FAA Drone Zone website gets a makeover

In some recent social media posts, the FAA Drone Zone announced that they are doing a redesign to make the website more visually appealing and easier to use. On Monday, the new design was opened to users.

US drone rules can be complicated

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all commercial UAS operators to obtain a remote pilot license under Part 107 of the FAA regulations. To be eligible for a UAS Part 107 license, an applicant must be at least 16 years of age, demonstrate proficiency in English, have adequate physical and mental capacity to operate a UAS safely, pass a written test of aeronautical knowledge and go through a Transport Security Administration background check.

But, if you’re flying a drone just for fun, different rules apply. Recreational UAS operators are not required to obtain a Part 107 license, although they must follow the same rules as commercial operators when it comes to flying their aircraft beyond line of sight . To do this, users must register any drone weighing more than 250 g (0.55 lb) and pass a simple test, called the TRUST test.

New FAA rules allowing UAS operations on people or at night without asking for a special exemption went into effect in December 2020, but only Part 107-certified operators can use them. So in some cases it makes more sense in some cases to get the 107 license anyway (which you can still use to fly for fun between commercial gigs).

These two sets of regulations have confused some drone operators. So the previous version of the Drone Zone website opened with two big links, one for commercial operators and one for recreational operators. But, if you’re a new owner and unsure which set of rules apply, this wasn’t really the easiest way to start. For example, what if you’re just going to learn to fly for now and want to become a commercial later? Or what if you take photos just for fun, but then decide to sell a photo you took for fun to a magazine later?

The new approach to the FAA Drone Zone

Instead of forcing users to make this choice as soon as they arrive at the Drone Zone website, the FAA redesigned the website. From what I can see, my operator dashboard for part 107 hasn’t changed, but what happens before that has changed to make things easier, especially for new visitors who just got a drone for Christmas or something.

Although it looks like they are still changing things up, most of the website focuses on the tasks a person might have to do instead of focusing on the regulatory system that applies to them. You can choose to register a drone, download the B4UFly app and do other things, and the website will send you to the right place.

If you go further they give more information on what the website is, what you can do with it, and also give you a link to help you determine if you will need a Part 107 license to do what you seek. TO DO.

Is this a revolutionary difference in the website? Not really. But it will be a little more useful for people who are getting into electric aviation.

Featured image: DJI press photo.


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