33(b), that the operator be required to 
ensure that the visual observer is positioned in a location where he or 
she is able to see the small unmanned aircraft in the manner required 
by the proposed visual-line-of-sight and see-and-avoid provisions of 
Sec. Sec.  107.31 and 107.37. The operator can do this by specifying 
the location of the visual observer. The FAA also proposes to require, 
in Sec.  107.33(d), that the operator and visual observer coordinate 
to: (1) Scan the airspace where the small unmanned aircraft is 
operating for any potential collision hazard; and (2) maintain 
awareness of the position of the small unmanned aircraft through direct 
visual observation. This would be accomplished by the visual observer 
maintaining visual contact with the small unmanned aircraft and the 
surrounding airspace and then communicating to the operator the flight 
status of the small unmanned aircraft and any hazards which may enter 
the area of operation so that the operator can take appropriate action.
    To make this communication possible, this proposed rule would 
require, in Sec.  107.33(a), that the operator and visual observer 
maintain effective communication with each other at all times. This 
means that the operator and visual observer must work out a method of 
communication prior to the operation that allows them to understand 
each other, and utilize that method in the operation. The FAA notes 
that this proposed communication requirement would permit the use of 
communication-assisting devices, such as radios, to facilitate 
communication between the operator and visual observer from a distance. 
The FAA considered requiring the visual observer to be stationed next 
to the operator to allow for unassisted oral communication, but decided 
that this requirement would be unduly burdensome, as it is possible to 
have effective oral communication through a communication-assisting 
device. The FAA invites comments on whether the visual observer should 
be required to stand close enough to the operator to allow for 
unassisted verbal communication.
    Under this proposed rule, the visual observer would not be 
permitted to manipulate any controls of the small UAS, share in 
operational control, or exercise operation-related judgment independent 
of the operator. Because the visual observer's role in the small UAS 
operation would be limited to simply communicating what he or she is 
seeing to the operator, the visual observer would not be an ``airman'' 
as defined in the FAA's statute.\48\ Consequently, as proposed, the 
visual observer would not statutorily be required to obtain an airman 
certificate.\49\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \48\ 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(8). This statute defines an ``airman'' 
as an individual: ``(A) in command, or as pilot, mechanic, or member 
of the crew, who navigates aircraft when under way; (B) except to 
the extent the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration 
may provide otherwise for individuals employed outside the United 
States, who is directly in charge of inspecting, maintaining, 
overhauling, or repairing aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, or 
appliances; or (C) who serves as an aircraft dispatcher or air 
traffic control-tower operator.'' The visual observer's limited role 
in the operation of a small UAS would not meet any of these 
criteria.
    \49\ See 49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(2)(A) (prohibiting a person without 
an airman certificate from serving in any capacity as an airman with 
respect to a civil aircraft used or intended to be used in air 
commerce).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    While an airman certificate for a visual observer is not 
statutorily mandated, the FAA considered requiring that the visual 
observer obtain an airman certificate.\50\ However, due to the fact 
that this proposed rule would not permit the visual observer to

[[Page 9560]]

manipulate the small UAS controls or exercise any independent judgment 
or operational control, the FAA believes that certification of visual 
observers would not result in significant safety benefits. Accordingly, 
the FAA is not proposing to require airman certification for visual 
observers. The FAA invites comments on whether an airman certificate 
should be required to serve as a visual observer. If so, what 
requirements should an applicant meet in order to obtain a visual 
observer airman certificate? The FAA also invites comments regarding 
the costs and benefits of requiring airman certification for visual 
observers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \50\ This requirement would be imposed pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 
44701(a)(5), which gives FAA the power to prescribe regulations that 
it finds necessary for safety in air commerce.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. See-and-Avoid and Visibility Requirements
    Turning to the see-and-avoid and visibility requirements mentioned 
in the previous section, one of the issues with small UAS operations is 
that the small UAS operator cannot see and avoid other aircraft in the 
same manner as a pilot who is inside a manned aircraft. Because at this 
time there is no technology that can provide an acceptable see-and-
avoid replacement for human vision for small UAS operations, this 
proposed rule would limit small UAS operations to within the visual 
line of sight of the operator and a visual observer. This proposed rule 
would also impose requirements to ensure maximum visibility for the 
operation of the small UAS and ensure that small unmanned aircraft 
always yield the right-of-way to other users of the NAS.
i. See-and-Avoid
    Currently, 14 CFR 91.113(b) imposes a requirement on all aircraft 
operations that, during flight, ``vigilance shall be maintained by each 
person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft.'' 
This see-and-avoid requirement is at the heart of the FAA's regulatory 
structure mitigating the risk of aircraft colliding in midair. As such, 
in crafting this proposed rule, the FAA sought a standard under which 
the small UAS operator would have the ability to see and avoid other 
aircraft similar to that of a manned-aircraft pilot.
    The FAA considered proposing that a UAS operator be permitted to 
exercise his or her see-and-avoid responsibilities through 
technological means, such as onboard cameras. We recognize that 
technology is developing that could provide an acceptable substitute 
for direct human vision in UAS operations. FAA does not, however, 
believe this technology has matured to the extent that would allow it 
to be used safely in small UAS operations in lieu of visual line of 
sight. The FAA has not identified an acceptable technological 
substitute for the safety protections provided by direct human vision 
in small UAS operations at this time. For these reasons and consistent 
with the statutory direction provided for in section 333, the FAA 
proposes to require, in Sec. Sec.  107.31 and 107.37(a)(1), that the 
operator (and visual observer, if used) must be capable of maintaining 
a visual line of sight of the small unmanned aircraft throughout that 
aircraft's entire flight with human vision that is unaided by any 
device other than spectacles or contact lenses.
    If a visual observer is not used, the operator must exercise this 
capability and maintain watch over the small unmanned aircraft during 
flight. However, if an operation is augmented by at least one visual 
observer, then the visual observer can be used to satisfy the visual-
line-of-sight requirements, as long as the operator always remains 
situated such that he or she can exercise visual-line-of-sight 
capability.
    The FAA notes that this proposed requirement does not require the 
person maintaining visual line of sight to constantly watch the 
unmanned aircraft for every single second of that aircraft's flight. 
The FAA understands and accepts that this person may lose sight of the 
unmanned aircraft for brief moments of the operation. This may be 
necessary either because the small UAS momentarily travels behind an 
obstruction or to allow the person maintaining visual line of sight to 
perform actions such as scanning the airspace or briefly looking down 
at the small UAS control station. The visual-line-of-sight requirement 
of this proposed rule would allow the person maintaining visual line of 
sight brief moments in which he or she cannot directly see the small 
unmanned aircraft provided that the person is able to see the 
surrounding operational area sufficiently well to carry out his or her 
visual-line-of-sight-related responsibilities. Anything more than brief 
moments during which the person maintaining visual line of sight is 
unable to see the small unmanned aircraft would be prohibited under 
this proposed rule.
    To ensure that the operator's vision (and that of a visual 
observer, if used) of the small unmanned aircraft is sufficient to see 
and avoid other aircraft in the NAS, the proposed rule would require 
that the operator's or visual observer's vision of the small unmanned 
aircraft must be sufficient to allow him or her to: (1) Know the small 
unmanned aircraft's location; (2) determine the small unmanned 
aircraft's attitude, altitude, and direction; (3) observe the airspace 
for other air traffic or hazards; and (4) determine that the small 
unmanned aircraft does not endanger the life or property of another. 
Because maintaining this type of awareness in real-time is a 
concentration-intensive activity, proposed Sec.  107.35 would limit an 
operator or visual observer to operating no more than one small UAS at 
the same time.\51\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \51\ The use of a visual observer would not be sufficient to 
allow an operator to operate more than one small UAS because the 
operator would still need to maintain sufficient concentration to 
react to the information provided to him or her by the visual 
observer.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Binoculars, onboard cameras, and other vision-enhancing devices 
(aside from spectacles or contact lenses) cannot be used to satisfy 
this proposed requirement because those devices restrict the user's 
peripheral field of vision. Since a pilot often uses peripheral vision 
to identify other aircraft in the NAS,\52\ a device that restricts 
peripheral vision hinders the user's ability to see other aircraft. 
However, the FAA recognizes that there are advantages to using vision-
enhancing devices, such as those used when utilizing camera video 
transmitted to a screen at the operator's station (also known as first 
person view) when conducting inspections of bridges or towers. This 
proposed rule is not intended to prohibit the use of those devices. 
Rather, the proposed visual-line-of-sight requirement requires simply 
that at least one person involved in the operation, either the operator 
or a visual observer, must maintain an unenhanced visual line of sight 
of the small unmanned aircraft. Anyone else involved in the operation 
may use a vision-enhancing device (including first-person view) so long 
as that device is not used to meet the proposed requirements of 
Sec. Sec.  107.31 and 107.37. The FAA invites comments on this proposed 
visual-line-of-sight requirement. The FAA also invites suggestions, 
with supporting documentation, for other ways in which a first-person-
view device could be used by the operator without compromising the risk 
mitigation provided by the proposed visual-line-of-sight requirement. 
The FAA also invites comments on whether it should permit operations 
beyond visual line of sight in its final rule, for example through 
deviation authority, once the pertinent technology matures to the 
extent that it

[[Page 9561]]

can be used to safely operate beyond visual line of sight. If so, what 
level of validation should the technology be subject to in order to 
demonstrate reliability? For example, should the FAA use its existing 
certification or validation methodologies to evaluate UAS technology?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \52\ Pilot Safety brochure: ``Pilot Vision.'' http://www.faa.gov/pilots/safety/pilotsafetybrochures/media/pilot_vision.pdf. A copy of this document is also available in the 
docket for this rulemaking.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

ii. Additional Visibility Requirements
    To further ensure that a small UAS operator/visual observer can see 
and avoid other aircraft, the FAA proposes (1) to limit the operation 
of small UAS to daylight-only operations, and (2) to impose weather-
minimum visibility requirements
    First, the FAA proposes, in Sec.  107.29, to prohibit the operation 
of a small UAS outside the hours of official sunrise and sunset. The 
Federal Air Almanac provides tables which are used to determine sunrise 
and sunset at various latitudes. The FAA considered proposing to allow 
small UAS operations outside the hours of official sunrise and sunset, 
recognizing that this would integrate a greater quantity of small UAS 
operations into the NAS. However, the FAA has decided to propose 
limiting small UAS use to daylight-only operations due to the 
relatively small size of the small unmanned aircraft and the difficulty 
in being able to see it in darker environments to avoid other airspace 
users. The FAA also notes that most small unmanned aircraft flights 
under this proposed rule would take place at low altitudes, and flying 
at night would limit the small UAS operator's ability to see people on 
the ground and take precautions to ensure that the small unmanned 
aircraft does not pose a hazard to those people. Moreover, allowing 
small UAS operations outside of daylight hours would require equipage 
specifications (such as a lighting system emitting a certain minimum 
amount of light) and airworthiness certification requirements that are 
contrary to the FAA's goal of a minimally burdensome rule for small 
unmanned aircraft. The FAA also notes that, for manned aircraft 
operations, the regulations provide for very specific lighting systems 
necessary to safely operate in the NAS. Those regulations require, 
among other things: (1) Lighting system angles; (2) lighting system 
intensity; (3) lighting system color and position; (4) lighting system 
installation; and (5) lighting system configuration.\53\ This level of 
regulation and airworthiness certification would be beyond the level of 
a minimally burdensome rule encompassing low-risk operation that is 
contemplated by section 333 of Public Law 112-95.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \53\ See 14 CFRs 23.1381 through 23.1401.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA realizes the proposed daylight-only operations requirement 
may affect the ability to use small unmanned aircraft in more northern 
latitudes (specifically Alaska), and is willing to consider any 
reasonable mitigation which would ensure that an equivalent level of 
safety is maintained while operating in low-light areas. The FAA 
welcomes public comments with suggestions on how to effectively 
mitigate the risk of operations of small unmanned aircraft during low-
light or nighttime operations.
    In addition, to ensure that small UAS operators and visual 
observers have the ability to see and avoid other aircraft, the FAA is 
proposing to require, in Sec.  107.51(c), a minimum flight visibility 
of 3 statute miles (5 kilometers) from the control station for small 
UAS operations. A visibility of 3 statute miles currently is required 
for aircraft operations in controlled airspace.\54\ The FAA also 
requires a 3-mile visibility in the context of other unmanned aircraft 
operations (moored balloons and kites).\55\ The reason for the 
increased visibility requirement is to provide the small UAS operator 
with additional time after seeing a manned aircraft to maneuver and 
avoid an accident or incident with the manned aircraft.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \54\ See 14 CFR 91.115.
    \55\ 14 CFR 101.13(a)(3).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, the FAA is proposing to require, in Sec.  107.51(d), 
that the small unmanned aircraft must be no less than: (1) 500 feet 
(150 meters) below clouds; and (2) 2,000 feet (600 meters) horizontal 
from clouds. This is similar to the requirements imposed by 14 CFR 
91.155 on aircraft operating in controlled airspace under visual flight 
rules. The FAA proposes to impose these cloud-clearance requirements on 
small UAS operations because, as mentioned previously, small UAS 
operators do not have the same see-and-avoid capability as manned-
aircraft pilots.
iii. Yielding Right of Way
    Now that we have discussed how a small UAS operator sees other 
users of the NAS, we turn to how that operator avoids those users. In 
aviation, this is accomplished through right-of-way rules, which pilots 
are required to follow when encountering other aircraft. These rules 
specify how pilots should respond to other NAS users based on the types 
of aircraft or the operational scenario.
    The operation of small UAS presents challenges to the application 
of the traditional right-of-way rules. The smaller visual profile of 
the small unmanned aircraft makes it difficult for manned pilots to see 
and, therefore, avoid the unmanned aircraft. This risk is further 
compounded by the difference in speed between manned aircraft and the 
often slower small unmanned aircraft. Because of these challenges, the 
FAA proposes to require, in Sec.  107.37(a)(2), that the small UAS 
operator must always be the one to initiate an avoidance maneuver to 
avoid collision with any other user of the NAS. Optimally, the small 
UAS operator should give right-of-way to all manned aircraft in such a 
manner that the manned aircraft is never presented with a see-and-avoid 
decision or the impression that it must maneuver to avoid the small 
UAS.
    When a small UAS operator encounters another unmanned aircraft, 
each operator must exercise his or her discretion to avoid a collision 
between the aircraft. In extreme situations where collision is 
imminent, the small UAS operator must always consider the safety of 
people, first and foremost, over the value of any equipment, even if it 
means the loss of the unmanned aircraft. To further mitigate the risk 
of a mid-air collision, the FAA also proposes to codify, in Sec.  
107.37(b), the existing requirement in 14 CFR 91.111(a), which 
prohibits a person from operating an aircraft so close to another 
aircraft as to create a collision hazard.
4. Containment and Loss of Positive Control
    As discussed above, one of the issues unique to UAS operations is 
the possibility that during flight, the UAS operator may become unable 
to directly control the unmanned aircraft due to a failure of the 
control link between the aircraft and the operator's control station. 
This failure is known as a loss of positive control. Because the UAS 
operator's direct connection to the aircraft is funneled through the 
control link, a failure of the control link could have significant 
adverse results.
    To address this issue, the FAA proposes a performance-based 
operator-responsibility standard built around the concept of a confined 
area of operation. Confining the flight of a small unmanned aircraft to 
a limited area would allow the operator to become familiar with the 
area of operation and to create contingency plans for using the 
environment in that area to mitigate the risk associated with possible 
loss of positive control. For example, the operator could mitigate 
loss-of-control risk to people on the ground by setting up a perimeter 
and excluding people

[[Page 9562]]

not involved with the operation from the operational area. The operator 
could also mitigate risk to other aircraft by notifying the local air 
traffic control of the small UAS operation and the location of the 
confined area in which that operation will take place. As a result of 
risk-mitigation options that are available to the operator in a 
confined area of operation, the FAA proposes to mitigate the risk 
associated with loss of aircraft control by confining small unmanned 
aircraft to a limited area of operation.
    As an alternative method of addressing this issue, the FAA 
considered technological approaches such as requiring a flight 
termination system that would automatically terminate the flight of the 
small unmanned aircraft if the operator lost positive control of that 
aircraft. However, as previously discussed, due to the size and weight 
of a small UAS, operations subject to this proposed rule would not pose 
the same level of risk as other operations regulated by the FAA. Since 
small UAS operations subject to this rule pose a lower level of risk, 
there are operational alternatives available to mitigate their risk to 
an acceptable level without imposing an FAA requirement for 
technological equipage and airworthiness certification requirements. 
Therefore, this proposed rule would not mandate the use of a flight 
termination system nor would this proposed rule mandate the equipage of 
any other navigational aid technology. Instead, the FAA invites 
comments on whether a flight termination system or other technological 
equipage should be required and how it would be integrated into the 
aircraft for small UAS that would be subject to this proposed rule. The 
FAA also invites comments, with supporting documentation, as to the 
costs and benefits of requiring a flight termination system or other 
technological equipage.
i. Confined Area of Operation Boundaries
    The FAA notes that the proposed visual-line-of-sight requirement in 
Sec.  107.31 would create a natural horizontal boundary on the area of 
operation. Due to the distance limitations of human vision, the 
operator or visual observer would be unable to maintain visual line of 
sight of the small unmanned aircraft sufficient to satisfy proposed 
Sec.  107.31 if the aircraft travels too far away from them. 
Accordingly, the proposed visual-line-of-sight requirement in proposed 
Sec.  107.31 would effectively confine the horizontal area of operation 
to a circle around the person maintaining visual contact with the 
aircraft with the radius of that circle being limited to the farthest 
distance at which the person can see the aircraft sufficiently to 
maintain compliance with proposed Sec.  107.31.
    The FAA notes that there are two issues with defining the 
horizontal boundary of the area of operation in this manner. First, a 
small UAS operation could use multiple visual observers to expand the 
outer bounds of the horizontal circle created by the visual-line-of-
sight requirement. To address this issue, the FAA proposes to require, 
in Sec.  107.33(c), that if an operation uses a visual observer, the 
small unmanned aircraft must remain close enough to the operator at all 
times during flight for the operator to be capable of seeing the 
aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective 
lenses. This approach would prevent the use of visual observers to 
expand the horizontal outer bounds of the confined area of operation. 
This approach would also create a safety-beneficial redundancy in that, 
while the operator is not required to look at the small unmanned 
aircraft in an operation that uses a visual observer, should something 
go wrong, the operator would be able to look up and see for him- or 
herself what is happening with the aircraft.
    As an alternative method of addressing this issue, the FAA 
considered imposing a numerical limit on how far away a small unmanned 
aircraft can be from the operator. The FAA ultimately decided not to 
propose this approach, as it currently lacks sufficient data to 
designate a specific numerical limit. However, the FAA invites comments 
on whether the horizontal boundary of the contained area of operation 
should be defined through a numerical limit. If the boundary is defined 
through a numerical limit, what should that limit be?
    The second way that the horizontal boundary of the confined 
operational area could be expanded is by stationing the operator on a 
moving vehicle or aircraft. If the operator is stationed on a moving 
vehicle, then the horizontal area-of-operation boundary tied to the 
operator's line of sight would move with the operator, thus increasing 
the size of the small unmanned aircraft's area of operation. To prevent 
this scenario, the FAA proposes, in Sec.  107.25, consistent with the 
ARC recommendations,\56\ to prohibit the operation of a small UAS from 
a moving aircraft or land-borne vehicle. However, proposed Sec.  107.25 
would make an exception for water-borne vehicles. This is because there 
are far less people and property located over water than on land. 
Consequently, a loss of positive control that occurs over water would 
have a significantly smaller chance of injuring a person or damaging 
property than a loss of positive control that occurs over land. 
Allowing use of a small UAS from a water-borne vehicle would also 
increase the societal benefits of this proposed rule without 
sacrificing safety by incorporating small UAS operations such as bridge 
inspections and wildlife nesting area evaluations into the NAS.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \56\ ARC report and recommendations, Sec. 6.11
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA is considering alternatives for regulation of the operation 
of small UAS from moving land vehicles, while protecting safety. It 
invites comments, with supporting documentation, on whether small UAS 
operations should be permitted from moving land-based vehicles, and 
invites comment on a regulatory framework for such operations. The FAA 
specifically invites comments as to whether distinctions could be drawn 
between different types of land-based vehicles or operating 
environments such that certain operations from moving land-based 
vehicles could be conducted safely. The FAA also invites comments on 
whether deviation authority should be included in the final rule to 
accommodate these types of operations.
    Next, we turn to the vertical boundary of the confined area of 
operation. With regard to the vertical boundary, the FAA proposes, in 
Sec.  107.51(b), to set an altitude ceiling of 500 feet above ground 
level (AGL) for small UAS operations that would be subject to this 
proposed rule. The FAA chose to propose 500 feet as the vertical area-
of-operation boundary because most manned aircraft operations take 
place above 500 feet. Specifically, most manned aircraft operations 
conducted over uncongested areas must be flown at an altitude above 500 
feet AGL, while most manned aircraft operations conducted over 
congested areas must be flown at an even higher altitude.\57\ Thus, a 
500-foot altitude ceiling for small UAS operations would create a 
buffer between a small unmanned aircraft and most manned aircraft 
flying in the NAS.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \57\ See 14 CFR 91.119(b) and (c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA notes that while most manned aircraft operations fly above 
the 500-foot ceiling proposed in this rule, there are some manned-
aircraft operations that could fly below this altitude. For example, 
aerial applicators, helicopter air ambulance services, and military 
operations conducted on military training routes often fly at an

