Part 107 vs CoA (Certificate of Authorization)

There are two FAA-sanctioned regulatory frameworks that Public Agencies can operate under: Part 107 and Certificates of Authorization. There are advantages to both frameworks, but Darley recommends that all public safety operations establish their drone programs under a Certificate of Authorization when possible.

What are the rules for someone with a Part 107?

Anyone with a Part 107 is categorized as “Civil Aircraft Operations.” The pilot with the 107 certificate is responsible for operations. not the agency. Only allowed to fly during the daytime unless they receive a night time waver. Needs permission to fly in B, C, D and E airspace for every flight in those airspaces . Allows for flight up to 400 feet above ground level. Allows for operation within line of sight of the operator.

Application Requirements

Each pilot must pass a “Remote Pilot in Charge” test every 2 years. This test is $150 dollars to take and must be taken at an approved facility.

Part 107 Summary

Part 107 pilots will be responsible for their training and each operation they perform. If an organization only has one part 107 pilot and that pilot is unable to perform an operation the drone is effectively grounded. In addition, pilots with Part 107s will have to take a test every 2 years to reapply.

Chicago airspace map
Messy desk

What are the rules for someone with a Certificate of Authorization?

Organizations with a Certificate of Authorization have their pilots categorized as “Public Aircraft Operations.” The organization holds the CoA, not the individual pilots. CoA allows for nighttime flight with permission. Allows for pre-approval to fly in B, C, D, and E airspace. Allows for flight up to 400 feet above ground level. Allows for operation within line of sight of the operator.

Application Requirements

Public Declaration Letter. Self-certify that their pilots have completed training. Self-certify that pilots are medically fit to fly. Documents, Policies, and procedures are given to the FAA by the organization or consulting company.

CoA Summary

The CoA is given to an organization, not an individual, which means anyone in the organization can be a pilot if they completed the necessary training. Organizations will be required to do a lot more leg work in getting a CoA than for an individual Part 107. Despite the extra short-term work, a Certificate will be less work to maintain long term than individual Part 107s.

Which one should we choose?

Choosing between Part 107 and a Certificate of Authorization is a big decision. A Certificate of Authorization requires more upfront work but is easier to maintain in the long run than requiring pilots to get part 107s. We recommend organizations get a Certificate of Authorization despite the extra work.

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