Skypan-FAA settlement to reshape entire drone industry.
Night-time flying in the U.S. post Part 107
1st August 2016
Are you a pilot who has applied for these waivers? We’d love to hear how easy it was to obtain them and what sort of operations you have carried out using them? There will be a comparison article covering night flights in the U.K. to follow soon.
"it allows pilots to carry out regular work but during times when areas are less populated"
There is a range of work which can be carried most effectively at night; building heat-loss surveys using infrared detectors, rescue and emergency work and construction sites surveying. Additionally, it allows pilots to carry out regular work but during times when areas are less populated by either people, vehicles or air traffic.
Interestingly, a huge benefit is offered to pilots who have been offered last-minute work but have no time to gain the appropriate airspace waivers and/or authorisation. To resolve this, pilots can gain the 107 night waiver and operate outwith the airport’s operating hours, effectively turning the airspace from Class D to Class G.
Thanks to the advent of the FAA’s Part 107 commercial drone pilot licensing, flying at night is now a very attainable operation for all qualified commercial drone pilots in the United States. Providing your drone is equipped accordingly and your operations are documented accordingly, your local FAA office should be able to grant you the permissions required. The FAA requires Part 107 Night Waivers for generally fundamental reasons, whereby visual line of sight is impaired and ground hazards are not visible. Further problems are highlights, whereby GPS positioning is not a requirement for a legally compliant drone, and therefore reference points in the dark which pilots must use as positioning are less visible creating limited perception.
For flying during times considered to by night, the 107 Night Waiver requires that pilots use “anti-collision lights” which are visible for at least three miles. These must ensure that the drone’s distance, height and orientation by the pilot without any use of visual aid on the ground. It should be noted that a Part 107 waiver is not required 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset, but your lights are still required.
This activity is debated quite widely in multiple forums, between both commercial, hobbiest and model aircraft pilots. The rules are clear, but as ever, it’s a case of finding them within the extensive volumes of Air Law. The part they are looking for is Part 107.29, with sections A, B and C covering the aforementioned conditions.
In terms of practical uses of gaining a night waver, pilots are capitalising on night time operations. In the three months following Part 107’s publicaition, 97% of all waiver requests were for nighttime operations.
"In the three months following Part 107’s publication, 97% of all waiver requests were for nighttime operations. "
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