[[Page 9563]]

altitude below 500 feet. However, even though some manned aircraft 
operations take place at an altitude below 500 feet, there is 
significantly less air traffic at or below 500 feet than there is above 
500 feet altitude. As a result of this difference in air-traffic 
density, the FAA has determined that small UAS operations would not 
pose a significant risk to manned aircraft operations taking place 
below 500 feet altitude if proper precautions are taken by the small 
UAS operator.
    The FAA also considered whether the vertical boundary should be set 
at a higher level. However, because most manned-aircraft operations 
transit the airspace above the 500-foot level, UAS operations at that 
altitude would likely require greater levels of operator training, 
aircraft equipage, and some type of aircraft certification in order to 
avoid endangering other users of the NAS. Since these provisions would 
be contrary to the goal of this rulemaking, which is to regulate the 
lowest-risk small UAS operations while imposing a minimal regulatory 
burden on those operations, this proposed rule would not allow small 
UAS to travel higher than 500 feet AGL. The FAA invites comments, with 
supporting documentation, on whether this proposed 500-foot ceiling 
should be raised or lowered.
ii. Mitigating Loss-of-Positive-Control Risk
    Now that we have defined the confined area of operation, we turn to 
the question of how loss-of-positive-control risk can be mitigated 
within that area of operation. The FAA notes that there is significant 
diversity in both the types of small UAS that are available and the 
types of operations that those small UAS can be used in. Accordingly, 
small UAS operators need significant flexibility to mitigate hazards 
posed by their individual small UAS operation, as a mitigation method 
that works well for one type of small UAS used in one type of operation 
may not work as well in another operation that uses another type of 
small UAS. For example, in a loss-of-positive-control situation, a 
rotorcraft that loses operator inputs or power to its control systems 
would tend to descend straight down or at a slight angle while a fixed 
wing aircraft would glide for a greater distance before landing. Since 
the loss-of-positive-control risk posed by different types of small 
unmanned aircraft in various operations is different, the FAA proposes 
to create a performance-based standard under which, subject to certain 
broadly-applicable constraints, small UAS operators would have the 
flexibility to create operational and aircraft-specific loss-of-control 
mitigation measures.
    The broadly applicable constraints that the FAA proposes to impose 
on a small UAS operator's risk-mitigation decisions are as follows. 
First, the FAA proposes to require, in Sec.  107.49(a)(3), that prior 
to flight, the operator must ensure that all links between the control 
station and the small unmanned aircraft are working properly. The 
operator can do this by verifying control inputs from the control 
station to the servo actuators \58\ in the small unmanned aircraft. If 
the operator finds, during this preflight check, that a control link is 
not functioning properly, the operator would not commence flight until 
the problem with the control link is resolved. This proposed constraint 
would significantly mitigate the risk of a loss-of-positive-control 
scenario by reducing the possibility that small unmanned aircraft 
flight commences with a malfunctioning control link.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \58\ A ``servo actuator'' is generally defined as a device used 
to provide a wide range of remote movement based on signals from the 
system on which it is used.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Second, the FAA proposes to impose a speed limit of 87 knots (100 
miles per hour) on small unmanned aircraft calibrated airspeed at full 
power in level flight. This is because, if there is a loss of positive 
control, an aircraft traveling at a high speed poses a higher risk to 
persons, property, and other aircraft than an aircraft traveling at a 
lower speed. A speed limit would also have safety benefits outside of a 
loss-of-positive-control scenario because a small unmanned aircraft 
traveling at a lower speed is generally easier to control than a 
higher-speed aircraft.
    In determining the specific speed limit, the FAA decided to propose 
87 knots (100 mph) as the limit. This proposed speed limit is based on 
the ARC recommendation of a 100 mph speed limit for small UAS 
operations. The ARC determined that ``aircraft flying faster than 100 
mph are considered a high performance aircraft'' that ``are perceived 
as having greater risks.'' \59\ Accordingly, the FAA proposes to limit 
the speed of small unmanned aircraft to 87 knots (100 mph). The FAA 
invites comments on whether this speed limit should be raised or 
lowered or whether a speed limit is necessary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \59\ ARC Report, p. 20, section 6.12.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Third, the FAA proposes, in Sec.  107.39, to prohibit the operation 
of a small unmanned aircraft over a person who is not directly 
participating in the operation of that small unmanned aircraft. One of 
the possible consequences of loss-of-positive-control is that the 
aircraft will immediately crash into the ground upon loss of control 
inputs from the operator. Because a loss of positive control can happen 
at any moment, the FAA's proposed prohibition on operating small 
unmanned aircraft over most persons will minimize the risk that a 
person is standing under a small unmanned aircraft if that aircraft 
terminates flight and returns to the surface. This prohibition would 
not apply to persons inside or underneath a covered structure that 
would protect the person from a falling small unmanned aircraft.
    The FAA's proposed prohibition on operating over people would 
provide an exception for persons directly participating in the 
operation of the small unmanned aircraft. The FAA considered 
prohibiting the operation of a small unmanned aircraft over any person, 
but rejected this approach as unduly burdensome because the operator or 
visual observer may, at some points of the operation, need to stand 
under the small unmanned aircraft in order to maintain visual line of 
sight and/or comply with other provisions of this proposed rule. As an 
alternative to prohibiting these persons from standing under the small 
unmanned aircraft, the FAA proposes, in Sec.  107.49(a)(2), that prior 
to flight, the operator must ensure that all persons directly involved 
in the small unmanned aircraft operation receive a briefing that 
includes operating conditions, emergency procedures, contingency 
procedures, roles and responsibilities, and potential hazards. A person 
is directly involved in the operation when his or her involvement is 
necessary for the safe operation of the small unmanned aircraft. By 
receiving a pre-flight briefing on the details of the operation and the 
hazards involved, the persons involved in the operation would be made 
aware of the small unmanned aircraft's location at all times and would 
be able to avoid the flight path of the small unmanned aircraft if the 
operator were to lose control or the aircraft were to experience a 
mechanical failure.
    Within these constraints, the FAA proposes the following 
performance-based standards for mitigating loss-of-positive-control 
risk. First, the FAA proposes, in Sec.  107.49(a)(1), that, prior to 
flight, the operator must become familiar with the confined area of 
operation by assessing the operating environment and assessing risks to 
persons and property in the immediate vicinity both on the surface and 
in the air. As part of this preflight assessment, the operator would 
need to consider conditions that could pose a hazard to

[[Page 9564]]

the operation of the small UAS as well as conditions in which the 
operation of the small UAS could pose a hazard to other aircraft or 
persons or property on the ground. Accordingly, the FAA proposes to 
require that the preflight assessment include the consideration of: (1) 
Local weather conditions; (2) local airspace and any flight 
restrictions; (3) the location of persons and property on the ground; 
and (4) any other ground hazards.
    Second, the FAA proposes that, after becoming familiar with the 
confined area of operation and conducting a preflight assessment, the 
operator be required, by Sec.  107.19(b), to ensure that the small 
unmanned aircraft will pose no undue hazard to other aircraft, people, 
or property in the event of a loss of control of the aircraft for any 
reason. This proposed requirement would provide the operator with 
significant flexibility to choose how to mitigate the hazards 
associated with loss of aircraft control. For example, in addition to 
the examples mentioned previously, if the operation takes place in a 
residential area, the operator could ask everyone in the area of 
operation to remain inside their homes while the operation is 
conducted.\60\ If the operation takes place in an area where other air 
traffic could pose a hazard, the operator would advise local air 
traffic control as to the location of his or her area of operation and 
add extra visual observers to the operation so that they can notify the 
operator if other aircraft are approaching the area of operation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \60\ The FAA notes that this proposed requirement would not 
require people not involved with the operation to comply with the 
operator's warnings. The operator would simply be unable to commence 
the operation until the pertinent area has been made safe for 
operation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The above are just some examples of mitigation strategies that 
could be employed by the operator to ensure that the small unmanned 
aircraft will pose no hazard to other aircraft, people or property in 
the event of lost positive control. These examples are not intended to 
provide an exhaustive list, as there are different ways to mitigate 
loss of positive control. The proposed requirement in Sec.  107.19(b) 
would provide the operator with the flexibility to choose which 
mitigation method is appropriate for his/her specific operation to 
ensure any hazards posed by loss of positive aircraft control are 
sufficiently mitigated. The FAA also anticipates creating guidance that 
provides additional examples of how operators can mitigate loss of 
positive control in small UAS operations. However, the FAA emphasizes 
that no matter what mitigation option(s) the operator employs under 
this proposed rule, the operator must strive to always maintain 
positive control of the small unmanned aircraft. The operator would be 
in violation of proposed Sec.  107.19(b) if he or she intentionally 
operates the small unmanned aircraft in a location where he or she will 
not have positive control over that aircraft.
5. Limitations on Operations in Certain Airspace
    This proposed rule would place limitations small UAS operations in 
three areas related to airspace: (1) Controlled airspace (airspace 
other than Class G); (2) prohibited or restricted airspace; and (3) 
airspace where aviation activity is limited by a Notice to Airmen 
(NOTAM). The FAA is proposing these requirements to reduce the threat 
to other users of the NAS in busy airspace or where most or all 
aviation activities would otherwise be limited.
i. Controlled Airspace
    The FAA is seeking to limit the exposure of the small unmanned 
aircraft to other users of the NAS to minimize the risk of collision, 
which can occur both during controlled flight of the UAS or if the 
operator loses positive control of the small unmanned aircraft. This 
proposed rule would prohibit small unmanned aircraft operations in 
Class A airspace. Class A airspace starts at 18,000 feet mean sea level 
and extends up to 60,000 feet (Flight Level 600). As discussed above, 
this rule would prohibit small UAS operations above 500 feet AGL and 
outside of visual line of sight. Operations in Class A airspace would 
be inconsistent with that requirement, and therefore this proposed rule 
would prohibit operations in Class A airspace.
    Small UAS operations would also be prohibited in Class B, Class C, 
Class D, and within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class 
E airspace designated for an airport without prior authorization from 
the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the airspace. The FAA factors 
information such as traffic density, the nature of operations, and the 
level of safety required when determining whether to designate 
controlled airspace.\61\ Pilots must have an ATC clearance to enter 
certain controlled airspace. In other words, the FAA requires ATC to 
have knowledge of aviation operations in the airspace due to the 
greater amount of activity in that area compared to uncontrolled 
airspace.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \61\ See FAA Aeronautical Information Manual, Para. 3-1-1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA believes that restricting use of controlled airspace to 
approved operations would reduce the risk of interference with other 
aircraft activities. Interference could occur for many reasons, 
including the location of the proposed small UAS operation in the 
airspace, or how the small unmanned aircraft would behave if there is a 
loss of positive control. These limitations would also be consistent 
with the general requirement for aircraft operating in controlled 
airspace to have ATC approval prior to entering the airspace. 
Therefore, the FAA proposes that small UAS receive approval from the 
ATC facility with jurisdiction over the airspace in which the operator 
would like to conduct operations. That ATC facility would have the best 
understanding of local airspace, its usage, and traffic patterns and 
would be in the best position to ascertain whether the proposed small 
UAS operation would pose a hazard to other users or the efficiency of 
the airspace, and procedures to implement to mitigate hazards. This 
proposed rule would not establish equipment requirements for small UAS 
operating in controlled airspace as the FAA does for other users of 
controlled airspace. Rather, the FAA believes that local ATC approval 
would provide a safer and more efficient operating environment at less 
cost to the operator.
    The FAA notes that normal aircraft operations inside controlled 
airspace in the vicinity of an airport require prior authorization from 
ATC. Per part 91, ATC currently requires two-way radio communication 
for departures, through flights, arrivals, and operations inside the 
airspace. The FAA understands that not all small UAS will be able to 
comply with the provisions of part 91, and that is why this proposed 
rule would not require strict compliance with part 91. However, because 
the air-traffic provisions of part 91 are intended to ensure safe 
operation in the NAS, a small UAS operator that intends to operate in 
controlled airspace must ensure that the proposed operations are 
planned and conducted in the safest manner possible. The small UAS 
operator can do this by working closely with the ATC facility that 
controls the airspace.
    The ATC facility has the authority to approve or deny aircraft 
operations based on traffic density, controller workload, communication 
issues, or any other type of operations that could potentially impact 
the safe and expeditious flow of air traffic in that airspace. The more 
that a small UAS is able to show that it would satisfy the provisions 
of part 91 and comply with

[[Page 9565]]

the local operating procedures, the easier the access to the airspace 
would be. These items should be outlined in a prior agreement with the 
ATC facility to identify shortfalls and establish operating procedures 
for small UAS to integrate into the existing air traffic operation. 
This agreement would ensure all parties involved are aware of 
limitations and special interest items and would enable the safe flow 
of aircraft operations in that airspace. The FAA seeks comments related 
to part 91 compliance issues small UAS operators may encounter.
ii. Prohibited or Restricted Areas
    The proposed rule would prohibit small UAS operations in prohibited 
and restricted areas without permission from the using or controlling 
agency as applicable. Prohibited and restricted areas are designated in 
14 CFR part 73. Prohibited areas are established when necessary to 
prohibit flight over an area on the surface in the interest of national 
security or welfare. No person may operate an aircraft without 
permission of the using agency in a prohibited area.\62\ Restricted 
areas are areas established when determined necessary to confine or 
segregate activities considered hazardous to non-participating 
aircraft. Although aircraft flight is not wholly prohibited in these 
areas, it is subject to restriction.\63\ The proposed provision 
concerning prohibited and restricted areas would be similar to the part 
91 restriction on operations in these areas.\64\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \62\ See 14 CFR 1.1.
    \63\ See id.
    \64\ See 14 CFR 91.133.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

iii. Areas Designated by Notice to Airmen
    This proposed rule would also prohibit operation of small UAS in 
airspace restricted by NOTAMs unless authorized by ATC or a certificate 
of waiver or authorization. This would include NOTAMs issued to 
designate a temporary flight restriction (TFR). NOTAMs contain time-
critical aeronautical information that is either temporary in nature, 
or not sufficiently known in advance to permit publication on 
aeronautical charts or other publications.\65\ For example, NOTAMs may 
be used to limit or restrict aircraft operations during emergency 
situations or presidential or VIP movements. They may also be used to 
limit aircraft operations in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations or 
sporting events. NOTAMs are available to the public on the FAA's Web 
site.\66\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \65\ See FAA Aeronautical Information Manual, para. 5-1-3.
    \66\ See, e.g., https://www.notams.faa.gov/dinsQueryWeb/ and 
http://www.faa.gov/pilots/flt_plan/notams/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Like other users of the airspace, small UAS operators would be 
required to review and comply with NOTAMs. As with other airspace 
restrictions in this rule, an operator could seek authorization from 
ATC or through a certificate of waiver or authorization to conduct 
operations in otherwise restricted airspace. The FAA believes that this 
process would permit an assessment of the operation in relation to the 
airspace restriction to determine whether the operation can be safely 
conducted.
6. Airworthiness, Inspection, Maintenance, and Airworthiness Directives
i. Inspections and Maintenance
    As discussed in section III.J.3 of this preamble, pursuant to 
section 333(b)(2) of Public Law 112-95, we have determined that a small 
UAS should not be required to obtain airworthiness certification if 
satisfying the provisions of this proposal. However, without an 
airworthiness certification process, the FAA still needs to ensure that 
a small UAS is in a condition for safe operation. In considering how to 
address this issue, the FAA notes that the current regulations 
applicable to manned civil aircraft generally require an annual 
aircraft inspection every 12 months.\67\ The inspection and any 
maintenance that might be necessary as a result of the inspection 
currently are governed by the provisions of 14 CFR part 43. Part 43 
requires that the inspection examine every component of the aircraft in 
detail to determine whether any hazardous characteristics are present 
that would render the aircraft unairworthy.\68\ If the inspection 
reveals any hazardous characteristics that would render the aircraft 
unairworthy, then maintenance, conducted pursuant to the regulations of 
part 43, must be performed in order to return the aircraft to an 
airworthy condition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \67\ See 14 CFR 91.609. Different components of the aircraft are 
also currently subject to additional component-specific inspection 
schedules. For example, in addition to the above general inspection 
requirements, altimeter instruments on airplanes and helicopters 
operating in controlled airspace under instrument flight rules must 
be inspected every 24 months. See 14 CFR 91.411(a)(1).
    \68\ See 14 CFR part 43, Appendix D (listing aircraft components 
that must be inspected and the hazardous characteristics that the 
inspection should look for).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addressing the issue of airworthiness for small UAS, the FAA 
considered several approaches, including requiring small UAS operators 
to comply with the existing inspection and maintenance requirements of 
this chapter. The FAA also considered requiring a separate permit to 
operate (PTO) in addition to aircraft registration and airman 
certification. A PTO would have included airworthiness certification 
requirements that would have required an applicant to:
     Describe the entire small UAS, including airframe, control 
station, and communications link;
     Comply with a set of unvalidated consensus standards;
     Test the design features required by the unvalidated 
consensus standards and determine that the UAS satisfies those 
standards;
     Inspect the aircraft for compliance with the 
manufacturer's requirements;
     Determine whether the aircraft has been manufactured in 
compliance with unvalidated production acceptance and quality assurance 
consensus standards acceptable to the FAA;
     Complete ground and flight testing of required UAS 
components and determine whether they demonstrated acceptable 
performance and safe operation.
     Create a process for addressing unsafe conditions in the 
aircraft; and
     Create a monitoring program to identify and correct 
safety-of-flight issues.
    After further consideration, the FAA decided that neither of these 
approaches is proportionate to the risk posed by small UAS. FAA noted 
that, as mentioned previously, due to their light weight, small 
unmanned aircraft generally pose a significantly lower risk to people 
and property on the ground than manned aircraft. This relatively low 
risk is mitigated even further by the see-and-avoid and loss-of-
positive-control provisions of this proposed rule, which are discussed 
above. Accordingly, based on existing information, the FAA believes 
that requiring small UAS operators to conduct inspection and 
maintenance of the small UAS pursuant to the existing regulations of 
part 43, or to obtain a PTO, would not result in significant safety 
benefits. As a result, this proposed rule would not require small UAS 
compliance with part 43 or the application for, or issuance of, a PTO.
    Instead, this proposed rule would require, in Sec.  107.21(b), that 
prior to each flight, the operator must inspect the small UAS to ensure 
that it is in a condition for safe operation. The operator could do 
this by, for example, performing a manufacturer-

