Flying a Drone in the US: What you need to know.

All drone pilots must have a license and must have permission to fly in the US Airspace! These are federal rules so let me explain.

Freeland is in the MBS Airspace

There are two types of licenses you can get from the FAA in order to fly your drone legally anywhere in the US. They are called, “Recreational” and “Part 107”

In our last post we spoke about two things which define these licenses… the purpose of the flight and the weight of the drone. People who make money with their drone are considered “Part 107.” People who are flying for fun are considered “Recreational.” Regardless of the reason we are flying, we are required to follow the FAA rules. These rules are in place to provide safe use of the national airspace.

Commercial Certification

Now, don’t let all the jargon wig you out. It’s really pretty simple.

If we wanted to look at all the drone laws and regs, we would grab a massive book called The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and turn to Section 107. “Part 107” refers to that section of the FAA Rules and Regulations which apply to commercial drone operations. The crazy thing is, that section is only about 15 pages long! So, if a person is flying a drone commercially, they would be flying in accordance with all the regulations presented in that little Part 107 of the CFR… easy peasy. For a “Recreational Flyer” it gets even easier. More on that in a moment.

Commercial means that if you make ANY money as a result of your drone flying, the FAA considers that activity as a commercial flight or operation and it falls under the Part 107 rules. This definition can get a little tricky! Some YouTubers who publish drone videos, just for fun, are being contacted by the FAA because their YouTube channel is monetized. What does that mean? It just means that YouTube pays commissions because an ad was presented during the video and the FAA considers that “earning money” from a drone operation. Bear in mind, I am only reporting what my fellow droners are reporting and what I have heard FAA personnel say in seminars. Make sure you understand the rules on this one.

If you want to fly for money, you MUST fly under the Part 107 rules and you MUST be a licensed drone pilot! The good news is, it is not difficult to get that license. You will need study and take an FAA test. I go over everything here at if you are interested, but it is not hard and the things you learn are pretty amazing.

Recreational Certification

If we are NOT flying a drone for money, we would be flying as a “Recreational” flyer. If you only plan to fly recreationally, guess what… you still need a certificate for that type of flying too! This is called the TRUST Certificate and it is super easy to get. To get a TRUST Certificate, you take a very short class online and complete about 6 short modules. At the end of each module, you answer a few multiple choice questions about the material you just read then, you move on to the next module. My last student completed the entire class and test in about 30 minutes.

After you pass the test, you will be given a link to download your spiffy new TRUST Certificate. You should print that out, laminate it and carry with you to impress your friends, family, law enforcement and any FAA Inspector who might be passing by. Again, all the info is available at

So, bottom line. If we are flying in the US, we need a license. If we are flying in Freeland… there’s even more we need to do. We’ll begin discussing that next week.

For all the interesting details about Recreation Flying, visit the FAA Website and take a look at this advisory… it’s super helpful.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *