333 Exemption Or Part 107 ?
” Launching a commercial operation in a new (and highly regulated) market requires calculated choices about business goals, the regulatory environment, the competitive landscape, and timing.
For the past four years, the FAA has required commercial drone operators in the United States to have a 333 Exemption. This has been a major regulatory hurdle for early adopters and business innovators.
But, the FAA is expected to finalize formal rules for commercial UAVs in late spring. Titled Part 107, the new rules are expected to lower the barrier to entry for new commercial drone programs.
So, if you are on the verge of launching a commercial drone operation today, you have a few choices:
- Operate without permission from the FAA
- Apply for a 333 Exemption from the FAA
- Wait for the FAA to finalize formal rules (Part 107)
Recently, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced that formal rules allowing commercial drone operations would be finalized in late spring. Part 107 will still require businesses to comply with operational requirements.
The most recent Section 333 Exemptions have taken about six months to be approved. So it’s possible that, if you apply for an Exemption now, you may find that the FAA publishes Part 107 before your Exemption is approved. For many businesspeople, that would feel like a waste of time and money.
While the FAA has historically failed to meet Congressional deadlines, Administrator Huerta’s announcement and the rule under review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the White House is a positive indication that the FAA may in fact deliver a rule this spring. “