[[Page 9566]]

recommended preflight inspection or performing an on-the-ground test of 
the small UAS to determine whether safety-critical systems and 
components are working properly.
    If, as a result of the inspection, the operator determines that the 
small UAS is no longer in a condition for safe operation, then proposed 
Sec. Sec.  107.21(a) and 107.15(a) would prohibit the operation of the 
small UAS until the necessary maintenance has been made and the small 
UAS is once again in a condition for safe operation. First, proposed 
Sec.  107.21(a) would require that the operator must maintain the small 
UAS in a condition for safe operation. An example of how the operator 
could satisfy this proposed requirement would be performing the 
manufacturer's recommended maintenance at manufacturer-recommended 
regular intervals. Second, Sec.  107.15(a) would prohibit a person from 
operating a small UAS unless that UAS is in a condition for safe 
operation. Thus, if an operator notices during inspection, maintenance, 
or preflight action, that the small UAS is not in a condition for safe 
operation, then the operator would be in violation of Sec.  107.15(a) 
if he or she flies the small unmanned aircraft while the UAS is not in 
a condition safe for operation.
    The FAA also notes that a small UAS that appears to be in a 
condition for safe operation prior to flight may become unsafe for 
operation during flight. For example, the small unmanned aircraft could 
sustain damage during flight rendering that aircraft unsafe for 
continuing the flight. As such, this proposed rule would require, in 
Sec.  107.15(b), that the operator must discontinue the flight of the 
small unmanned aircraft when he or she knows or has reason to know that 
continuing the flight would pose a hazard to other aircraft, people, or 
property. This proposed requirement is similar to a requirement that 
currently exists in Sec.  91.7(b), which requires the PIC to 
``discontinue the flight [of an aircraft] when unairworthy mechanical, 
electrical, or structural conditions occur.''
    The FAA invites comments on the issues discussed in this section. 
The FAA also invites comments as to the costs and benefits of requiring 
small UAS operators to perform maintenance and inspections pursuant to 
existing regulations.
ii. Airworthiness Directives
    The FAA typically issues airworthiness directives to correct an 
existing unsafe condition in a product when the condition is likely to 
exist or develop in other products of the same type design. 
Airworthiness directives currently are issued for engines, propellers, 
and other products that are either: (1) Approved under a type 
certificate or a supplemental type certificate; or (2) that are 
manufactured under a production certificate, a parts manufacturer 
approval (PMA), or technical standard order (TSO) authorization.
    As discussed in section III.J of this preamble, the FAA does not 
propose to require a type certificate, a production certificate, a PMA 
or TSO authorization for small UAS or any part installed on the small 
UAS. However, to provide manufacturers with flexibility, manufacturers 
would not be prohibited from installing parts that are FAA-
certificated, have received PMA, or are TSO-authorized for manned-
aircraft use on the small UAS, provided the small unmanned aircraft 
remains under 55 pounds after the installation of the part. The FAA 
anticipates that some manufacturers may choose to use these parts on 
the small UAS in order to obtain a higher level of reliability 
associated with a certificate, approval, or authorization.
    However, because parts that are FAA-certificated, have received 
PMA, or are TSO-authorized may have airworthiness directives that are 
applicable to those parts, the FAA proposes to require, in Sec.  
107.13(d), that the owner or operator of the small UAS must comply with 
all applicable airworthiness directives. The FAA notes that it used a 
similar approach in its 2004 light-sport aircraft rulemaking. In that 
rulemaking, the FAA did not require a type or production certificate 
for light-sport aircraft but allowed the installation on the aircraft 
of parts that are FAA-certificated, have received PMA, or are TSO-
authorized as long as the owner or operator complied with all 
applicable airworthiness directives.\69\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \69\ Certification of Aircraft and Airmen for the Operation of 
Light-Sport Aircraft Final Rule, 69 FR 44772, 44855 (July 27, 2004).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

7. Miscellaneous Operating Provisions
i. Careless or Reckless Operation
    The existing FAA regulations prohibit a person from operating an 
aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or 
property of another.\70\ These regulations also prohibit the PIC from 
allowing any object to be dropped from an aircraft in flight if doing 
so would create a hazard to persons or property.\71\ The FAA proposes 
to apply similar regulations to small UAS operations, in Sec.  107.23 
to ensure that a small UAS is not operated in a hazardous manner.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \70\ 14 CFR 91.13(a).
    \71\ 14 CFR 91.15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

ii. Drug and Alcohol Prohibition
    Proposed Sec.  107.27 would require small UAS operators and visual 
observers to comply with the alcohol and drug use prohibitions that are 
currently in place in part 91 of the FAA's regulations. Small UAS 
operators and visual observers would also be subject to the existing 
regulations of Sec.  91.19, which prohibit knowingly carrying narcotic 
drugs, marijuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances.
    The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that the safety of 
small UAS operations are not impeded by alcohol or drug use and to 
prohibit the use of aircraft for drug trafficking. Section 91.17 
specifically prohibits use of alcohol or drugs during or for a time 
period prior to an operation. Moreover, operators and visual observers 
would need to submit to testing to determine alcohol concentration in 
the blood due to a suspected violation of law or Sec.  91.17. Operators 
or visual observers would be required to submit these tests to the FAA 
if the FAA has a reasonable basis to believe that the person has 
violated Sec.  91.17.
    This section would also subject persons operating small UAS who 
knowingly carry illegal substances to FAA enforcement action, which 
could include certificate revocation. An exception exists for 
substances authorized by or under any Federal or State statute or by 
any Federal or State Agency.
iii. Medical Conditions
    As discussed in section III.E of this preamble, this proposed rule 
would not require a small UAS operator or visual observer to hold an 
airman medical certificate. However, the FAA recognizes the possibility 
that a person acting as an operator or visual observer may have a 
medical condition that could interfere with the safe operation of the 
small UAS. Accordingly, the FAA proposes, in Sec.  107.17, to prohibit 
a person from acting as an operator or visual observer if he or she 
knows or has reason to know of any physical or mental condition that 
would interfere with the safe operation of a small UAS. This proposed 
provision is similar to the regulatory provision of 14 CFR 61.53(b), 
which currently applies to operations that do not require a medical 
certificate.
iv. Sufficient Power for the Small UAS
    Proposed Sec.  107.49(a)(4) would require a small UAS operator to 
ensure that, if

[[Page 9567]]

powered, the small UAS has enough power to operate for its intended 
operational time and an additional five minutes. The 5-minute buffer 
would ensure that the small UAS has sufficient power to return to the 
operator, or another location, and be able to make a controlled 
landing. Additionally, control inputs to a small UAS may degrade as 
batteries lose charge because power to the flight control system(s) may 
be lost. Accordingly this proposed rule would help to ensure that the 
small UAS remains controllable throughout its intended operational 
time. The FAA notes that a small UAS travelling at 10 miles per hour 
would be able to cover nearly one mile in 5 minutes.
v. Registration and Marking
    As mentioned earlier, the FAA's statute prohibits a person from 
operating a civil aircraft that is not registered.\72\ The FAA proposes 
to codify this statutory requirement in Sec.  107.13(b). In addition, 
all aircraft currently are required to display their registration 
number on the aircraft.\73\ The FAA proposes to impose a similar 
requirement, in Sec.  107.13(c), on small unmanned aircraft subject to 
this proposed rule. The specific manner in which the small unmanned 
aircraft would register and display its registration number is 
discussed in section III.G of this preamble.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \72\ 49 U.S.C. 44101(a).
    \73\ See 14 CFR part 45.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

E. Operator Certificate

    As discussed earlier in this preamble, the FAA proposes to satisfy 
the statutory requirement for an airman to possess an airman 
certificate \74\ by requiring small UAS operators to obtain and hold an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating in order 
to operate a small UAS. An unmanned aircraft operator certificate would 
be a new type of airman certificate created by this proposed rule, and 
this section explains the FAA's proposal concerning this certificate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \74\ 49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(2)(A).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Applicability
    The FAA is proposing to require that individuals obtain an unmanned 
aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating as a prerequisite 
to operating a small UAS. As with airman certificates that the FAA 
requires for operating other aircraft, an operator certificate would 
ensure that the operator is able to safely operate the small UAS. The 
FAA notes that airman certificates are currently issued to pilots who 
engage in commercial and non-commercial activities. The FAA is 
proposing to issue a new type of certificate for UAS operators, rather 
than require a private or commercial pilot certificate with UAS type 
rating, because many of the requirements for private and commercial 
pilots are not necessary for the types of operations that would be 
permitted under this rule.
    Moreover, the FAA wants to maintain a distinction between an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate and the airman certificates 
issued under parts 61, 63 and 65.\75\ As such, proposed Sec.  61.8 
would prohibit activities under this rule from being used to meet part 
61 requirements. Activities would include any training, certification, 
or flights associated with small UAS under proposed part 107. This 
proposal is consistent with the FAA's statement in the 2013 Pilot 
Certification and Qualification Requirements for Air Carrier Operations 
Final Rule that ``regulations do not currently permit the time acquired 
while operating [a UAS] to be logged to meet aeronautical experience 
requirements for FAA [manned-aircraft] certification.'' \76\ 
Additionally, that rule did not extend an exception from a flight time 
standard to graduates of training programs designed to qualify a 
military pilot solely for operation of UAS to qualify for a reduced 
flight time.\77\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \75\ Parts 61, 63, and 65 currently apply to all airman 
certificates, which include small UAS airmen. However, under this 
proposed rule, these parts would no longer apply to small UAS 
airmen. Thus, the distinction discussed in this paragraph would 
segregate experience acquired while operating a small UAS from 
experience acquired while operating a manned aircraft.
    \76\ 78 FR 42324 (July 15, 2013).
    \77\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA considered proposing to require an individual to obtain a 
commercial pilot certificate with a UAS type endorsement before 
operating a small UAS. Issuance of such a certificate would require 
that the applicant obtain a Class II airman medical certificate, pass 
an aeronautical knowledge test, and demonstrate flight proficiency and 
aeronautical experience with a certificated flight instructor. However, 
given the lower level of public risk posed by small UAS operations, the 
FAA decided that imposing such requirements would be unduly burdensome 
to small UAS operators. Moreover, as explained in further detail in 
preamble section III.E.2.iii.a below, the FAA believes that the 
training, testing, proficiency and experience requirements for 
obtaining a commercial pilot license have limited relevance to the 
nature of small UAS operations. The FAA invites public comment on its 
proposal to create a new category of airman certificate for small UAS 
operators.
2. Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate--Eligibility & Issuance
    This rule would establish the eligibility requirements to apply for 
an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating and 
specify when a certificate would be issued. Military and former 
military pilots would be able to apply based on experience operating 
unmanned aircraft in the United States Armed Forces.
i. Minimum Age
    Proposed Sec.  107.61 would establish the eligibility requirements 
for an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating. 
First, an applicant would need to be at least 17 years of age. This 
minimum age is consistent with existing FAA minimum age requirements 
for the Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, and Private Pilot airman 
certificates--the base-level certificates authorizing pilots to operate 
aircraft while not under the supervision of an instructor. Because this 
rule would permit commercial small UAS operations, the FAA considered 
setting the minimum age at 18 years, consistent with the Commercial 
Pilot Certificate requirements which permit carrying persons or 
property for compensation or hire. However, the FAA determined that the 
higher age limit was not necessary because the proposed operational 
limitations will create an environment that minimizes risk to persons 
and property.
    The FAA notes that the minimum age necessary to apply for an airman 
certificate to operate a glider or a balloon category aircraft is 16 
years old. The FAA invites comments on whether the minimum age 
necessary to apply for an unmanned aircraft operator certificate should 
similarly be reduced to 16 years old in the final rule. The FAA also 
invites comments as to whether reducing the minimum applicant age to 16 
years old would further enable academic use of small UAS.
ii. English Language Proficiency
    A person would need to be able to read, speak, write and understand 
the English language to be eligible for an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating. This requirement is consistent 
with all other airman certificates issued by the FAA.\78\ The English 
language has generally been

[[Page 9568]]

accepted as the international standard for aircraft operations by ICAO.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \78\ See, e.g., 14 CFR 61.83(c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    However, this proposed rule would create an exception for people 
who are unable to meet one of the English language requirements due to 
medical reasons, as is the case for other airman certificates. Such a 
person would still be eligible for a certificate; however, the FAA 
would be able to specify limitations on that person's small UAS 
operator certificate to account for the medical condition. For example, 
if an applicant is unable to communicate using speech then the FAA may 
impose a limitation that the operator may not conduct a small UAS 
operation requiring more than one person.
iii. Pilot Qualification
    The third proposed requirement to obtain an unmanned aircraft 
operator certificate with a small UAS rating would be to pass an 
initial aeronautical knowledge test. To ensure that a pilot is 
qualified to control an aircraft, the FAA generally requires that the 
applicant for a pilot certificate demonstrate the following three 
things: (1) Aeronautical knowledge; (2) flight proficiency (i.e. that 
the applicant has the requisite piloting skills); and (3) aeronautical 
experience.\79\ For the reasons stated below, the FAA has determined 
that a flight proficiency demonstration and aeronautical experience 
should not be required for issuance of an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating. Instead, the FAA proposes to 
require that applicants for this certificate simply demonstrate their 
aeronautical knowledge by passing an initial knowledge test and then 
passing a recurrent knowledge test every 24 months thereafter.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \79\ See, e.g., 14 CFR 61.105-61.109.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

a. Flight Proficiency and Aeronautical Experience
    As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the FAA currently requires 
applicants for a pilot certificate to demonstrate that they have the 
requisite flight proficiency and aeronautical experience to properly 
control the flight of an aircraft. These existing regulations are 
intended to ensure that an aircraft can take off safely and arrive back 
on the ground: (1) With everyone on board the aircraft unharmed; (2) 
without harming people on the ground; and (3) without interfering with 
other users of the NAS.
    The first consideration for requiring a flight-proficiency 
demonstration and aeronautical experience (to prevent possible harm to 
people on board the aircraft) does not apply to small UAS operations 
because if a small unmanned aircraft was to crash, there would be no 
one on board the aircraft to be harmed by that crash. The second 
consideration for these requirements (to prevent harm to people on the 
ground) is addressed by the operating requirements of this rule, which 
limit the operation of the small unmanned aircraft to a confined area 
and require the operator to ensure that the aircraft will pose no 
hazard to people on the ground if there is a loss of positive control. 
An operator does not necessarily need special operating skills or 
aeronautical experience to ensure that the aircraft will not pose a 
hazard to people on the ground. For example, if an operator plans to 
fly the small unmanned aircraft in a residential area, the operator 
could approach the people who live in that area prior to the operation, 
inform them of the details of the operation, and ask them to either 
stay out of the area or stay indoors during the operation. Doing this 
would ensure the safety of people on the ground but would not require 
the use of special operating skills or aeronautical experience.
    The third consideration for requiring a flight-proficiency 
demonstration and aeronautical experience (to avoid interference with 
other users of the NAS) is mitigated by the fact that a small unmanned 
aircraft is generally: (1) Relatively easy to control; (2) highly 
maneuverable; and (3) much easier to terminate flight than a manned 
aircraft. Specifically, the control station for a small UAS is 
typically less complex than the interface used to control the flight of 
a manned aircraft. Many small UAS control stations currently consist of 
a basic two-joystick interface where one joystick controls the 
aircraft's altitude and the other joystick controls the aircraft's 
speed and direction. Other control stations utilize basic programs, 
such as smart-phone or tablet applications, to control the small 
unmanned aircraft. These programs are generally easy to learn and 
utilize. By contrast, the flight deck interface used to control a 
manned aircraft requires coordinated use of flight control inputs, 
interpretation of aircraft instrumentation, and onboard equipment 
operation. Some of this equipment includes communication and 
sophisticated navigation equipment. A manned-aircraft pilot must learn 
to properly use all of these flight-deck-interface components in order 
to control the flight of the manned aircraft.
    In addition, because a small unmanned aircraft is highly 
maneuverable and easy to land, an operator who finds the small unmanned 
aircraft to be difficult to control would still be able to easily land 
the aircraft. For instance, in the two-joystick control station example 
provided above, the operator could land a small unmanned rotorcraft 
simply by pressing the altitude joystick down until the rotorcraft 
descends to the ground. By contrast, a manned aircraft pilot would need 
to go through a significantly more complex process that includes 
adjusting aircraft attitude with flight controls, reducing engine 
power, and scanning for other traffic, in order to land the aircraft on 
the ground after takeoff.
    There are two additional considerations for not requiring a flight 
proficiency demonstration or aeronautical experience for small UAS 
operators. First, unlike the pilot of a manned aircraft, the small UAS 
operator has the option to sacrifice the small unmanned aircraft in 
response to an emergency. Second, as discussed previously, proposed 
Sec. Sec.  107.19(b) and 107.39 would require the operator to control 
the confined area of operation in order to ensure that the small 
unmanned aircraft will not pose a hazard to people on the ground in an 
emergency situation. Other operating rules proposed in this NPRM, such 
as the prohibition on operating within restricted areas without 
permission, the requirement to give way to manned aircraft, and the 500 
feet AGL height limitation, would also mitigate the risk that a small 
unmanned aircraft interferes with other users of the NAS or poses a 
hazard to people on the ground.
    Because the considerations underlying the current flight 
proficiency demonstration and aeronautical experience requirements 
have, at best, a limited applicability to small UAS operations that 
would be subject to this proposed rule, the FAA proposes not to require 
that applicants for an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a 
small UAS rating demonstrate flight proficiency or aeronautical 
experience. The FAA invites comments on whether these applicants should 
be required to demonstrate flight proficiency and/or aeronautical 
experience. If so, what flight proficiency and/or aeronautical 
experience requirements should the FAA impose? The FAA also invites 
comments as to the costs and benefits of imposing these requirements.
b. Initial Aeronautical Knowledge Test
    Turning to the remaining component of airman certification 
(aeronautical knowledge), the FAA proposes to require that applicants 
for an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating 
pass an initial knowledge test to demonstrate that they have

[[Page 9569]]

sufficient aeronautical knowledge to safely operate a small UAS. The 
FAA proposes a knowledge test rather than a required training course in 
order to provide applicants with flexibility as to the method that they 
use to acquire aeronautical knowledge. For example, some individuals 
who wish to become small UAS operators may also hold a pilot 
certificate, and those individuals would already have acquired 
extensive aeronautical knowledge in order to obtain a pilot 
certificate. Other individuals may be able to acquire the necessary 
knowledge through self-study. Still other individuals may choose to use 
a commercial training course designed to provide them with the 
knowledge necessary to pass the initial knowledge test. In any case, 
passage of a knowledge test would ensure that the applicant has 
demonstrated the aeronautical knowledge necessary to safely operate a 
small UAS regardless of how the applicant happened to acquire that 
knowledge. The FAA invites comments as to whether other requirements, 
such as passage of an FAA-approved training course, should be imposed 
either instead of or in addition to the proposed knowledge test.
c. Areas of Knowledge Tested on the Initial Knowledge Test
    This proposed initial knowledge test would test the following areas 
of knowledge. First, the knowledge test would test whether the 
applicant knows the regulations applicable to small UAS operations. By 
testing the applicant's knowledge of the applicable regulations, the 
proposed initial knowledge test would ensure that the applicant 
understands what those regulations require and does not violate them 
through ignorance.
    Second, the initial knowledge test would test whether the applicant 
understands how to determine the classification of specific airspace 
and what the requirements are for operating in that airspace. To comply 
with the proposed airspace operating requirements, a small UAS operator 
would need to know how to determine the classification of the airspace 
in which he or she would like to operate.
    Third, the initial knowledge test would test whether the applicant 
understands flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft 
operations. The proposed initial knowledge test would test whether the 
applicant knows how to determine which areas are prohibited, 
restricted, or subject to a TFR in order to comply with the proposed 
flight restrictions in Sec. Sec.  107.45 and 107.47.
    Fourth, the initial knowledge test would test whether the applicant 
understands how to clear an obstacle during flight. As discussed 
previously, proposed Sec.  107.37(b) prohibits a person from creating a 
collision hazard with, among other things, a ground structure. The 
proposed initial knowledge test would test whether the applicant 
understands what types of small unmanned aircraft maneuvers would 
create a collision hazard with a ground structure.
    Fifth, the initial knowledge test would test whether the applicant 
understands the effects of weather and micrometeorology (weather on a 
localized and small scale) on small unmanned aircraft operation. 
Knowledge of weather is necessary for safe operation of a small 
unmanned aircraft because, due to the light weight of the small 
unmanned aircraft, weather could have a significant impact on the 
flight of that aircraft. For example, space around buildings, 
smokestacks and trees, which is safe during clear weather, could easily 
become hazardous in a windy situation. Accordingly, the proposed 
initial knowledge test would test whether an applicant understands the 
effect that different types of weather have on small unmanned aircraft 
performance and how to react to that weather. The proposed knowledge 
test would also test whether an applicant has knowledge of official 
sources that he or she can use to obtain weather information and 
predictions in order to plan the operation of the small UAS.
    Sixth, the proposed knowledge test would test whether an applicant 
understands how to calculate the weight and balance of the small 
unmanned aircraft to determine impacts on performance. In order to 
operate safely, operators need knowledge and understanding of some 
fundamental aircraft performance issues, which include load balancing 
and weight distribution as well as available power for the operation.
    Seventh, the operator of a small UAS may be presented with an 
emergency situation during an operation. Accordingly, the proposed 
initial knowledge test would test whether the applicant understands how 
to properly respond to an emergency.
    Eighth, the proposed initial knowledge test would test the 
applicant's understanding of aeronautical decision-making/judgment and 
crew resource management. Even though this proposed rule would limit 
the flight of a small unmanned aircraft to operations at or below 500 
feet AGL, some manned aircraft will still operate in the same airspace 
as the small unmanned aircraft. Accordingly, the small UAS operator 
would need to understand the aeronautical decision-making and judgment 
that manned-aircraft pilots engage in so that he or she can anticipate 
how the manned aircraft will react to the small unmanned aircraft. The 
small UAS operator would also need to understand how to function in a 
team environment (this is known as crew resource management) because 
this proposed rule would permit the use of visual observers to assist 
the small UAS operator and would place the operator in charge of those 
observers.
    Ninth, the proposed initial knowledge test would test the 
applicant's understanding of airport operations and radio communication 
procedures, which would include standard terminology. While this 
proposed rule would limit small UAS operations in the vicinity of an 
airport, there are some instances where these operations would be 
permitted. For example, this proposed rule would allow a small unmanned 
aircraft to operate in Class B, C, or D airspace if the operator 
obtains prior ATC authorization. In order to operate safely near an 
airport, the operator would need to have knowledge of airport 
operations so that the small unmanned aircraft does not interfere with 
those operations. The operator would also need to have knowledge of 
radio communication procedures so that the operator can communicate 
with ATC.
    Lastly, the proposed initial knowledge test would test whether the 
applicant understands the physiological effects of drugs and alcohol. 
Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can significantly 
reduce an individual's cognitive ability to process and determine what 
is happening around him or her. Accordingly, an operator needs to 
understand how drugs and alcohol can impact his or her ability to 
safely operate the small UAS.
    The FAA invites comments on the proposed areas of knowledge to be 
tested on the initial knowledge test. The FAA also invites comments as 
to whether the initial knowledge test should test any other areas of 
knowledge. If so, what additional areas of knowledge should be tested? 
What would be the costs and benefits of testing these other areas of 
knowledge?
d. Administration of the Initial Knowledge Test
    Knowledge tests currently administered to prospective pilots under 
14 CFR part 61 are created by the FAA and administered by FAA-approved 
knowledge testing centers. A knowledge testing center is a private

