Top 5 “Need to Know” sUAV Facts!

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 This is a “need to know” list of SUAV facts composed by Gowdy Brothers Aerospace created to help you comply with the FAA’s regulations, keep you updated on the latest SUAV news, and to guide you through the next steps into the upcoming changing requirements.

1. Night Flight

Unfortunately, night flight is not presently allowed.  All drone operation, both commercial and hobbyist, must occur in daylight hours under clear meteorological operating conditions.  This is specifically stated in FAA’s Article 15 of a granted 333’s Conditions & Limitations. Moreover, flights with drones under Special Visual Flight Rules (SVFR) are not permitted.

The definition of “night” can be found in Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 1, stating, “night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, converted to local time.”

2. Operating a Drone from a Moving Vehicle

Gowdy Brothers Aerospace regulatory consultants have had many conversations with the FAA about the legality of operating a drone from a vehicle as a means to maintain the requirement for visual line of sight (VLOS), while enabling the pilot in control (PIC) and his/her visual observer (VO) to cover larger distances.

This would enable a much more efficient and cost-effective alternative to more traditional manned aircraft inspection, especially for applications to inspect linear infrastructure like power lines or oil pipelines.

Unfortunately, the FAA currently forbids this activity.  The FAA’s Article 25 of a granted 333’s Conditions & Limitations is explicitly clear  “The UAS may not be operated by the PIC from any moving device for vehicle.”  No operation from a moving vehicle is permitted.

3.Current Drone Pilot License Requirements

Before getting into the particulars, it is noteworthy that “a pilot’s certificate is required for operation, but not required to apply for – and be granted – a 333 Exemption.”  So having a 333 Exemption does not necessarily allow you to operate a drone.

On the other hand, holding a FAA issued pilot’s license does not allow you to fly a drone for commercial purposes either.

These are not mutually exclusive – both are needed. A pilot’s license is required to operate a drone for commercial purposes.

According to the FAA’s Article 13 of a granted 333’s Conditions & Limitations“Under this grant of exemption, a PIC [Pilot in Command] must hold either an airline transport, commercial, private, recreational, or sport pilot certificate… The PIC must also meet the flight review requirements specified in 14 CFR § 61.56 in an aircraft in which the PIC is rated on his or her pilot certificate.”

All commercially operated drones must be operated by an FAA-certified pilot.

4. The Current 32 Regulations

The standard current rules under the 333 include certifications, operations and situations relevant to your drone circumstances and flights.  This list of regulations will be given to you from the FAA once you’ve received your exemption.

The FAA states “failure to comply with any of the conditions and limitations of this grant of exemption will be grounds for the immediate suspension or rescission of this exemption.”

So it’s important to uphold the requirements. Here is a link to the list on our website labeled “FAA Section 333 Example” .

5. Part 107 Information

The “Summary of Major Provisions of Proposed Part 107” is an article from the FAA with information about Part 107.

Here are the following provisions being proposed in the FAA’s Small UAS NPRM.

Within the “Operational Limitations” section, it includes reference to speed, time, visibility, and inspection regulations.

  • The “Operator Certification and Responsibilities” section refers to requirements to pilot age, the knowledge test, and reporting flights to the FAA.
  • The “Aircraft Requirements” section details preflight checks and n-number displays.
  • The “Model Aircraft” section explains aircraft criteria and NAS safety.
  • If you would like to see the detailed summary list of Part 107, GowdyBrothers has posted it to our website titled “Overview of Proposed Part 107”:

Thank You!

GowdyBrothers will keep you well informed through all of the FAA’s upcoming changes and development. Our goal is to have all of our clients flying legally and safely, updated on the regulations and prepared for the future.


Thank you for your continued trust and business!  We look forward to helping you grow your business and please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. Forward this email to friends or colleagues who could benefit from this newsletter as well!


DISCLAIMER: Communication of information by, in, to or through Gowdy Brothers Aerospace’s site, email communications, and newsletters is (1) is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice, and (2) is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney.   You should not act upon any such information without first seeking qualified professional counsel on your specific matter.

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