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Commercial Drone Pilots

There are four requirements for use of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in the course of business:

  1. a Section 333 grant of exemption,
  2. a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA),
  3. an aircraft registered with the FAA, and
  4. a pilot with an FAA airman certificate

A Section 333 registration includes a “blanket Certificate of Authorization.” This is a 200-foot, nationwide COA with certain restrictions around airports, restricted airspace, and other densely populated areas. Pilots desiring operation outside the blanket COA need to apply for a specific COA describing their flight needs.  

COA applications must include a Section 333 exemption number and UAV registration number, so apply for those first.

Commercial UAV registration is similar to recreational registration and can be completed at registration numbers are issued for individual UAV’s. Each UAV receives its own number and number cost $5 each. Registration is required for U.S. citizens and some corporations.

The Pilot in Command of the UAV must have at least a Sport Pilot Certificate and an FAA Airman Medical Certificate or valid U.S. Driver's License.