[[Page 9570]]

entity that has received FAA approval to administer airman knowledge 
tests. These centers are all certificated and regularly evaluated to 
ensure that the testing center meets FAA certification requirements. 
There are currently about 650 knowledge testing center spread 
throughout the country. The FAA proposes to apply its existing 
knowledge development and administration framework to knowledge tests 
that would be administered to prospective small UAS operators. Under 
this framework, the initial knowledge test would be created by the FAA 
and administered by an FAA-approved knowledge testing center. Just as 
it does now, the FAA will specify the minimum grade necessary to pass 
the knowledge test,\80\ and applicants who take the test will be issued 
an airman knowledge test report showing the results of the knowledge 
test.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \80\ See 14 CFR 61.35(b).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To ensure that the knowledge test is properly administered, this 
proposed rule would also impose the following requirements. First, 
proposed Sec.  107.69 would prohibit an applicant from cheating or 
engaging in unauthorized conduct during a knowledge test. This would 
include: (1) Copying or intentionally removing a knowledge test; (2) 
giving a copy of a knowledge test to another applicant or receiving a 
copy of the knowledge test from another applicant; (3) giving or 
receiving unauthorized assistance while the knowledge test is being 
administered; (4) taking any part of a knowledge test on behalf of 
another person; (5) being represented by or representing another person 
for a knowledge test; and (6) using any material not specifically 
authorized by the FAA while taking a knowledge test. Cheating or 
engaging in unauthorized conduct during a knowledge test in violation 
of proposed Sec.  107.69 would be grounds for suspending or revoking 
the certificate or denying an application for a certificate. In 
addition, a person who engages in unauthorized conduct would be 
prohibited from applying for a certificate or taking a knowledge test 
for a period of one year after the date of the unauthorized conduct.
    Second, to ensure that the person taking the knowledge test is 
correctly identified, proposed Sec.  107.67 would require an applicant 
for a knowledge test to have proper identification at the time of the 
application. To ensure correct identification, the applicant for an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate would have to have his or her 
identification verified in person just like any other applicant for an 
FAA-issued airman certificate. The proposed requirements for proper 
identification would be the same as the identification requirements 
currently imposed on applicants who wish to take a knowledge test.\81\ 
Specifically, an applicant's identification would need to include the 
applicant's: (1) Photograph; (2) signature; (3) date of birth, which 
shows the applicant meets or will meet the proposed age requirements 
for an operator certificate; and (4) the applicant's current 
residential address if the permanent mailing address is a post office 
box number.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \81\ The current knowledge-test identification requirements can 
be found at 14 CFR 61.35(a)(2).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Finally, proposed Sec.  107.71 would address circumstances in which 
an applicant wishes to retake a knowledge test after failure. To ensure 
that an applicant receives additional training after failing a 
knowledge test, the FAA currently requires an applicant who fails a 
knowledge test to receive additional training from a flight instructor 
and an endorsement from that instructor indicating that the instructor 
has determined that the applicant is now proficient to pass the 
test.\82\ However, as discussed previously, this proposed rule would 
not require any specific form of training or studying in order to pass 
a knowledge test. Accordingly, the FAA proposes to require that a 
person who fails a knowledge test wait 14 calendar days before retaking 
the knowledge test. This 14-day waiting period would provide sufficient 
time for an applicant who fails a knowledge test to obtain additional 
training of his or her choice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \82\ 14 CFR 61.49(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA also considered whether to offer an option for the 
knowledge test to be administered online. However, in examining this 
approach the FAA ultimately determined that there would be significant 
risk in the integrity of a knowledge test becoming compromised if that 
test was to be administered outside of a controlled environment. This 
could be accomplished through someone copying and circulating the test 
questions, using unauthorized materials to take the test, or even 
taking the test for another person. Using the identity of another 
person to take the knowledge test may also allow an applicant to 
manipulate the security vetting procedures that take place once the 
applicant's identity is verified.
    In addition, the FAA determined that it would be more difficult to 
safeguard the personally identifiable information (PII) of a test-taker 
that would be collected online rather than in-person at a knowledge 
testing center. Accordingly, the FAA has decided against proceeding 
with an online test-taking option. The FAA invites comments on whether 
the small UAS aeronautical knowledge test should have an option for 
online test-taking and, if so, what safeguards should be implemented to 
protect the integrity of the small UAS knowledge test, assure the FAA 
of the identity of the test taker, and protect the test-taker's PII 
that would be provided online. The FAA also invites comment on 
different UAS testing location options that might provide the lowest 
cost option for individuals, while protecting the integrity of the test 
and the information provided as part of the test-taking process.
e. Recurrent Aeronautical Knowledge Test
i. General Requirement and Administration of the Recurrent Knowledge 
Test
    The FAA also proposes to require small UAS operators to pass a 
recurrent aeronautical knowledge test after they receive their operator 
certificate. The FAA proposes this requirement because this proposed 
rule would not require small UAS operators to regularly conduct small 
UAS operations, and consequently, some operators may conduct small UAS 
operations infrequently and may not fully retain some of the knowledge 
that they acquired in order to pass the initial knowledge test. The FAA 
also notes that even operators who regularly conduct small UAS 
operations may not fully retain pieces of knowledge that they do not 
use during their regular operations. For example, a small UAS operator 
who conducts operations only in Class G airspace may not retain the 
knowledge that he or she needs ATC authorization in order to conduct 
operations in Class B, C, or D airspace. Some aeronautical knowledge 
that the small UAS operator learned for the initial knowledge test may 
also become outdated over time.
    Accordingly, the FAA proposes to require that the operator pass a 
recurrent knowledge test every 24 months. The FAA proposes 24 months as 
the appropriate recurrent testing frequency because that is the 
frequency of the recurrent flight review that pilots currently complete 
under 14 CFR 61.56. This requirement has been in place for 
approximately 40 years. Based on the FAA's experience with the existing 
24-month flight review cycle, a recurrent knowledge test that is given 
every 24 months would ensure that the small UAS operator properly 
maintains the pertinent aeronautical knowledge. The

[[Page 9571]]

FAA invites comments on this proposed requirement.
    The FAA also proposes that the recurrent aeronautical knowledge 
test be administered using the same framework as the initial 
aeronautical knowledge test. Specifically, under this proposed rule, 
the recurrent knowledge test would be created by the FAA and 
administered by FAA-approved knowledge testing centers. An applicant 
would be required to have proper identification in order to take the 
test, and he or she would be required to wait 14 days after failure 
before retaking the knowledge test. A certificate holder or applicant 
\83\ would also be prohibited from cheating or engaging in unauthorized 
conduct during the recurrent knowledge test.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \83\ As discussed in more detail further in the preamble, 
proposed Sec.  107.75 would allow military or former military UAS 
operator applicants to take the recurrent test instead of the 
initial test in order to obtain an FAA-issued unmanned aircraft 
operator certificate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Just as with the initial knowledge test, the FAA invites comments 
on whether the small UAS recurrent aeronautical knowledge test should 
have an option for online test-taking and, if so, what safeguards 
should be implemented to protect the integrity of the small UAS 
knowledge test, assure the FAA of the identity of the test taker, and 
protect the test-taker's PII that would be provided online.
ii. Recurrent Test Areas of Knowledge
    Under this proposed rule, the recurrent knowledge test would test 
the following areas of knowledge. First, the knowledge test would test 
the operator's knowledge of the regulations that govern small UAS 
operation to ensure that his or her knowledge is up to date regarding 
all aspects of small UAS operations permitted under the certificate, as 
the operator may not encounter all of these aspects in his or her 
regular operation. In the example provided earlier, an operator who 
regularly conducts small UAS operations in Class G airspace may not 
retain the knowledge concerning regulations governing operation in 
other classes of airspace.
    Second, the recurrent knowledge test would test the operator's 
knowledge of airspace classification and operating requirements, 
obstacle clearance requirements, and flight restrictions. This is 
because: (1) Airspace that the operator is familiar with could become 
reclassified over time; (2) the location of existing flight 
restrictions could change over time; (3) new ground-based obstacles 
could be created as a result of new construction; and (4) some 
operators may not regularly encounter these issues in their regular 
operations.
    Third, the recurrent knowledge test would ensure that the operator 
has the latest knowledge concerning sources of weather and airport 
operations. This is because the official sources of weather could 
change over time. Market turnover could also affect a change in airport 
operations as new airports are built and old airports are demolished or 
repurposed. The FAA notes that airports can also change their 
operations in response to changes in operating environment by, for 
example, changing the approaches that manned aircraft use to line up 
for a landing. The recurrent knowledge test would ensure that the small 
UAS operator is familiar with the latest sources of weather and the 
latest information concerning airport operations.
    Fourth, the recurrent knowledge test would test the operator's 
knowledge of emergency procedures, crew resource management, and 
aeronautical decision-making/judgment. A small UAS operator may not 
encounter any of these situations over a 24-month operating period 
because: (1) An emergency situation may not present itself; (2) the 
operator may be involved in operations that do not use visual 
observers; and (3) the operator may be involved in operations that do 
not take place in the vicinity of any manned aircraft. Accordingly, 
including these areas of knowledge on the recurrent knowledge test 
would ensure that the operator retains knowledge on these areas even if 
he or she does not regularly encounter them in his or her small UAS 
operations.
iv. Issuance of an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate with Small 
UAS Rating
    Proposed Sec.  107.63 specifies that the FAA will issue the 
certificate to an airman eligible under Sec.  107.61 if the airman 
submits an application including an airman knowledge test report 
showing that he or she passed the initial aeronautical knowledge test 
required for the certificate. The certificate will not have an 
expiration date, and once issued, it will remain valid until 
surrendered, suspended, or revoked. The FAA invites comments as to 
whether this certificate should expire after a certain period of time. 
If so, when should the certificate expire?
    The method of submission of the application is discussed further in 
section III.E.5.i of this preamble. The FAA notes that, as discussed in 
that section, all applicants for an airman certificate will be vetted 
by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) pursuant to 49 
U.S.C. 46111 to determine whether they pose a security threat. An 
applicant will not be issued an unmanned aircraft operator certificate 
until the TSA determines that the applicant will not pose a security 
threat.
v. Not Requiring an Airman Medical Certificate
    The FAA also considered whether to require an applicant seeking an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating to 
obtain an airman medical certificate as part of the application 
process. With certain exceptions, under 14 CFR part 61, the FAA 
currently requires an airman medical certificate for a student pilot 
certificate, a recreational pilot certificate, a private pilot 
certificate, a commercial pilot certificate, and an airline transport 
pilot certificate.\84\ Flight instructors are also required to have a 
valid medical certificate when required to act as pilot in command.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \84\ 14 CFR 61.23(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The primary reason for medical certification is to determine if the 
airman has a medical condition that is likely to manifest as subtle or 
sudden incapacitation that could cause a pilot to lose positive control 
of the aircraft, or impair the pilots ability to ``see and avoid.''
    The FAA has determined that traditional FAA medical certification 
may not be warranted for small UAS operators subject to this proposed 
rule mainly because small UAS operators and visual observers are 
operating within a ``confined area of operation,'' and subject to other 
operational limitations, discussed previously in this preamble. This is 
because the proposed visual-line-of-sight requirement for the operator 
and/or visual observer to be able to see the aircraft's direction and 
attitude of flight in the proposed rule is preferable to a vision 
standard. Even with normal vision it is foreseeable that a small 
unmanned aircraft may be so small that the operational space must be 
reduced to meet the operational requirements proposed in this rule. As 
such, prescriptive medical standards may not be as critical as they are 
for individuals exercising pilot privileges and therefore are not 
proposed under this action.
    Rather, the FAA is proposing that operators self-certify, at the 
time of their airman application, that they do not have a medical 
condition that could interfere with the safe operation of a small UAS. 
As proposed in Sec.  107.61(d), an applicant for an unmanned aircraft 
operator certificate with a small UAS

[[Page 9572]]

rating would be ineligible for the certificate if he or she knows or 
has reason to know of any physical or mental condition that would 
interfere with the safe operation of a small UAS. The FAA also 
proposes, in Sec.  107.63(a), that the applicant be required to make a 
certification to that effect. Both of these proposed requirements are 
similar to the regulatory provision of Sec.  61.53(b), which prohibits 
operations during medical deficiency for individuals conducting 
operations that do not require a medical certificate. FAA also 
considered proposing to require a medical certificate for a visual 
observer, but decided not to propose this requirement for the same 
reason a medical certificate for an operator is not being proposed. The 
FAA, however, does invite public comment as to whether an FAA medical 
certificate should be required. The FAA also invites comments as to the 
costs and benefits of requiring an airman medical certificate for an 
operator or visual observer.
4. Military Equivalency
    This proposed rule would allow pilots with military experience 
operating unmanned aircraft to take the recurrent knowledge test in 
lieu of the initial knowledge test in order to be eligible for an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating. The 
U.S. Armed Forces use many types and sizes of UAS in combat and non-
combat operations, both in the United States and abroad, and have done 
so for many years. During that time, many servicemen and women have 
been trained to operate UAS. The FAA has established special rules for 
current or former military pilots allowing them to be issued FAA pilot 
certificates based on their military flight experience and passing a 
military knowledge check.\85\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \85\ See 14 CFR 61.73.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Accordingly, the FAA is proposing to allow current or former 
military operators of unmanned aircraft to take a more limited 
recurrent aeronautical knowledge test rather than the initial 
aeronautical knowledge test to obtain an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating. They may not rely on that 
experience if they were subject to certain disciplinary action 
described in Sec.  107.75(a).
    The FAA also considered whether to allow individuals who have been 
conducting UAS operations under a COA as a non-military UAS operator to 
take a recurrent test instead of an initial test in order to obtain an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating. 
However, the FAA decided not to include this provision in the proposed 
rule because: (1) There is no formally recognized recordation system 
for non-military COA pilots as there is for military pilots; and (2) 
non-military COA pilots are currently subject to different requirements 
than military COA pilots for operations above 400 feet AGL. The FAA 
invites comments on whether non-military COA pilots should be permitted 
to take the recurrent knowledge test instead of the initial knowledge 
test in order to obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate.
5. Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate: Denial, Revocation, 
Suspension, Amendment, and Surrender
    This rule would establish specific instances for when an unmanned 
aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating can be denied, 
revoked, suspended, amended, or surrendered. This rule would allow the 
FAA to deny, suspend, or revoke the certificate for reasons including 
security risk posed by the applicant, drug or alcohol offenses, refusal 
to submit to an alcohol test or furnish the results. Certificate 
holders would also be able to voluntarily surrender certificates.
i. Transportation Security Administration Vetting and Positive 
Identification
    The FAA will deny an application for a certificate or take 
certificate action if the TSA determines that a person poses a security 
threat. Specifically, under 49 U.S.C. 46111, once an unmanned aircraft 
operator certificate application is received, the FAA will verify 
compliance and the accuracy of the application and provide the 
applicant's information to TSA for security vetting prior to 
certificate issuance. Under this proposed rule, the FAA would transmit 
a student pilot's biographic information for security vetting to TSA 
and issue an unmanned aircraft operator certificate only after 
receiving a successful response from TSA. However, if the TSA 
determines that an airman certificate applicant poses a security risk, 
section 46111 requires the FAA to deny the application for a 
certificate or amend, modify, suspend, or revoke (as appropriate) any 
part of an airman certificate based on the TSA's security findings.
    The FAA may issue certificates to individuals who have first 
successfully completed a security threat assessment (STA) conducted by 
the TSA.\86\ TSA would conduct STAs of applicants for a UAS certificate 
and notify the applicant and/or the FAA when the STA is complete. The 
STA would consist of a check of intelligence-related databases, 
including Interpol and international databases, terrorist watch lists, 
and other sources relevant to determining whether an individual poses 
or may pose a threat to transportation security, and that confirm the 
individual's identity. A successful STA is generally valid for five 
years, but may be revoked during that time if TSA's recurrent vetting 
reveals that the individual poses or may pose a security threat.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \86\ See 49 U.S.C. 44903(j)(2)(D).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Congress requires TSA to recover the costs of vetting and 
credentialing services through user fees.\87\ The fees for vetting UAS 
certificate applicants would cover TSA's costs for enrolling, 
processing, and replying to the application, as well as the costs of 
conducting the intelligence-related checks themselves. TSA is 
developing a process, through rulemaking, by which TSA's vetting fees 
can be collected from applicants during the application process, as TSA 
currently does in other vetting and credentialing programs, and used to 
cover the cost of the security screening. Thus, while this rulemaking 
projects that these costs are currently governmental costs, these costs 
would be passed on to individuals in the future.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \87\ See 6 U.S.C. 469.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As a result of the processes that go into the issuance of an airman 
certificate, the FAA estimates that it could take about 6 to 8 weeks 
after receipt of an application for the FAA to issue an applicant an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating. The FAA 
invites comments with suggestions for how this period could be reduced. 
The FAA also notes that the TSA will continue to examine certificate 
holders after FAA issuance of a certificate.
    In addition, in order for the TSA to be able to make the security 
assessments specified in 49 U.S.C. 46111, the agency must be sure of 
the identity of the person that it is assessing. Otherwise, a person 
who poses a security threat could evade TSA scrutiny simply by using 
someone else's identity. To address this issue, the FAA currently 
requires all applicants for a pilot certificate to apply in person and 
present positive identification at the time of application.\88\ The 
identification must include an official photograph of the applicant, 
the applicant's signature, and the applicant's residential address,

[[Page 9573]]

if different from the mailing address.\89\ Acceptable methods of 
identification currently include, but are not limited to, U.S. driver's 
licenses, government identification cards, and passports.\90\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \88\ FAA Order 8900.1, vol. 5, ch. 1, sec. 3, para. 5-54; FAA 
Order 8900.2, ch. 7, sec. 2, para. 25, pg. 7-36.
    \89\ Id.
    \90\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because positive identification of the applicant is necessary for 
TSA to be able to determine whether the applicant poses a security 
threat, this proposed rule would require an applicant for a small 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating to 
submit the application to a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), a 
designated pilot examiner (DPE), an airman certification representative 
(ACR) for a pilot school, a certificated flight instructor (CFI), or 
other persons authorized by the Administrator. The person accepting the 
application submission would be required to verify that the identity of 
the applicant matches the identity that is provided on the application.
    This proposed rule would allow a DPE, an ACR for a pilot school, or 
a CFI to accept an application and verify the identity of the applicant 
because to do otherwise would severely limit the number of locations 
where an applicant for a certificate could submit his or her 
application. This is because of the limited number of FSDOs and 
qualified personnel in each FSDO needed to accept the anticipated 
number of application submissions each year. There are only 81 FDSOs in 
the United States, which are only open 5 days per week (excluding 
Federal holidays). However, there are an approximate combined total of 
100,000 DPEs, ACRs, and CFIs potentially available to accept an 
application 7 days per week. Though there is no fee required to submit 
an application to a FSDO, there may be a nominal processing fee charged 
by the authorized FAA representative, none of which goes to the FAA. 
The FAA believes that this nominal fee (estimated average of $50), if 
charged by the FAA representative, would offset the average cost of 
travelling to a FSDO as well as the delay in submitting the application 
(measured possibly in weeks) due to having to make an appointment with 
the FSDO during the work week.
    DPEs represent the FAA, and are already required to positively 
identify an applicant for certification when the applicant takes the 
practical test for the certificate. ACRs are also currently required to 
positively identify the student/applicant for airman certification as 
part of the responsibility of the part 141 flight school with which the 
ACR is affiliated.
    CFIs are currently required to verify a pilot-certificate 
applicant's identity pursuant to TSA regulations codified at 49 CFR 
1552.3(h)(1). That section requires a flight school \91\ to endorse a 
pilot logbook verifying that a student is a U.S. citizen and presented 
identification prior to flight training, which likely would be at the 
same time that a person would apply for a student pilot certificate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \91\ TSA defines a flight school as any pilot school, flight 
training center, air carrier training facility, or flight instructor 
certificated under 14 CFR parts 61, 121, 135, 141, or 142.49 CFR 
1552.1(b).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because DPEs, ACRs, and CFIs already have experience verifying an 
applicant's identity, this proposed rule would allow these persons to 
accept an application for an unmanned aircraft operator certificate 
with a small UAS rating and verify the identity of the applicant. 
Sections 61.193, 61.413, and 183.23 would be revised accordingly.
    The FAA has also considered allowing knowledge testing centers to 
verify an applicant's identity and accept an application for an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate. However, the FAA is proposing 
to limit positive identification and acceptance of an application to 
those persons who are either: (1) Already authorized to accept and sign 
airman applications (FAA personnel, DPEs, and ACRs); or (2) are already 
required to verify identity under the TSA's regulations (CFIs). 
Knowledge testing centers do not fit into either of these categories, 
and thus, this proposed rule would not allow them to accept airman 
applications. The FAA invites comments on whether knowledge testing 
centers should be allowed to accept airman applications.
ii. Drugs and Alcohol Violations
    Proposed Sec.  107.57 would authorize the FAA to deny a certificate 
application or take other certificate action for violations of Federal 
or State drug laws. Certificates could also be denied, suspended or 
revoked for committing an act prohibited by Sec.  91.17 or Sec.  
91.19--which are discussed in section III.D.6 of this document. 
Specifically, proposed Sec.  107.59 specifies that certificate action 
could be taken for: (1) Failure to submit for a blood alcohol test or 
to release test results to the FAA as required by Sec.  91.17; or (2) 
carriage of illegal drugs in violation of Sec.  91.19. This proposal 
mirrors current regulations that apply to all airman certificates.\92\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \92\ See 14 CFR 61.15(a) and (b), 63.12, and 65.12.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

iii. Change of Name
    The FAA recognizes that individuals who hold airman certificates 
may change their names. Accordingly, the regulations governing pilot 
certificates currently issued under part 61 allow the holder of a pilot 
certificate to change the name on a certificate by submitting 
appropriate paperwork to the FAA.\93\ This proposed rule would provide 
operators with the same opportunity in Sec.  107.77(a). Specifically, 
proposed Sec.  107.77(a) would allow a person holding an unmanned 
aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating to change the 
name on the certificate by submitting a name-change application to the 
FAA accompanied by the applicant's: (1) Operator certificate; and (2) a 
copy of the marriage license, court order, or other document verifying 
the name change. After reviewing these documents, the FAA would return 
them to the applicant.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \93\ 14 CFR 61.25.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

iv. Change of Address
    To ensure that the FAA has an airman certificate holder's proper 
contact information, part 61 currently requires the holder of a pilot, 
flight instructor, or ground instructor airman certificate who has made 
a change in permanent mailing address to notify the FAA within 30 days 
of making the address change.\94\ Failure to do so prohibits the 
certificate holder from exercising the privileges of the airman 
certificate until he or she has notified the FAA of the changed 
address.\95\ Because this regulatory provision helps ensure that the 
FAA is able to contact airman certificate holders, proposed Sec.  
107.77(c) would extend the existing change-of-mailing-address 
requirement to holders of an unmanned aircraft operator certificate 
with a small UAS rating.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \94\ 14 CFR 61.60.
    \95\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

v. Voluntary Surrender of Certificate
    The FAA also recognizes that some individuals who obtain an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating may 
decide to stop serving as a small UAS operator. Accordingly, proposed 
Sec.  107.79 would allow a holder of an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate to voluntarily surrender it to the FAA for cancellation. 
However, the FAA emphasizes that cancelling the operator certificate 
pursuant to Sec.  107.79 would mean that the certificate no longer 
exists, and the individual who surrendered the certificate would need 
to again go through the entire certification process (including passing 
the initial aeronautical knowledge test) if he/she subsequently changes 
his/her mind. Accordingly, proposed Sec.  107.79(b) would require the 
individual surrendering the certificate to include

[[Page 9574]]

the following signed statement (or an equivalent) in his or her 
cancellation request:

    I voluntarily surrender my unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating for cancellation. This request 
is made for my own reasons with full knowledge that my certificate 
will not be reissued to me unless I again complete the requirements 
specified in Sec. Sec.  107.61 and 107.63.

F. Registration

    As mentioned earlier, the FAA's statute prohibits a person from 
operating a civil aircraft that is not registered,\96\ and this 
proposed rule would codify this statutory requirement. The registration 
of aircraft and the assignment of an identifying registration number to 
be displayed on the aircraft are primary foundation blocks in the 
regulatory structures that provide for safe and orderly aircraft 
activity within the NAS. The registration number provides a quick call-
sign for communications between air traffic control and aircraft in 
flight. It also provides a link to information about the aircraft and 
the owner responsible for its operations. This information may assist 
the FAA and law enforcement agencies to respond to inappropriate 
behavior, to share safety information, respond to emergency situations, 
and populate data fields for studies that track trends and help shape 
future management decisions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \96\ 49 U.S.C. 44101(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Part 47 of 14 CFR currently governs the registration process 
applicable to aircraft that are not registered under the laws of a 
foreign country and that meet one of the following ownership criteria:
     The aircraft is owned by a citizen of the United States;
     The aircraft is owned by a permanent resident of the 
United States;
     The aircraft is owned by a corporation that is not a 
citizen of the United States, but that is organized and doing business 
under U.S. Federal or State law and the aircraft is based and primarily 
used in the United States; or
     The aircraft is owned by the United States government or a 
state or local governmental entity.\97\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \97\ 14 CFR 47.3. This limitation on the applicability of part 
47 stems from a statute (49 U.S.C. 44103), which allows the FAA to 
only register aircraft that meet the above criteria.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This proposed rule would not apply to UAS operations that have 
certain international ownership components. This would exclude any 
aircraft whose ownership fails to meet the criteria for registration 
under part 47. Because this proposed rule would apply only to aircraft 
that are eligible for registration under part 47, the FAA proposes to 
satisfy the statutory aircraft-registration requirement by requiring 
all small unmanned aircraft subject to this proposed rule to be 
registered pursuant to the existing registration process of part 47.
    The FAA also proposes to make a single change to part 47 to 
accommodate small unmanned aircraft registration. Specifically, small 
unmanned aircraft, which can easily be obtained for as low as several 
hundred dollars, are significantly smaller assets than manned aircraft, 
which can cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Because 
small unmanned aircraft are small assets, the FAA proposes to exempt 
small unmanned aircraft which have not previously been registered 
anywhere from the regulatory requirements of Sec.  47.15, which were 
designed to apply to large-asset manned aircraft.
    Thus, under this proposed rule, a small unmanned aircraft would 
generally be registered as follows. The aircraft's owner would send the 
following items to the FAA: (1) An Aircraft Registration Application 
providing information about the aircraft and contact information for 
the aircraft owner; (2) evidence of ownership (such as a bill of sale); 
and (3) the $5.00 registration fee. If the application and supporting 
materials satisfy the criteria of part 47, the FAA would then assign a 
registration number (``N'' number) to the aircraft and issue a 
Certificate of Aircraft Registration to the applicant. If the aircraft 
was last previously registered in the U.S., once the new application 
has been sent to the Registry, its second copy (pink copy) may be used 
to operate the aircraft for a reasonable time while the application is 
being processed and the new certificate issued.
    The FAA also notes that a Certificate of Aircraft Registration 
issued under part 47 currently expires every three years.\98\ This is 
because ownership of the aircraft may change hands or the aircraft 
owner could move after registering. A requirement to periodically 
reregister the aircraft increases the likelihood that the FAA's 
registration database contains the latest information concerning each 
registered aircraft. The aircraft owner can easily reregister the 
aircraft by submitting to the FAA: (1) An application for registration 
renewal containing updated information about the aircraft and its 
owner; and (2) a $5.00 reregistration fee.\99\ Because the current 
three-year registration expiration provision in part 47 would increase 
the likelihood that the FAA's registration database contains the latest 
information on small unmanned aircraft and their owners, the FAA 
proposes to retain this requirement for small unmanned aircraft 
registration.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \98\ See 14 CFR 47.40.
    \99\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, the FAA notes that because most manned aircraft are 
type-certificated, the FAA currently possesses a significant amount of 
information about each aircraft type (as a result of the type-
certification process) that it can use to supplement information in an 
individual registration application. This results in the current 
registration requirements of part 47 asking for a minimal amount of 
information for most manned aircraft.
    However, small unmanned aircraft, which would not be type-
certificated under this proposed rule, come in a variety of forms, many 
of which are not currently standardized. This situation is likely to 
continue as the small UAS market will continue broad innovation until 
designs emerge that are well balanced against the tasks found to be 
best served by this segment of aviation. To enable the FAA to both 
identify particular aircraft against a stated description as well as to 
identify and share safety related information as it develops, the FAA 
invites comments as to whether small unmanned aircraft owners should be 
required to provide additional information during the registration 
process. The FAA anticipates that the additional information 
requirement imposed on small unmanned aircraft could be similar to the 
requirements imposed on amateur-built aircraft under 14 CFR 47.33(c), 
as amateur aircraft pose the same lack-of-standardization issues as a 
small UAS.

G. Marking

1. Display of Registration Number
    Subpart C of 14 CFR part 45 currently requires an aircraft to 
display its registration number on the aircraft. This requirement is 
intended to allow aircraft identification for oversight purposes. The 
number must generally be: (1) Painted on the aircraft or affixed to the 
aircraft by some other permanent means; (2) have no ornamentation; (3) 
contrast in color with the background; and (4) be legible.\100\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \100\ 14 CFR 45.21(c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To increase the likelihood of aircraft identification during 
flight, part 45, Subpart C specifies highly visible surfaces on the 
aircraft where the aircraft registration number must be displayed. 
Those surfaces differ based on the type of aircraft that is used. For

[[Page 9575]]

example, a rotorcraft is required to display its registration number 
horizontally on the fuselage, boom or tail.\101\ Conversely, a fixed 
wing unmanned aircraft is generally required to display its 
registration number on either the vertical tail surfaces or the sides 
of its fuselage.\102\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \101\ 14 CFR 45.27(a). Section 45.27(a) also allows the number 
to be displayed on both surfaces of the cabin, but an unmanned 
aircraft will not have a cabin.
    \102\ 14 CFR 45.25(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To ensure maximum visibility, Subpart C also specifies a minimum 
size for the registration number display.\103\ For fixed-wing aircraft 
and rotorcraft, the registration number display must generally be at 
least 12 inches high.\104\ Characters in the display must also be: (1) 
Generally two thirds as wide as they are high; (2) formed by solid 
lines that are one-sixth as thick as the character is high; and (3) 
spaced out so that the space between the characters is at least one-
fourth of the character width.\105\ Because some aircraft subject to 
part 45 may be small, Sec.  45.29(f) allows aircraft that are too small 
to comply with the size requirements to display the registration number 
on the aircraft in as large a manner as practicable.\106\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \103\ 14 CFR 45.29(f).
    \104\ 14 CFR 45.29(b)(1) and (3).
    \105\ 14 CFR 45.29(c)-(e).
    \106\ See 14 CFR 45.29(f).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This proposed rule would require a small unmanned aircraft to 
display its registration number in the manner specified in Subpart C of 
part 45. For unmanned aircraft that are not too small to comply with 
the display-size requirements discussed above, this proposed rule would 
require compliance with all of those requirements. This is because 
small unmanned aircraft present the same identification and oversight 
concerns as manned aircraft. For example, if a bystander was to observe 
a small unmanned aircraft being flown in a dangerous manner, the FAA 
would be able to determine the aircraft's owner if the bystander is 
able to see the aircraft's registration number. Because the current 
requirements in Subpart C of part 45 are intended to provide for the 
maximum visibility of an aircraft's registration number, compliance 
with those requirements would greatly increase the probability of a 
small unmanned aircraft being identified during a small UAS operation.
    The FAA acknowledges that some small unmanned aircraft may be too 
small to comply with the minimum-display-size requirements of part 45. 
However, as mentioned previously, part 45 already contains a provision, 
Sec.  45.29(f), that would address this issue by allowing the too-small 
aircraft to simply display its registration number in as large a manner 
as practicable. Accordingly, the size of the small unmanned aircraft 
would not be a barrier to compliance with the provisions of Subpart C 
of part 45.
    The FAA also notes that, as discussed above, the registration-
display-location requirements of part 45, Subpart C are specific to 
different types of aircraft.\107\ Under this proposed rule, the FAA 
would expect small unmanned aircraft to comply with the display-
location provisions that apply to the specific type of small unmanned 
aircraft being used. For example, rotorcraft small unmanned aircraft 
would be expected to comply with the display-location provisions that 
are applicable to rotorcraft. Conversely, fixed-wing small unmanned 
aircraft would be expected to comply with the provisions that are 
applicable to fixed-wing aircraft.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \107\ See, e.g., 14 CFR 45.25(a) and 45.27(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA invites comments on whether a small unmanned aircraft 
should be required to display its registration number in accordance 
with Subpart C of part 45. If compliance with Subpart C should not be 
required, what standard should the FAA impose for how a small unmanned 
aircraft displays its registration number in order to fulfill its 
safety oversight obligation regarding small unmanned aircraft 
operations? The FAA invites comments with supporting documentation on 
this issue.
2. Marking of Products and Articles
    The FAA also considered requiring small unmanned aircraft to comply 
with the marking of products and articles requirement of Subpart B of 
part 45. This subpart requires the manufacturer of an aircraft or 
aircraft component to attach a fireproof identification plate to the 
aircraft and/or component containing the manufacturer's name, model 
designation, serial number, and, if applicable, the type certificate. 
The purpose of these requirements is to allow the FAA to trace the 
pertinent aircraft and/or aircraft parts back to the manufacturer if an 
issue arises with the aircraft and/or aircraft parts.
    The FAA does not believe that requiring small unmanned aircraft 
manufacturers to comply with the requirements of Subpart B of part 45 
would be cost-justified. Under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, the 
FAA may ``propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned 
determination that [the regulation's] benefits justify its costs.'' 
\108\ As discussed elsewhere in this preamble, the FAA's primary safety 
concerns with regard to small UAS operations are: (1) The ability to 
``see and avoid'' other aircraft with no pilot on board; and (2) the 
operator losing positive control of the small unmanned aircraft. Here, 
both of these safety concerns would be mitigated by the other 
provisions of this proposed rule. Accordingly, the FAA does not believe 
that the safety benefits of requiring small UAS manufacturers to 
install fireproof plating with their identification information would 
be sufficient to justify the costs of doing so.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \108\ Executive Order 13563, section 1(b) (summarizing and 
reaffirming Executive Order 12866).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA invites comments, with supporting documentation, as to the 
costs and benefits of mandating compliance with Subpart B of part 45. 
The FAA also invites comments, with supporting documentation, on 
whether alternative methods of small-UAS manufacturer marking should be 
required.

H. Fraud and False Statements

    Currently, the U.S. criminal code prohibits fraud and falsification 
in matters within the jurisdiction of the executive branch.\109\ The 
FAA too may impose civil sanctions in instances of fraud and 
falsification in matters within its jurisdiction.\110\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \109\ 18 U.S.C. 1001
    \110\ The FAA has exercised this power in 14 CFR 61.59, 67.403, 
121.9, and 139.115, which currently impose civil prohibitions on 
fraud and false statements made in matters within the FAA's 
jurisdiction.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Similarly, in Sec.  107.5(a), this proposed rule would prohibit a 
person from making a fraudulent or intentionally false record or report 
that is required for compliance with the provisions of this proposed 
rule. Proposed Sec.  107.5(a) would also prohibit a person from making 
any reproduction or alteration, for a fraudulent purpose, of any 
certificate, rating, authorization, record, or report that is made 
pursuant to proposed part 107. Finally, proposed Sec.  107.5(b) would 
specify that the commission of a fraudulent or intentionally false act 
in violation of Sec.  107.5(a) could result in the suspension or 
revocation of a certificate or waiver issued by the FAA pursuant to 
this proposed rule. This proposed civil sanction would be similar to 
the sanctions that the FAA currently imposes on fraudulent and false 
statements pursuant to Sec. Sec.  61.59(b), 67.403(c), and 121.9(b).

[[Page 9576]]

I. Oversight

1. Inspection, Testing, and Demonstration of Compliance
    The FAA's oversight statutes, codified at 49 U.S.C. 44709 and 
46104, provide the FAA with broad investigatory and inspection 
authority for matters within the FAA's jurisdiction. Under section 
46104, the FAA may subpoena witnesses and records, administer oaths, 
examine witnesses, and receive evidence at a place in the United States 
that the FAA designates. Under section 44709, the FAA may ``reinspect 
at any time a civil aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, appliance, 
design organization, production certificate holder, air navigation 
facility, or agency, or reexamine an airman holding a certificate 
issued [by the FAA].''
    This rule would codify the FAA's oversight authority in proposed 
Sec.  107.7. Proposed Sec.  107.7(b) would require the operator, visual 
observer, or owner of a small UAS to, upon FAA request, allow the FAA 
to make any test or inspection of the small unmanned aircraft system, 
the operator, and, if applicable, the visual observer to determine 
compliance with the provisions of proposed part 107.
    Section 107.7(a) would require an operator or owner of a small UAS 
to, upon FAA request, make available to the FAA any document, record, 
or report required to be kept by the provisions of proposed part 107. 
This would include the operator's unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating and the certificate of aircraft 
registration for the small UAS being operated.
2. Accident Reporting
    The FAA notes that UAS is a relatively new industry and that 
operators of small UAS may not have prior experience with aviation 
regulations or FAA oversight. In addition, because of the newness of 
the small UAS industry, the FAA currently does not have the oversight 
experience with small UAS that it has with manned aircraft operations. 
Accordingly, to ensure proper oversight of small UAS operations, this 
proposed rule, in Sec.  107.9, would require a small UAS operator to 
report to the FAA any small UAS operation that results in: (1) Any 
injury to a person; or (2) damage to property other than the small 
unmanned aircraft. The report would have to be made within 10 days of 
the operation that resulted in injury or damage to property.\111\ After 
receiving this report, the FAA may conduct further investigation to 
determine whether any FAA regulations were violated.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \111\ The proposed 10-day timeframe to submit a report is 
similar to the 10-day timeframe that is currently required by the 
NTSB for accident reporting. See 49 CFR 830.15(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA emphasizes that this proposed reporting requirement would 
be triggered only during operations that result in injury to a person 
or property damage. The FAA invites comments as to whether this type of 
accident-reporting should be required. The FAA also invites suggestions 
for alternative methods of ensuring compliance with the regulations 
governing small UAS operations. The FAA specifically invites comments 
as to whether small UAS accidents that result in minimal amounts of 
property damage should be exempted from the reporting requirement. If 
so, what is the threshold of property damage that should trigger the 
accident reporting requirement?

