Part 2: The Laws & Licensing Required for Including Drones in Your Business
In Part 1, we discussed the potential benefits of using drone technology in the roofing industry. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as buying a drone online, opening the package, and flying it at your next job. Although the FAA has updated the regulations to make it possible for companies to legally use drones, there are still processes and procedures to follow. In addition to the FAA regulations, certain state and local laws may also apply to your use of drone technology. Learning about the rules and risks is the first step toward including drones in your business, and GAF is here to help!
The FAA has put into effect Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, which defines the rules for any drone usage that is not recreational or hobby-flying (defined as enjoyment and not for work, business purposes, or for compensation or hire). This means if you’re using a drone in coordination with any work, you must adhere to FAA rules and regulations, including the following:
- Obtain a remote pilot certificate that includes an aeronautical knowledge test
- Register your drone
- Check airspace regulations
- Administer pre-flight check
- Follow other operational rules, including:
- Drone must weigh less than 55 pounds
- Must operate within a visual line-of-sight (VLOS); first-person-view technology is not acceptable
- Operate only in daylight hours
- Maximum groundspeed of 100 mph
- Must yield right-of-way to all other aircraft
- May operate in Class G airspace without ATC permission; other airspace is restricted
- Maximum height 400 feet above ground level (may be higher if within 400 feet of a structure)
- Restricts flight over persons not involved in drone operation unless they are in a covered structure or vehicle
6. Please visit the FAA website for a complete understanding of the FAA’s rule and regulations.
- Failure to follows these rules and regulations could result in significant criminal and civil fines, penalties, and imprisonment
- According to the FAA’s guidance, failure to register a drone for commercial usage could result in civil fines of $27,500 and criminal fines of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 3 years
Fortunately, the FAA has put together a great deal of information to help people understand and follow these regulations. Here are a few helpful FAA links:
- • https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/ – UAS FAQ’s
- • FAA drone rules and regulations (pdf)
- • FAA test centers (pdf)
- • Remote pilot study guide (pdf)
Make sure you’re covered: Many insurers do not cover drone flights but there are other companies or policies that may be available. Be sure to check your liability insurance before flying a drone. Talk to your providers and make sure you are covered before operating!
The Last Word:
We at GAF walk the talk. We had one of our CARE trainers, Brian Cornelius, take the test and he passed! Here’s what he said about the experience: “The test was challenging but easily passable if you do a little bit of homework and studying. There are lots of paid training classes available and paid apps that can help, but I simply downloaded the free study guide from the FAA and read the FAA part 107 summary. Do a little bit of studying and you’ll be fine.”
So start studying and be sure to fly by the rules! That way, you can enjoy the many benefits of using drone technology to bring added safety, accuracy, and savings to the roofing industry.
Please note that the materials and information included in this blog post are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice, not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney and should not be acted upon as such. You should not act upon any of the information contained at this blog post without first seeking qualified professional counsel for your specific needs and you should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The information presented in this blog post may not be current and is subject to change without notice.