J. Section 333 Statutory Findings

    As mentioned previously, in order to determine whether certain UAS 
may operate safely in the NAS pursuant to section 333 of Public Law 
112-95, the Secretary must find that the operation of the UAS would 
not: (1) Create a hazard to users of the NAS or the public; or (2) pose 
a threat to national security. The Secretary must also determine 
whether small UAS operations subject to this proposed rule pose a 
safety risk sufficient to require airworthiness certification.
1. Hazard to Users of the NAS or the Public
    Section 333 of Public Law 112-95 requires the Secretary to 
determine whether the operation of the UAS subject to this proposed 
rule would create a hazard to users of the NAS or the public. As 
discussed in the Background section of this preamble, due to their 
extremely light weight, small UAS could pose a significantly smaller 
public risk than do manned aircraft.
    Two primary safety concerns associated with small UAS operations 
are: (1) The ability to ``see and avoid'' other aircraft with no pilot 
on board; and (2) the operator losing positive control of the small 
unmanned aircraft. Here, both of these safety concerns would be 
mitigated by the other provisions of this proposed rule. Specifically 
by requiring operations to be conducted within visual line of sight; 
limiting maximum gross weight of the small unmanned aircraft to be 
below 55 pounds; limiting the operating altitude to below 500 feet AGL; 
requiring operators to be certificated; defining the area of operation; 
and prohibiting operations over any person not directly participating 
in the operation, the risk associated with this group of aircraft would 
be significantly reduced when compared with other categories of 
aircraft that weigh more, fly higher, and faster.
    Accordingly, the Secretary proposes to find that small UAS 
operations subject to this proposed rule would not create a hazard to 
users of the NAS or the public. We invite comments on this proposed 
finding.
2. National Security
    Section 333 of Public Law 112-95 also requires the Secretary to 
determine whether the operation of UAS subject to this proposed rule 
would pose a threat to national security. Proposed part 107 would 
expand small UAS operations in the NAS to include commercial 
operations. Under proposed part 107, these operations would be subject 
to specific requirements, such as being able to operate only during 
daylight and only within visual line of sight of the operator and, if 
applicable, a visual observer. The small unmanned aircraft would also 
have to be registered with the FAA and display its FAA-issued 
registration marking prominently on the aircraft.
    In addition, the operator of the small unmanned aircraft would be 
required to obtain an FAA-issued unmanned aircraft operator certificate 
with a small UAS rating. The process for obtaining this certificate 
would include the same TSA-review procedures that are currently used 
under 49 U.S.C. 46111 in order to screen out airman-certificate 
applicants who pose a security risk.
    Because the above provisions would limit the security risk that 
could be posed by small UAS operations subject to this proposed rule, 
the Secretary proposes to find that these small UAS operations would 
not pose a threat to national security. We invite comments on this 
proposed finding.
3. Airworthiness Certification
    Finally, section 333(b)(2) of Public Law 112-95 requires the 
Secretary to determine whether small UAS operations subject to this 
proposed rule pose a safety risk sufficient to require airworthiness 
certification. The Secretary has determined that airworthiness 
certification should not be required for small UAS subject to this 
proposed rule due to their low-risk operational characteristics. 
Specifically, as mentioned previously, because of the other provisions 
in this proposed rule, the risk associated with small UAS

[[Page 9577]]

subject to this proposed rule is significantly reduced.
    The FAA emphasizes that, under this proposed rule, the operator 
would not need to determine design conformity or reliability 
probabilities when evaluating the airworthiness of small UAS. Instead, 
the operator would need to make a determination of whether the small 
UAS is in a safe condition during flight operations and ground 
operations conducted for the purpose of flight. During preflight and 
post flight inspections, a small UAS operator should look for simple 
inspection items such as dents, corrosion, mis-alignment, loose wires, 
binding controls, loose fasteners, and excessive wear. This simple but 
not all-inclusive list will identify most problems that could impact 
the airworthiness and reliability of the aircraft.
    Another inspection method unique to small UAS that would be 
governed by this proposed rule would be a check of the control link. 
This check can be accomplished by using the control station to verify 
proper flight control deflection prior to flight. The check can also be 
used to ensure the flight controls deflect freely, without binding. 
Like the aforementioned inspection items, this too is a simple visual 
inspection that should not require any specialized training.
    Because the proposed airworthiness provisions discussed above would 
sufficiently ensure that the small UAS is in a condition for safe 
operation and because the other provisions of this rule would ensure 
that the risk posed by small unmanned aircraft is significantly smaller 
than public risk posed by other groups of aircraft, the Secretary 
finds, pursuant to section 333(b)(2) of Public Law 112-95, that 
airworthiness certification would be unnecessary for small UAS subject 
to this proposed rule. We invite comments on this finding.

IV. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

A. Regulatory Evaluation

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 direct 
that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon 
a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation 
justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. 
L. 96-354) requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of 
regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act 
(Public Law 96-39) prohibits agencies from setting standards that 
create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United 
States. In developing U.S. standards, this Trade Act requires agencies 
to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they 
be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires agencies to prepare a written 
assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or 
final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the 
expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, 
or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted 
for inflation with base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble 
summarizes the FAA's analysis of the economic impacts of this proposed 
rule. Readers seeking greater detail can read the full regulatory 
evaluation, a copy of which has been placed in the docket for this 
rulemaking.
    In conducting these analyses, FAA has determined that this proposed 
rule: (1) Has benefits that justify its costs; (2) is an economically 
``significant regulatory action'' as defined in section 3(f) of 
Executive Order 12866; (3) is ``significant'' as defined in DOT's 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures; (4) would have a significant 
positive economic impact on a substantial number of small entities; (5) 
would not create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the 
United States; and (6) would not impose an unfunded mandate on state, 
local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector by exceeding the 
threshold identified above. These analyses are summarized below.
1. Total Benefits and Costs of This Rule
    This proposed rule reflects the fact that technological advances in 
small unmanned aircraft systems (small UAS) have led to a developing 
commercial market for their uses by providing a safe operating 
environment for them and for other aircraft in the NAS. In time, the 
FAA anticipates that the proposed rule would provide an opportunity to 
substitute small UAS operations for some risky manned flights, such as 
photographing houses, towers, bridges, or parks, thereby averting 
potential fatalities and injuries. It would also lead to more efficient 
methods of performing certain commercial tasks that are currently 
performed by other methods.
    For any commercial operation occurring because this rule is 
enacted, the operator/owner of that small UAS will have determined the 
expected revenue stream of the flights exceeds the cost of the flights' 
operation. In each such case this rule helps enable new markets to 
develop. The FAA identified how the proposed rule would improve the 
safety of the NAS when small UAS are operated in place of a hazardous 
manned operation or a laborer working at heights.
    The estimated out-of-pocket cost for a small UAS operator to be 
FAA-certified is less than $300. As this proposal enables new 
businesses to be established, the private sector benefits would exceed 
private sector costs when new entrepreneurs earn a profit. As more 
profitable opportunities increase, so will the social benefits. 
Therefore, each new small UAS operator will have determined that their 
expected benefits exceed their costs. In addition, if the use of a 
small UAS replaces a dangerous non-UAS operation and saves one human 
life, that alone would result in benefits outweighing the costs of this 
proposed rule. The costs are shown in the table in the ``Cost Summary'' 
section below.
2. Who is potentially affected by this rule?
    Manufacturers and operators of small unmanned aircraft systems.
3. Assumptions
     Because the commercial small UAS industry is not yet 
established and may evolve differently from current expectations, the 
FAA determined that a five-year time frame of analysis would be 
appropriate.
     The base year is 2014.
     The FAA uses a seven percent discount rate for the 
benefits as prescribed by OMB in Circular A-4.\112\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \112\ http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a004_a-4
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Since the year that the proposed rule is published is 
unknown, the FAA uses Year 1 as the current year so that the first 
discounting occurs in Year 2.
     In the small UAS future fleet forecast, the FAA assumes 
that 20 percent of the fleet would retire or leave the fleet every 
year.\113\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \113\ A copy of the forecast can be found in the rulemaking 
docket. The FAA notes that a small UAS could incur a cost for 
registration and then retire or leave the fleet during the analysis 
interval. The FAA also notes that our small UAS forecast may be 
understated if operators choose to own more than one FAA-registered 
aircraft (for example, as a backup in case one aircraft is 
disabled). To account for this possibility, as a sensitivity 
analysis, if there were an additional 20 percent increase in our 
small UAS forecast, then the costs in Table 7 and Table 10, found in 
the regulatory evaluation accompanying this NPRM, would increase by 
20 percent. The FAA requests comments, with supporting 
documentation, on this sensitivity analysis.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Because only one operator is required to operate a small 
UAS, the FAA assumes that there would be one qualified FAA-approved 
operator per

[[Page 9578]]

registered and operating small UAS. Even though 20 percent of the small 
UAS equipment leaves the fleet each year, the FAA expects that small 
UAS operators, once tested and certificated, would remain employable 
and some would take jobs as small UAS operators in the following years 
of the analysis interval. Also, operators would incur a cost for 
recurrent knowledge testing every 24 months. This will be explained in 
detail in the ``Costs'' section below.
     The FAA assumes that the failure rate of applicants \114\ 
taking the small UAS initial and recurrent knowledge based test would 
be 10 percent.\115\ However, applicants and operators who fail are 
assumed to pass the knowledge test on the second attempt.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \114\ The FAA notes that a person first must apply to become a 
small UAS operator. During the application process, this analysis 
will refer to a person applying to become a small UAS operator as an 
applicant. After the applicant has successfully passed the 
application process, this analysis will refer to the person as a 
small UAS operator.
    \115\ The FAA has not yet created or administered the knowledge 
test proposed in the NPRM. However, the weighted average failure 
rate for all categories of airman taking knowledge tests in 2013 was 
10%. See Appendix 3 of the regulatory evaluation accompanying this 
NPRM for details.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Since this proposed rule allows knowledge test centers 
(KTC) to administer small UAS operator initial or recurrent knowledge 
tests, the FAA assumes that the KTC would collocate themselves with a 
Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE), Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) 
or Other Designated Authority to validate an applicant's identity, 
accept the knowledge test results and the small UAS operator 
application for review and submission to the FAA AFS-760 Airman 
Certification Branch for processing.
     The cost to administer an FAA approved small UAS knowledge 
test, including compliance fees, to a small UAS applicant or operator 
is $150.\116\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \116\ http://www.catstest.com/airman-testing-exams/recreational-private-pilot.php
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The FAA estimates that a small UAS operator applicant 
would need to travel 19 miles one way to reach their closest KTC 
location.\117\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \117\ See ``Travel Expense'' section for methodology and source 
information.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The 2014 published IRS variable cost mileage rate of 
$0.235 per mile is used to estimate the cost of Vehicle usage.\118\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \118\ http://www.irs.gov/2014-Standard-Mileage-Rates-for-Business,-Medical-and-Moving-Announced
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The FAA assigns the hourly value for personal time to 
equal $25.09 for Year 1.\119\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \119\ Source: Revised Departmental Guidance on The Valuation of 
Travel time in Economic Analysis (published June 9, 2014). Per this 
guidance, median Household income divided by 2,080 hours is used to 
establish a wage rate (see Table 3). This wage rate, as noted in 
this guidance, serves as an approximate value for leisure time. 
Consistent with this guidance wage rates are augmented by 1.2 
percent per year to reflect projected annual growth of real median 
household income. Year 1 (2012$) wage rates estimates are calculated 
as $24.50 * 1.012\2\ = $25.09; Year 2 as $24.50 * 1.012\3\ = $25.39; 
Year 3 as $24.50 * 1.012\4\ = $25.70; Year 4 as $24.50 * 1.012\5\ = 
$26.01; and Year 5 as $24.50 * 1.012\6\ = $26.32.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The FAA assigns the hourly value for travel time to equal 
$24.68 for Year 1.\120\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \120\ Source: Revised Departmental Guidance on The Valuation of 
Travel time in Economic Analysis (published June 9, 2014)-Local 
Travel (Business). Per this guidance future Travel Time Saving 
estimates are also augmented by 1.2 percent per year to reflect 
projected annual growth of real median household income. Year 1 
(2012$) travel time savings estimates are calculated as $24.10 * 
1.012\2\ = $24.68; Year 2 as $24.10 * 1.012\3\ = $24.98; Year 3 as 
$24.10 * 1.012\4\ =$25.28; Year 4 as $24.10 * 1.012\5\ = $25.58; and 
Year 5 as $24.10 * 1.012\6\ = $25.89. See table 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The FAA assigns the hourly value of FAA or KTC clerical 
time to $20.06 by calculating the mean for a Level 2 (FG 5/6) Clerical 
Support person from the Core Compensation Plan Pay Bands, effective 
January 12, 2014 working in the Washington DC locality.\121\ The FAA 
then divides the mean of the annual salaries by 2,080 for an hourly 
rate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \121\ https://my.faa.gov/content/dam/myfaa/org/staffoffices/ahr/program_policies/policy_guidance/hr_policies/hrpm/comp/comp_ref/media/core_salary_with_conversion.xls.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The FAA assigns the value of $28.00 as the estimate for 
the FAA's cost to register an aircraft. This estimate is based on an 
internal cost model developed in September 2014 by the FAA civil 
aviation registry to use for managerial estimates.
     The FAA uses a $50 fee to validate the identity of an 
applicant.
    The FAA requests comments, with supporting documentation, on each 
of these assumptions and data values.
4. Benefit Summary
    The potential benefits from this proposed rule would arise from 
improved safety and from opening up new commercial aviation activities. 
The FAA currently does not permit commercial activity involving small 
UAS due to the potential hazards they could pose to other aircraft and 
to the civilian population. This proposed rule would allow certain 
types of unmanned aerial observational operations to replace manned 
aerial observational operations that are currently being conducted 
under potentially hazardous conditions. The proposed rule would also 
allow small UAS to replace laborers inspecting high towers or in 
certain other hazardous locations. This proposed rule would allow the 
creation and development of new industries able to operate with minimal 
potential risks to operators and the public.
    Specifically, with respect to the potential safety benefits from 
substituting small unmanned aircraft for aerial photography, the FAA 
reviewed 17 aerial aviation photography accidents and incidents that 
occurred between 2005 and 2009. Of these accidents, the FAA determined 
that a small UAS could have substituted for the manned operation in two 
cases. If the use of a small UAS replaces a dangerous non-UAS operation 
and saves one human life, that alone would result in benefits 
outweighing the costs of this proposed rule.
    The potential benefits would be driven by the market and small UAS 
airspace availability. In the Regulatory Evaluation, the FAA explores 
only four of the many potential small UAS markets this proposal could 
enable. The four potential small UAS markets are:
    1. Aerial photography,
    2. Precision agriculture,
    3. Search and rescue/law enforcement, and
    4. Bridge inspection.
    The FAA estimates that the proposed rule could not only enable 
numerous new industries, but also provide safety benefits and create a 
safe operating environment. The FAA has not quantified the specific 
benefits due to a lack of data. The FAA invites commenters to provide 
data that could be used to quantify benefits of this proposed rule.
5. Cost Summary
    Several provisions in the proposed rule would impose compliance 
costs on potential commercial small UAS operators. However, the FAA 
assumes that commercial small UAS operators would incur these costs 
only if they anticipated revenues that would more than offset these 
costs. The business decision to enter a previously non-existent market 
is borne by each operator who knowingly chooses to operate a small UAS 
within the regulated environment of this proposal. In the Regulatory 
Evaluation, the FAA estimates these costs by provision. As summarized 
in the following table, the FAA estimates the total cost of the 
proposed rule for the 5 year period of analysis.

[[Page 9579]]



            Total and Present Value Cost Summary by Provision
                   [Thousands of current year dollars]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               7% P.V.
           Type of cost               Total costs  (000)        (000)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Applicant/small UAS operator:
    Travel Expense...............  $151.7..................       $125.9
    Knowledge Test Fees..........  $2,548.6................      2,114.2
    Positive Identification of     $434.3..................        383.7
     the Applicant Fee.
Owner:
    Small UAS Registration Fee...  $85.7...................         70.0
Time Resource Opportunity Costs:
    Applicants Travel Time.......  $296.1..................        245.3
    Knowledge Test Application...  $108.9..................         90.2
    Physical Capability            $20.0...................         17.7
     Certification.
    Knowledge Test Time..........  $1,307.1................      1,082.9
    Small UAS Registration Form..  $220.5..................        179.7
    Change of Name or Address      $14.9...................         12.3
     Form.
    Knowledge Test Report........  $154.9..................        128.5
    Pre-flight Inspection........  Not quantified..........  ...........
    Accident Reporting...........  Minimal cost............  ...........
Government Costs:
    TSA Security Vetting.........  $1,026.5................        906.9
    FAA--sUAS Operating            $39.6...................         35.0
     Certificate.
    FAA--Registration............  $394.3..................        321.8
                                  --------------------------------------
        Total Costs..............  $6,803.1................      5,714.0
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Details may not add to row or column totals due to rounding.

B. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Determination (IRFA)

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (RFA) 
establishes ``as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall 
endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable 
statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale 
of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions 
subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required 
to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain 
the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given 
serious consideration.'' The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, 
including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small 
governmental jurisdictions.
    Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must 
prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA.
    The FAA believes that this proposed rule would have a significant 
impact on a substantial number of entities. Therefore, under section 
603(b) of the RFA, the initial analysis must address:
     Description of reasons the agency is considering the 
action.
     Statement of the legal basis and objectives for the 
proposed rule.
     Description of the record keeping and other compliance 
requirements of the proposed rule.
     All federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, or conflict 
with the proposed rule.
     Description and an estimated number of small entities to 
which the proposed rule will apply.
     Describe alternatives considered.
1. Description of Reasons the Agency Is Considering the Action
    The FAA is proposing to amend its regulations to adopt specific 
rules to allow the operation of small unmanned aircraft system (small 
UAS) operations in the National Airspace System (NAS). These changes 
would address the operation of small UAS, certification of their 
operators, registration, and display of registration markings. The 
proposed requirements would allow small UAS to operate in the NAS while 
minimizing the risk they may pose to manned aviation operations and the 
general public.
    If the proposed rule were adopted, operators would be permitted to 
participate in certain commercial activities from which they are 
currently prohibited. The proposed requirements are intended to enable 
the opportunity for the private sector to develop commercial small UAS 
businesses and facilitate legal and safe operations. Currently 
commercial activity using a small UAS is prohibited by federal 
regulation unless the civil aircraft has an airworthiness certificate 
in effect and operations are approved by the FAA on a case by case 
basis via an exemption from the pertinent regulations.
2. Statement of the Legal Basis and Objectives for the Proposed Rule
    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in the 
FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95). Section 333 
of Public Law 112-95 directs the Secretary of Transportation to 
determine whether ``certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate 
safely in the national airspace system.'' If the FAA determines, 
pursuant to section 333, that certain unmanned aircraft systems may 
operate safely in the NAS, then the FAA must ``establish requirements 
for the safe operation of such aircraft systems in the national 
airspace system.'' \122\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \122\ Public Law 112-95, section 333(c). In addition, Public Law 
112-95, section 332(b)(1) requires the FAA to issue ``a final rule 
on small unmanned aircraft systems that will allow for civil 
operation of such systems in the national airspace system, to the 
extent the systems do not meet the requirements for expedited 
operational authorization under section 333 of [Pub. L. 112-95].''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This rulemaking is also promulgated pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 
40103(b)(1) and (2), which charge the FAA with issuing regulations: (1) 
To ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace; and 
(2) to govern the flight of aircraft for purposes of navigating, 
protecting and identifying aircraft, and protecting individuals and 
property on the ground. In addition, 49 U.S.C. 44701(a)(5)

[[Page 9580]]

charges the FAA with prescribing regulations that the FAA finds 
necessary for safety in air commerce and national security.
    Finally, the model-aircraft component of this rulemaking is 
promulgated pursuant to Public Law 112-95, section 336(b), which 
clarifies that the FAA's existing authority, under 49 U.S.C. 40103(b) 
and 44701(a)(5), provides the FAA with the power to pursue enforcement 
``against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of 
the national airspace system.''
3. Description of the Record Keeping and Other Compliance Requirements 
of the Proposed Rule
    The FAA's statute \123\ prohibits a person from serving as an 
airman without an airman certificate. This proposed rule would create a 
new airman certificate for small UAS operators to satisfy the statutory 
requirement. The airman certificate would be called an unmanned 
aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating, and in order to 
obtain it, a person would have to: (1) Take and pass an aeronautical 
knowledge test; and (2) submit an application for the certificate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \123\ 49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(2)(A).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To take and pass an aeronautical knowledge test, a person would 
have to: (1) Apply to take the test at an FAA-approved Knowledge 
Testing Center; (2) spend time taking the test; and (3) obtain an 
airman knowledge test report showing that he or she passed the test. 
After passing a knowledge test, the person would then apply for the 
certificate by: (1) Filling out and submitting an application for the 
certificate, which would include a certification stating that the 
applicant is physically capable of safely operating a small UAS; and 
(2) attaching a copy of the airman knowledge test report to the 
application. This proposed rule would also require a small UAS operator 
to report to the FAA any accident that results in: (1) Any injury to a 
person; or (2) damage to property other than the small unmanned 
aircraft.
    The FAA's statute also prohibits the operation of an aircraft that 
is not registered.\124\ Consequently this proposed rule would require 
owners of a small unmanned aircraft to register that aircraft with the 
FAA. The owner of a small unmanned aircraft can do this simply by 
sending the following items to the FAA: (1) An Aircraft Registration 
Application providing information about the aircraft and contact 
information for the aircraft owner; (2) evidence of ownership (such as 
a bill of sale); and (3) the $5.00 registration fee.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \124\ 49 U.S.C. 44101.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. All Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rule
    The FAA is unaware that the proposed rule will overlap, duplicate 
or conflict with existing federal rules.
5. Description and an Estimated Number of Small Entities To Which the 
Proposed Rule Will Apply
    The FAA believes that the proposed rule would enable numerous new 
industries, while maintaining a safe operating environment in the NAS.
    Because the commercial small UAS industry is not yet established 
and legal operation of commercial small UAS in the NAS constitutes a 
new market, available data for these operations is sparse. Accordingly, 
the FAA has not quantified number of small entities to which the 
proposed rule would apply because the FAA cannot reasonably predict how 
the market will develop for individual commercial uses of small UAS.
    With respect to the potential operator costs, the FAA assumes that 
each operator would be a new entrant into the commercial market and 
that each operator would have one small UAS. The following table shows 
the proposed rule's estimated out-of-pocket startup and recurrent 
direct compliance costs for a new small UAS operator or owner.

             Small UAS Operator Startup and Recurrent Costs
                            [Current dollars]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Cost
                 Type of cost                  -------------------------
                                                  Initial     Recurrent
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Applicant/small UAS operator:                   ...........  ...........
    Travel Expense............................           $9           $9
    Knowledge Test Fees.......................          150          150
    Positive Identification of the Applicant             50  ...........
     Fee......................................
Total applicant/small UAS operator............          209          159
Owner:                                          ...........  ...........
    Small UAS Registration Fee................            5            5
                                               -------------------------
        Total Owner...........................            5            5
                                               -------------------------
        Total.................................          214          164
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Details may not add to row or column totals due to rounding.

    The FAA does not believe that $214 per operator would be a 
significant negative economic impact to small entity operators because 
$214 is relatively inexpensive to be licensed for operation of a 
commercial vehicle.
    The FAA expects this proposed rule would be a significant positive 
economic impact because it enables new businesses to operate small UAS 
for hire and would stimulate a manufacturing support industry. The FAA 
believes that most, if not all, of these new commercial activities 
would be conducted by operators of small UAS who are small business 
entities. Therefore, the FAA believes that this proposed rule would 
have a positive significant impact on a substantial number of entities.
6. Alternatives Considered
    The FAA considered both more costly and less costly alternatives as 
part of its NPRM. The FAA rejected the more costly alternatives due to 
policy considerations and undue burden that would be imposed on small 
UAS operators. The less costly alternatives and the FAA's reasons for 
rejecting

[[Page 9581]]

those alternatives in the NPRM are discussed below.
     Allowing knowledge testing centers to verify ID and accept 
airman applications. The FAA decided, as part of its proposal, to limit 
positive identification and acceptance of an application to those 
persons who are either: (1) Already authorized to accept and sign 
airman applications (FAA personnel, DPEs, and ACRs); or (2) are already 
required to verify identity under the TSA's regulations (CFIs). 
Knowledge testing centers do not fit into either of these categories, 
and thus, after considering the alternative of allowing them to accept 
airman applications, the FAA decided not to include this alternative in 
the NPRM.
     Allowing individuals who have been conducting UAS 
operations under a COA as a non-military UAS operator to take a 
recurrent test instead of an initial test in order to obtain an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating. 
However, the FAA decided not to include this provision in the proposed 
rule because: (1) There is no formally recognized recordation system 
for non-military COA pilots as there is for military pilots; and (2) 
non-military COA pilots are currently subject to different requirements 
than military COA pilots for operations above 400 feet AGL.
    Therefore this proposed rule would have a significant positive 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The FAA 
solicits comments regarding this determination.

C. International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended by the 
Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103-465), prohibits Federal 
agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities 
that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United 
States. Pursuant to these Acts, the establishment of standards is not 
considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the 
United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic 
objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a 
manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also 
requires consideration of international standards and, where 
appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards.
    The FAA invites comments on the inclusion of foreign-registered 
small unmanned aircraft in this new framework. In particular, FAA 
invites comments on foreign experiences with differing levels of 
stringency in their UAS regulation. The FAA recognizes that several 
other countries have adopted different standards with regard to the 
commercial operation of UAS in their respective airspaces. Data from 
their experiences regarding safety outcomes and economic activity could 
form the basis for studying the effect of these different regulatory 
approaches.

D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-
4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement 
assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final 
agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more 
(in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate 
is deemed to be a ``significant regulatory action.'' The FAA currently 
uses an inflation-adjusted value of $151.0 million in lieu of $100 
million. This proposed rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, 
the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires 
that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. According to the 1995 
amendments to the Paperwork Reduction Act (5 CFR 1320.8(b)(2)(vi)), an 
agency may not collect or sponsor the collection of information, nor 
may it impose an information collection requirement unless it displays 
a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.
    This action contains the following proposed information collection 
requirements:
     Submission of an application for an unmanned aircraft 
operator certificate with a small UAS rating;
     submission of an application to register a small unmanned 
aircraft; and
     reporting any accident that results in injury to a person 
or damage to property other than the small unmanned aircraft.
    Below, we discuss each of these information-collection requirements 
in more detail. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3507(d)), the FAA has submitted these proposed information 
collection amendments to OMB for its review.
1. Obtaining an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate With a Small UAS 
Rating
    Summary: The FAA's statute \125\ prohibits a person from serving as 
an airman without an airman certificate. This proposed rule would 
create a new airman certificate for small UAS operators to satisfy the 
statutory requirement. The airman certificate would be called an 
unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating, and in 
order to obtain it, a person would have to: (1) Take and pass an 
aeronautical knowledge test; and (2) submit an application for the 
certificate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \125\ 49 U.S.C. 44711(a)(2)(A).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To take and pass an aeronautical knowledge test, a person would 
have to: (1) Apply to take the test at an FAA-approved Knowledge 
Testing Center; (2) spend time taking the test; and (3) obtain an 
airman knowledge test report showing that he or she passed the test. 
After passing a knowledge test, the person would then apply for the 
certificate by: (1) Filling out and submitting an application for the 
certificate, which would include a certification stating that the 
applicant is physically capable of safely operating a small UAS; and 
(2) attaching a copy of the airman knowledge test report to the 
application.
    The above requirements would not result in a new collection of 
information, but would instead expand an existing OMB-approved 
collection of information that is approved under OMB control number 
2120-0021. This collection of information governs information that the 
FAA collects to certificate pilots and flight instructors. The above 
requirements would increase the burden of this already-existing 
collection of information.
    Use: The above requirements would be used by the FAA to issue 
airman certificates to UAS operators in order to satisfy the statutory 
requirement that an airman must possess an airman certificate.
    Estimate of Increase in Annualized Burden (there are 7,896 unique 
applicants):

[[Page 9582]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23FE15.003

2. Registering a Small Unmanned Aircraft
    Summary: The FAA's statute \126\ prohibits the operation of an 
aircraft unless the aircraft is registered. Pursuant to this statutory 
prohibition, this proposed rule would require small unmanned aircraft 
to be registered with the FAA using the current registration process 
found in 14 CFR part 47. In order to register a small unmanned aircraft 
with the FAA, the aircraft's owner would have to submit to the FAA an 
Aircraft Registration Application providing information about the 
aircraft and contact information for the aircraft owner. This 
registration would need to be renewed every three years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \126\ 49 U.S.C. 44101.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The above requirements would not result in a new collection of 
information, but would instead expand an existing OMB-approved 
collection of information that is approved under OMB control number 
2120-0042. This collection of information governs information that the 
FAA collects in order to register an aircraft. The above requirements 
would increase the burden of this already-existing collection of 
information.
    Use: The above requirements would be used by the FAA to register 
small unmanned aircraft in order to satisfy the statutory requirement 
that an aircraft must be registered in order to operate.
    Estimate of Increase in Annualized Burden:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23FE15.004
    
3. Accident Reporting
    Summary: To ensure proper oversight of small UAS operations, this 
proposed rule would require a small UAS operator to report to the FAA 
any small UAS operation that results in: (1) Any injury to a person; or 
(2) damage to property other than the small unmanned aircraft. After 
receiving this report, the FAA may conduct further investigation to 
determine whether any FAA regulations were violated. This proposed 
requirement would constitute a new collection of information. However, 
the FAA emphasizes that this proposed reporting requirement would be 
triggered only during operations that result in injury to a person or 
property damage.
    Use: The above requirements would be used by the FAA to ensure 
proper oversight of small UAS operations. A report of an accident that 
resulted in an injury to a person or property damage may serve to 
initiate an FAA investigation into whether FAA regulations were 
violated.
    Annualized Burden Estimate:
    There is one page of paperwork associated with reporting an 
accident. The FAA calculated the probability of an accident by dividing 
the accident rate for general aviation pilots by the total number of 
hours and estimated that an accident would occur .001% of the time. 
Applying .001% to the small UAS in the analysis interval shows that the 
probability of an accident where property damage, injury, or death 
occurs is negligible; therefore the FAA estimates that there are no 
costs for this provision.
4. Total Annualized Burden Estimate
    The total annualized burden estimate of the information-collection 
requirements associated with this proposed rule is as follows:

[[Page 9583]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23FE15.005

    The agency is soliciting comments to--
     Evaluate whether the proposed information requirement is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
     Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the 
burden;
     Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Minimize the burden of collecting information on those who 
are to respond, including by using appropriate automated, electronic, 
mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms 
of information technology.
    Individuals and organizations may send comments on the information 
collection requirement to the address listed in the ADDRESSES section 
at the beginning of this preamble by April 24, 2015. Comments also 
should be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: Desk Officer for FAA, 
New Executive Office Building, Room 10202, 725 17th Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20053.

F. International Compatibility and Cooperation

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and 
Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has 
determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices 
that correspond to these proposed regulations.
    Additionally, Executive Order 13609, Promoting International 
Regulatory Cooperation, promotes international regulatory cooperation 
to meet shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, 
environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent 
unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has 
analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of 
Executive Order 13609, and has determined that this action would have 
no effect on international regulatory cooperation.

G. Environmental Analysis

    FAA Order 1050.1E identifies FAA actions that are categorically 
excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or 
environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy 
Act in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has 
determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical 
exclusion identified in paragraph 312f and involves no extraordinary 
circumstances.

H. Regulations Affecting Intrastate Aviation in Alaska

    Section 1205 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 
3213) requires the Administrator, when modifying 14 CFR regulations in 
a manner affecting intrastate aviation in Alaska, to consider the 
extent to which Alaska is not served by transportation modes other than 
aviation, and to establish appropriate regulatory distinctions. Because 
this proposed rule would limit small unmanned aircraft operations to 
daylight hours only, it could, if adopted, affect intrastate aviation 
in Alaska. The FAA, therefore, specifically requests comments on 
whether there is justification for applying the proposed rule 
differently in intrastate operations in Alaska.

V. Executive Order Determinations

A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this proposed rule under the principles and 
criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has 
determined that this action would not have a substantial direct effect 
on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and 
the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among 
the various levels of government, and, therefore, would not have 
Federalism implications.

B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    The FAA analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it 
would not be a ``significant energy action'' under the executive order 
and would not be likely to have a significant adverse effect on the 
supply, distribution, or use of energy.

VI. Additional Information

A. Comments Invited

    The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this 
rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. The agency 
also invites comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, 
or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in 
this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion 
of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and 
include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain 
duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written 
comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should 
submit only one time.
    The FAA will file in the docket all comments it receives, as well 
as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA 
personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this 
proposal, the FAA will consider all comments it receives on or before 
the closing date for comments. The FAA will consider comments filed 
after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without 
incurring expense or delay. The agency may change this proposal in 
light of the comments it receives.

B. Availability of Rulemaking Documents

    An electronic copy of rulemaking documents may be obtained from the 
Internet by--

[[Page 9584]]

    1. Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);
    2. Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or
    3. Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/.
    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request to the Federal 
Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9680. 
Commenters must identify the docket or notice number of this 
rulemaking.
    All documents the FAA considered in developing this proposed rule, 
including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from 
the Internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced in item 
(1) above.

List of Subjects

14 CFR Part 21

    Aircraft, Aviation safety, Recording and recordkeeping 
requirements.

14 CFR Part 43

    Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

14 CFR Part 45

    Aircraft, Signs and symbols.

14 CFR Part 47

    Aircraft, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

14 CFR Part 61

    Aircraft, Airmen, Alcohol abuse, Aviation safety, Drug abuse, 
Recreation and recreation areas, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Security measures, Teachers.

14 CFR Part 91

    Air traffic control, Aircraft, Airmen, Airports, Aviation safety, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

14 CFR Part 101

    Aircraft, Aviation Safety.

14 CFR Part 107

    Aircraft, Airmen, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Security measures, Signs and symbols, Small unmanned 
aircraft, Unmanned aircraft.

14 CFR Part 183

    Airmen, Authority delegations (Government agencies).

The Proposed Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration proposes to amend chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal 
Regulations as follows:

PART 21--CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES FOR PRODUCTS AND PARTS

0
1. The authority citation for part 21 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7572; 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40101 note, 
40105, 40113, 44701-44702, 44704, 44707, 44709, 44711, 44713, 44715, 
45303; Sec. 333 of Pub. L. 112-95.

0
2. Amend Sec.  21.1 by revising paragraph (a) introductory text to read 
as follows:


Sec.  21.1  Applicability and definitions.

    (a) Except for aircraft subject to the provisions of part 107 of 
this chapter, this part prescribes--
* * * * *

PART 43--MAINTENANCE, PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE, REBUILDING, AND 
ALTERATION

0
3. The authority citation for part 43 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44703, 44705, 
44707, 44711, 44713, 44717, 44725.

0
4. Amend Sec.  43.1 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  43.1  Applicability.

* * * * *
    (b) This part does not apply to--
    (1) Any aircraft for which the FAA has issued an experimental 
certificate, unless the FAA has previously issued a different kind of 
airworthiness certificate for that aircraft;
    (2) Any aircraft for which the FAA has issued an experimental 
certificate under the provisions of Sec.  21.191(i)(3) of this chapter, 
and the aircraft was previously issued a special airworthiness 
certificate in the light-sport category under the provisions of Sec.  
21.190 of this chapter; or
    (3) Any aircraft subject to the provisions of part 107 of this 
chapter.
* * * * *

PART 45--IDENTIFICATION AND REGISTRATION MARKING

0
5. The authority citation for part 45 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40103, 40113-40114, 44101-
44105, 44107-44111, 44504, 44701, 44708-44709, 44711-44713, 44725, 
45302-45303, 46104, 46304, 46306, 47122.

0
6. Add Sec.  45.9 to subpart B to read as follows:


Sec.  45.9  Small unmanned aircraft systems.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, this subpart does 
not apply to aircraft subject to part 107 of this chapter.

PART 47--AIRCRAFT REGISTRATION

0
7. The authority citation for part 47 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  4 U.S.T. 1830; Pub. L. 108-297, 118 Stat. 1095 (49 
U.S.C. 40101 note, 49 U.S.C. 44101 note); 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 
40113-40114, 44101-44108, 44110-44113, 44703-44704, 44713, 45302, 
46104, 46301.

0
8. Amend Sec.  47.15 by revising paragraph (a) introductory text to 
read as follows:


Sec.  47.15  Registration number.

    (a) Number required. An applicant for aircraft registration must 
place a U.S. registration number (registration mark) on the Aircraft 
Registration Application, AC Form 8050-1, and on any evidence submitted 
with the application. There is no charge for the assignment of numbers 
provided in this paragraph. This paragraph does not apply to an 
aircraft manufacturer who applies for a group of U.S. registration 
numbers under paragraph (c) of this section; a person who applies for a 
special registration number under paragraphs (d) through (f) of this 
section; a holder of a Dealer's Aircraft Registration Certificate, AC 
Form 8050-6, who applies for a temporary registration number under 
Sec.  47.16; or an owner of a small unmanned aircraft weighing less 
than 55 pounds that has not previously been registered anywhere.
* * * * *

PART 61--CERTIFICATION: PILOTS, FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS, AND GROUND 
INSTRUCTORS

0
9. The authority citation for part 61 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40113, 44701-44703, 44707, 
44709-44711, 45102-45103, 45301-45302.

0
10. Amend Sec.  61.1 by revising paragraph (a) introductory text to 
read as follows:


Sec.  61.1  Applicability and definitions.

    (a) Except as provided in part 107 of this chapter, this part 
prescribes:
* * * * *
0
11. Add Sec.  61.8 to read as follows:


Sec.  61.8  Inapplicability of unmanned aircraft operations.

    Any action conducted pursuant to part 107 of this chapter or 
Subpart E of part 101 of this chapter cannot be used to meet the 
requirements of this part.

0
12. Revise Sec.  61.193 to read as follows:

[[Page 9585]]

Sec.  61.193  Flight instructor privileges.

    (a) A person who holds a flight instructor certificate is 
authorized within the limitations of that person's flight instructor 
certificate and ratings to train and issue endorsements that are 
required for:
    (1) A student pilot certificate;
    (2) A pilot certificate;
    (3) A flight instructor certificate;
    (4) A ground instructor certificate;
    (5) An aircraft rating;
    (6) An instrument rating;
    (7) A flight review, operating privilege, or recency of experience 
requirement of this part;
    (8) A practical test; and
    (9) A knowledge test.
    (b) A person who holds a flight instructor certificate is 
authorized to accept an application for an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating and verify the identity of the 
applicant in a form and manner acceptable to the Administrator.

0
13. Revise Sec.  61.413 to read as follows:


Sec.  61.413  What are the privileges of my flight instructor 
certificate with a sport pilot rating?

    (a) If you hold a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot 
rating, you are authorized, within the limits of your certificate and 
rating, to provide training and endorsements that are required for, and 
relate to--
    (1) A student pilot seeking a sport pilot certificate;
    (2) A sport pilot certificate;
    (3) A flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating;
    (4) A powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft rating;
    (5) Sport pilot privileges;
    (6) A flight review or operating privilege for a sport pilot;
    (7) A practical test for a sport pilot certificate, a private pilot 
certificate with a powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft 
rating or a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating;
    (8) A knowledge test for a sport pilot certificate, a private pilot 
certificate with a powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft 
rating or a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating; 
and
    (9) A proficiency check for an additional category or class 
privilege for a sport pilot certificate or a flight instructor 
certificate with a sport pilot rating.
    (b) A person who holds a flight instructor certificate with a sport 
pilot rating is authorized to accept an application for an unmanned 
aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating and verify the 
identity of the applicant in a form and manner acceptable to the 
Administrator.

PART 91--GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES

0
14. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 1155, 40101, 40103, 40105, 
40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 
44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506-46507, 
47122, 47508, 47528-47531, 47534, articles 12 and 29 of the 
Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), (126 
Stat. 11).

0
15. Amend Sec.  91.1 by revising paragraph (a) introductory text and 
adding paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  91.1  Applicability.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b), (c), and (e) of this 
section and Sec. Sec.  91.701 and 91.703, this part prescribes rules 
governing the operation of aircraft within the United States, including 
the waters within 3 nautical miles of the U.S. coast.
* * * * *
    (e) Except as provided in Sec. Sec.  107.27, 107.47, 107.57, and 
107.59 of this chapter, this part does not apply to any aircraft or 
vehicle governed by part 103 of this chapter, part 107 of this chapter, 
or subparts B, C, or D of part 101 of this chapter.

PART 101--MOORED BALLOONS, KITES, AMATEUR ROCKETS AND UNMANNED FREE 
BALLOONS

0
16. The authority citation for part 101 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40101 note, 40103, 40113-
40114, 45302, 44502, 44514, 44701-44702, 44721, 46308, Sec. 336(b), 
Pub. L. 112-95.

0
17. Amend Sec.  101.1 by adding paragraph (a)(5) to read as follows:


Sec.  101.1  Applicability.

    (a) * * *
    (5) Any model aircraft that meets the conditions specified in Sec.  
101.41. For purposes of this part, a model aircraft is an unmanned 
aircraft that is:
    (i) Capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
    (ii) Flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the 
aircraft; and
    (iii) Flown for hobby or recreational purposes.
* * * * *
0
18. Add subpart E, consisting of Sec. Sec.  101.41 and 101.43, to read 
as follows:

Subpart E--Special Rule for Model Aircraft


Sec.  101.41  Applicability.

    This subpart prescribes the rules governing the operation of a 
model aircraft that meets all of the following conditions as set forth 
in section 336 of Public Law 112-95:
    (a) The aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
    (b) The aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based 
set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide 
community-based organization;
    (c) The aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless 
otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight 
test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based 
organization;
    (d) The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere 
with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and
    (e) When flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the 
aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic 
control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) 
with prior notice of the operation.


Sec.  101.43  Endangering the safety of the National Airspace System.

    No person may operate model aircraft so as to endanger the safety 
of the national airspace system.

0
19. Add part 107 to read as follows:

PART 107--SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS

Subpart A--General
Sec.
107.1 Applicability.
107.3 Definitions.
107.5 Falsification, reproduction or alteration.
107.7 Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance.
107.9 Accident reporting.
Subpart B--Operating Rules
107.11 Applicability.
107.13 Registration, certification, and airworthiness directives.
107.15 Civil small unmanned aircraft system airworthiness.
107.17 Medical condition.
107.19 Responsibility of the operator.
107.21 Maintenance and inspection.
107.23 Hazardous operation.
107.25 Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft.
107.27 Alcohol or drugs.
107.29 Daylight operation.
107.31 Visual line of sight aircraft operation.
107.33 Visual observer.
107.35 Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems.

[[Page 9586]]

107.37 Operation near aircraft; right-of-way rules.
107.39 Operation over people.
107.41 Operation in certain airspace.
107.45 Operation in prohibited or restricted areas.
107.47 Flight restrictions in the proximity of certain areas 
designated by notice to airmen.
107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for 
aircraft operation.
107.51 Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft.
Subpart C--Operator Certification
107.53 Applicability.
107.57 Offenses involving alcohol or drugs.
107.59 Refusal to submit to an alcohol test or to furnish test 
results.
107.61 Eligibility.
107.63 Issuance of an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a 
small UAS rating.
107.65 Aeronautical knowledge recency.
107.67 Knowledge tests: General procedures and passing grades.
107.69 Knowledge tests: Cheating or other unauthorized conduct.
107.71 Retesting after failure.
107.73 Initial and recurrent knowledge tests.
107.75 Military pilots or former military pilots.
107.77 Change of name or address.
107.79 Voluntary surrender of certificate.
Subpart D--Small Unmanned Aircraft Registration and Identification.
107.87 Applicability.
107.89 Registration and identification.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40101 note, 40103(b), 44701(a)(5); 
Sec. 333 of Pub. L. 112-95.

Subpart A--General


Sec.  107.1  Applicability.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, this part 
applies to the registration, airman certification, and operation of 
civil small unmanned aircraft systems within the United States.
    (b) This part does not apply to the following:
    (1) Air carrier operations;
    (2) Any aircraft subject to the provisions of part 101 of this 
chapter;
    (3) Any aircraft conducting an external load operation;
    (4) Any aircraft towing another aircraft or object; or
    (5) Any aircraft that does not meet the criteria specified in Sec.  
47.3 of this chapter.


Sec.  107.3  Definitions.

    The following definitions apply to this part. If there is a 
conflict between the definitions of this part and definitions specified 
in Sec.  1.1 of this chapter, the definitions in this part control for 
purposes of this part:
    Control station means an interface used by the operator to control 
the flight path of the small unmanned aircraft.
    Corrective lenses means spectacles or contact lenses.
    Operator means a person who manipulates the flight controls of a 
small unmanned aircraft system.
    Small unmanned aircraft means an unmanned aircraft weighing less 
than 55 pounds including everything that is on board the aircraft.
    Small unmanned aircraft system (small UAS) means a small unmanned 
aircraft and its associated elements (including communication links and 
the components that control the small unmanned aircraft) that are 
required for the safe and efficient operation of the small unmanned 
aircraft in the national airspace system.
    Unmanned aircraft means an aircraft operated without the 
possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the 
aircraft.
    Visual observer means a person who assists the small unmanned 
aircraft operator to see and avoid other air traffic or objects aloft 
or on the ground.


Sec.  107.5  Falsification, reproduction or alteration.

    (a) No person may make or cause to be made--
    (1) Any fraudulent or intentionally false record or report that is 
required to be made, kept, or used to show compliance with any 
requirement under this part.
    (2) Any reproduction or alteration, for fraudulent purpose, of any 
certificate, rating, authorization, record or report under this part.
    (b) The commission by any person of an act prohibited under 
paragraph (a) of this section is a basis for denying an application for 
certificate, or suspending or revoking the applicable certificate or 
waiver issued by the Administrator under this part and held by that 
person.


Sec.  107.7  Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance.

    (a) An operator or owner of a small unmanned aircraft system must, 
upon request, make available to the Administrator:
    (1) The operator's unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a 
small UAS rating;
    (2) The certificate of aircraft registration for the small unmanned 
aircraft system being operated; and
    (3) Any other document, record, or report required to be kept by an 
operator or owner of a small unmanned aircraft system under the 
regulations of this chapter.
    (b) The operator, visual observer, or owner of a small unmanned 
aircraft system must, upon request, allow the Administrator to make any 
test or inspection of the small unmanned aircraft system, the operator, 
and, if applicable, the visual observer to determine compliance with 
this part.


Sec.  107.9  Accident reporting.

    No later than 10 days after an operation that meets the criteria of 
either paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, an operator must report to 
the nearest Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District 
Office any operation of the small unmanned aircraft that involves the 
following:
    (a) Any injury to any person; or
    (b) Damage to any property, other than the small unmanned aircraft.

Subpart B--Operating Rules


Sec.  107.11  Applicability.

    This subpart applies to the operation of all civil small unmanned 
aircraft systems to which this part applies.


Sec.  107.13  Registration, certification, and airworthiness 
directives.

    No person may operate a civil small unmanned aircraft system for 
purposes of flight unless:
    (a) That person has an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with 
a small UAS rating issued pursuant to subpart C of this part and 
satisfies the requirements of Sec.  107.65;
    (b) The small unmanned aircraft being operated has been registered 
with the FAA pursuant to subpart D of this part;
    (c) The small unmanned aircraft being operated displays its 
registration number in the manner specified in subpart D of this part; 
and
    (d) The owner or operator of the small unmanned aircraft system 
complies with all applicable airworthiness directives.


Sec.  107.15  Civil small unmanned aircraft system airworthiness.

    (a) No person may operate a civil small unmanned aircraft system 
unless it is in a condition for safe operation. This condition must be 
determined during the preflight check required under Sec.  107.49 of 
this part.
    (b) The operator must discontinue the flight when he or she knows 
or has reason to know that continuing the flight would pose a hazard to 
other aircraft, people, or property.


Sec.  107.17  Medical condition.

    No person may act as an operator or visual observer if he or she 
knows or has reason to know that he or she has a physical or mental 
condition that would interfere with the safe operation of a small 
unmanned aircraft system.

[[Page 9587]]

Sec.  107.19  Responsibility of the operator.

    (a) The operator is directly responsible for, and is the final 
authority as to the operation of the small unmanned aircraft system.
    (b) The operator must ensure that the small unmanned aircraft will 
pose no undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property in the 
event of a loss of control of the aircraft for any reason.


Sec.  107.21  Maintenance and inspection.

    An operator must:
    (a) Maintain the system in a condition for safe operation; and
    (b) Inspect the small unmanned aircraft system prior to flight to 
determine that the system it is in a condition for safe operation.


Sec.  107.23  Hazardous operation.

    No person may:
    (a) Operate a small unmanned aircraft system in a careless or 
reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another; or
    (b) Allow an object to be dropped from a small unmanned aircraft if 
such action endangers the life or property of another.


Sec.  107.25  Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft.

    No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system--
    (a) From a moving aircraft; or
    (b) From a moving vehicle unless that vehicle is moving on water.


Sec.  107.27  Alcohol or drugs.

    A person acting as an operator or as a visual observer must comply 
with the provisions of Sec. Sec.  91.17 and 91.19 of this chapter.


Sec.  107.29  Daylight operation.

    No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system except 
between the hours of official sunrise and sunset.


Sec.  107.31  Visual line of sight aircraft operation.

    With vision that is unaided by any device other than corrective 
lenses, the operator or visual observer must be able to see the 
unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to:
    (a) Know the unmanned aircraft's location;
    (b) Determine the unmanned aircraft's attitude, altitude, and 
direction;
    (c) Observe the airspace for other air traffic or hazards; and
    (d) Determine that the unmanned aircraft does not endanger the life 
or property of another.


Sec.  107.33  Visual observer.

    If a visual observer is used during the aircraft operation, all of 
the following requirements must be met:
    (a) The operator and the visual observer must maintain effective 
communication with each other at all times.
    (b) The operator must ensure that the visual observer is able to 
see the unmanned aircraft in the manner specified in Sec. Sec.  107.31 
and 107.37.
    (c) At all times during flight, the small unmanned aircraft must 
remain close enough to the operator for the operator to be capable of 
seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than 
corrective lenses.
    (d) The operator and the visual observer must coordinate to do the 
following:
    (1) Scan the airspace where the small unmanned aircraft is 
operating for any potential collision hazard; and
    (2) Maintain awareness of the position of the small unmanned 
aircraft through direct visual observation.


Sec.  107.35  Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems.

    A person may not act as an operator or visual observer in the 
operation of more than one unmanned aircraft system at the same time.


Sec.  107.37  Operation near aircraft; right-of-way rules.

    (a) Each operator must maintain awareness so as to see and avoid 
other aircraft and vehicles and must yield the right-of-way to all 
aircraft, airborne vehicles, and launch and reentry vehicles.
    (1) In order to maintain awareness so as to see other aircraft and 
vehicles, either the operator or a visual observer must, at each point 
of the small unmanned aircraft's flight, satisfy the criteria specified 
in Sec.  107.31.
    (2) Yielding the right-of-way means that the small unmanned 
aircraft must give way to the aircraft or vehicle and may not pass 
over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear.
    (b) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft so close to 
another aircraft as to create a collision hazard.


Sec.  107.39  Operation over people.

    No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft over a human being 
who is:
    (a) Not directly participating in the operation of the small 
unmanned aircraft; or
    (b) Not located under a covered structure that can provide 
reasonable protection from a falling small unmanned aircraft.


Sec.  107.41  Operation in certain airspace.

    (a) A small unmanned aircraft may not operate in Class A airspace.
    (b) A small unmanned aircraft may not operate in Class B, Class C, 
or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface 
area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless the operator 
has prior authorization from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility 
having jurisdiction over that airspace.


Sec.  107.45  Operation in prohibited or restricted areas.

    No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in prohibited or 
restricted areas unless that person has permission from the using or 
controlling agency, as appropriate.


Sec.  107.47  Flight restrictions in the proximity of certain areas 
designated by notice to airmen.

    No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in areas designated 
in a Notice to Airmen under Sec. Sec.  91.137 through 91.145, or Sec.  
99.7 of this chapter, unless authorized by:
    (a) Air Traffic Control (ATC); or
    (b) A Certificate of Waiver or Authorization issued by the FAA.


Sec.  107.49  Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for 
aircraft operation.

    (a) Prior to flight, the operator must:
    (1) Assess the operating environment, considering risks to persons 
and property in the immediate vicinity both on the surface and in the 
air. This assessment must include:
    (i) Local weather conditions;
    (ii) Local airspace and any flight restrictions;
    (iii) The location of persons and property on the surface; and
    (iv) Other ground hazards.
    (2) Ensure that all persons involved in the small unmanned aircraft 
operation receive a briefing that includes operating conditions, 
emergency procedures, contingency procedures, roles and 
responsibilities, and potential hazards;
    (3) Ensure that all links between ground station and the small 
unmanned aircraft are working properly; and
    (4) If the small unmanned aircraft is powered, ensure that there is 
enough available power for the small unmanned aircraft system to 
operate for the intended operational time and to operate after that for 
at least five minutes.
    (b) Each person involved in the operation must perform the duties 
assigned by the operator.

[[Page 9588]]

Sec.  107.51  Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft.

    An operator must comply with all of the following operating 
limitations when operating a small unmanned aircraft system:
    (a) The airspeed of the small unmanned aircraft may not exceed 87 
knots (100 miles per hour) calibrated airspeed at full power in level 
flight;
    (b) The altitude of the small unmanned aircraft cannot be higher 
than 500 feet (150 meters) above ground level;
    (c) The minimum flight visibility, as observed from the location of 
the ground control station must be no less than 3 statute miles (5 
kilometers); and
    (d) The minimum distance of the small unmanned aircraft from clouds 
must be no less than:
    (1) 500 feet (150 meters) below the cloud; and
    (2) 2,000 feet (600 meters) horizontally away from the cloud.

Subpart C--Operator Certification


Sec.  107.53  Applicability.

    This subpart prescribes the requirements for issuing an unmanned 
aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating.


Sec.  107.57  Offenses involving alcohol or drugs.

    (a) A conviction for the violation of any Federal or State statute 
relating to the growing, processing, manufacture, sale, disposition, 
possession, transportation, or importation of narcotic drugs, 
marijuana, or depressant or stimulant drugs or substances is grounds 
for:
    (1) Denial of an application for an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating for a period of up to 1 year after 
the date of final conviction; or
    (2) Suspension or revocation of an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating.
    (b) Committing an act prohibited by Sec.  91.17(a) or Sec.  
91.19(a) of this chapter is grounds for:
    (1) Denial of an application for an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating for a period of up to 1 year after 
the date of that act; or
    (2) Suspension or revocation of an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating.


Sec.  107.59  Refusal to submit to an alcohol test or to furnish test 
results.

    A refusal to submit to a test to indicate the percentage by weight 
of alcohol in the blood, when requested by a law enforcement officer in 
accordance with Sec.  91.17(c) of this chapter, or a refusal to furnish 
or authorize the release of the test results requested by the 
Administrator in accordance with Sec.  91.17(c) or (d) of this chapter, 
is grounds for:
    (a) Denial of an application for an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating for a period of up to 1 year after 
the date of that refusal; or
    (b) Suspension or revocation of an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating.


Sec.  107.61  Eligibility.

    Subject to the provisions of Sec. Sec.  107.57 and 107.59, in order 
to be eligible for an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a 
small UAS rating under this subpart, a person must:
    (a) Be at least 17 years of age;
    (b) Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English 
language. If the applicant is unable to meet one of these requirements 
due to medical reasons, the FAA may place such operating limitations on 
that applicant's certificate as are necessary for the safe operation of 
the small unmanned aircraft;
    (c) Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test covering the areas 
of knowledge specified in Sec.  107.73(a); and
    (d) Not know or have reason to know that he or she has a physical 
or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of a 
small unmanned aircraft system.


Sec.  107.63  Issuance of an unmanned aircraft operator certificate 
with a small UAS rating.

    An applicant for an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a 
small UAS rating under this subpart must make the application in a form 
and manner acceptable to the Administrator.
    (a) The application must include:
    (1) An airman knowledge test report showing that the applicant 
passed an initial aeronautical knowledge test, or recurrent 
aeronautical knowledge test for those individuals that satisfy the 
requirements of Sec.  107.75; and
    (2) A certification signed by the applicant stating that the 
applicant does not know or have reason to know that he or she has a 
physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe 
operation of a small unmanned aircraft system.
    (b) The application must be submitted to a Flight Standards 
District Office, a designated pilot examiner, an airman certification 
representative for a pilot school, a certified flight instructor, or 
other person authorized by the Administrator. The person accepting the 
application submission must verify the identity of the applicant in a 
manner acceptable to the Administrator.


Sec.  107.65  Aeronautical knowledge recency.

    A person may not operate a small unmanned aircraft system unless 
that person has completed one of the following, within the previous 24 
calendar months:
    (a) Passed an initial aeronautical knowledge test covering the 
areas of knowledge specified in Sec.  107.73(a); or
    (b) Passed a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test covering the 
areas of knowledge specified in Sec.  107.73(b).


Sec.  107.67  Knowledge tests: General procedures and passing grades.

    (a) Knowledge tests prescribed by or under this part are given at 
times and places, and by persons designated by the Administrator.
    (b) An applicant for a knowledge test must have proper 
identification at the time of application that contains the 
applicant's:
    (1) Photograph;
    (2) Signature;
    (3) Date of birth, which shows the applicant meets or will meet the 
age requirements of this part for the certificate sought before the 
expiration date of the airman knowledge test report; and
    (4) If the permanent mailing address is a post office box number, 
then the applicant must provide a current residential address.
    (c) The minimum passing grade for the knowledge test will be 
specified by the Administrator.


Sec.  107.69  Knowledge tests: Cheating or other unauthorized conduct.

    (a) An applicant for a knowledge test may not:
    (1) Copy or intentionally remove any knowledge test;
    (2) Give to another applicant or receive from another applicant any 
part or copy of a knowledge test;
    (3) Give assistance on, or receive assistance on, a knowledge test 
during the period that test is being given;
    (4) Take any part of a knowledge test on behalf of another person;
    (5) Be represented by, or represent, another person for a knowledge 
test;
    (6) Use any material or aid during the period that the test is 
being given, unless specifically authorized to do so by the 
Administrator; and
    (7) Intentionally cause, assist, or participate in any act 
prohibited by this paragraph.
    (b) An applicant who the Administrator finds has committed an act 
prohibited by paragraph (a) of this section is prohibited, for 1 year 
after the date of committing that act, from:
    (1) Applying for any certificate, rating, or authorization issued 
under this chapter; and

[[Page 9589]]

    (2) Applying for and taking any test under this chapter.
    (c) Any certificate or rating held by an applicant may be suspended 
or revoked if the Administrator finds that person has committed an act 
prohibited by paragraph (a) of this section.


Sec.  107.71  Retesting after failure.

    An applicant for a knowledge test who fails that test may not 
reapply for the test for 14 calendar days after failing the test.


Sec.  107.73  Initial and recurrent knowledge tests.

    (a) An initial aeronautical knowledge test covers the following 
areas of knowledge:
    (1) Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft 
system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation;
    (2) Airspace classification and operating requirements, obstacle 
clearance requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small 
unmanned aircraft operation;
    (3) Official sources of weather and effects of weather on small 
unmanned aircraft performance;
    (4) Small unmanned aircraft system loading and performance;
    (5) Emergency procedures;
    (6) Crew resource management;
    (7) Radio communication procedures;
    (8) Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft;
    (9) Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol;
    (10) Aeronautical decision-making and judgment; and
    (11) Airport operations.
    (b) A recurrent aeronautical knowledge test covers the following 
areas of knowledge:
    (1) Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft 
system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation;
    (2) Airspace classification and operating requirements, obstacle 
clearance requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small 
unmanned aircraft operation;
    (3) Official sources of weather;
    (4) Emergency procedures;
    (5) Crew resource management;
    (6) Aeronautical decision-making and judgment; and
    (7) Airport operations.


Sec.  107.75  Military pilots or former military pilots.

    (a) General. Except for a person who has been removed from unmanned 
aircraft flying status for lack of proficiency or because of a 
disciplinary action involving any aircraft operation, a U.S. military 
unmanned aircraft pilot or operator or former U.S. military unmanned 
aircraft pilot or operator who meets the requirements of this section 
may apply, on the basis of his or her U.S. military unmanned aircraft 
pilot or operator qualifications, for an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with small UAS rating issued under this part.
    (b) Military unmanned aircraft pilots or operators and former 
military unmanned aircraft pilots or operators in the U.S. Armed 
Forces. A person who qualifies as a U.S. military unmanned aircraft 
pilot or operator or former U.S. military unmanned aircraft pilot or 
operator may apply for an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a 
small UAS rating if that person--
    (1) Passes a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test covering the 
areas of knowledge specified in Sec.  107.73(b); and
    (2) Presents evidentiary documents that show:
    (i) The person's status in the U.S. Armed Forces;
    (ii) That the person is or was a U.S. military unmanned aircraft 
pilot or operator.


Sec.  107.77  Change of name or address.

    (a) Change of Name. An application to change the name on a 
certificate issued under this subpart must be accompanied by the 
applicant's:
    (1) Operator certificate; and
    (2) A copy of the marriage license, court order, or other document 
verifying the name change.
    (b) The documents in paragraph (a) of this section will be returned 
to the applicant after inspection.
    (c) Change of address. The holder of an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate issued under this subpart who has made a change in 
permanent mailing address may not, after 30 days from that date, 
exercise the privileges of the certificate unless the holder has 
notified the FAA of the change in address using one of the following 
methods:
    (1) By letter to the FAA Airman Certification Branch, P.O. Box 
25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125 providing the new permanent mailing 
address, or if the permanent mailing address includes a post office box 
number, then the holder's current residential address; or
    (2) By using the FAA Web site portal at www.faa.gov providing the 
new permanent mailing address, or if the permanent mailing address 
includes a post office box number, then the holder's current 
residential address.


Sec.  107.79  Voluntary surrender of certificate.

    (a) The holder of a certificate issued under this subpart may 
voluntarily surrender it for cancellation.
    (b) Any request made under paragraph (a) of this section must 
include the following signed statement or its equivalent: ``I 
voluntarily surrender my unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a 
small UAS rating for cancellation. This request is made for my own 
reasons, with full knowledge that my certificate will not be reissued 
to me unless I again complete the requirements specified in Sec. Sec.  
107.61 and 107.63.''

Subpart D--Small Unmanned Aircraft Registration and Identification


Sec.  107.87  Applicability.

    This subpart prescribes the rules governing the registration and 
identification of all civil small unmanned aircraft to which this part 
applies.


Sec.  107.89  Registration and identification.

    (a) All small unmanned aircraft must be registered in accordance 
with part 47 of this chapter.
    (b) All small unmanned aircraft must display their nationality and 
registration marks in accordance with the requirements of subpart C of 
part 45 of this chapter.

PART 183--REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ADMINISTRATOR

0
20. The authority citation for part 183 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 31 U.S.C. 9701; 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40113, 
44702, 45303.

0
21. Amend Sec.  183.23 by revising paragraphs (b) and (c) and adding 
paragraph (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  183.23  Pilot examiners.

* * * * *
    (b) Under the general supervision of the appropriate local Flight 
Standards Inspector, conduct those tests;
    (c) In the discretion of the appropriate local Flight Standards 
Inspector, issue temporary pilot certificates and ratings to qualified 
applicants; and
    (d) Accept an application for an unmanned aircraft operator 
certificate with a small UAS rating and verify the identity of the 
applicant in a form and manner acceptable to the Administrator.

    Issued under the authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40101 
note; and Sec. 333 of

[[Page 9590]]

Public Law 112-95, in Washington, DC, on February 15, 2015.
Anthony R. Foxx,
Secretary of Transportation.
Michael P. Huerta,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-03544 Filed 2-18-15; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P