NBAA Warns of Commercial UAS Violations

The National Business Aviation Association is expressing concerns about the “unwelcome matter” of recreational operators flying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial use. The association fears this practice has been growing since the FAA’s issuance of Part 107 regulations, which require remote operation certification for commercial UAS operators.

Issued in 2016, the regulations define commercial use as activities involving both direct financial compensation and indirect financial benefit. “This is different than the long-held distinction between Part 91 and Part 135 operations,” said Sarah Wolf, NBAA senior manager of security and facilitation. “Not only are for-hire drone operations considered commercial under Part 107, any not-for-hire drone operations in support of a business are also considered commercial.”

Examples include a home inspector who uses a UAS to check out the condition of a roof or a landscaper who takes pictures of jobs completed for use in advertising. "If the drone’s mission serves any business purpose, that’s commercial under Part 107, even if no money changes hands to pay for the flight,” Wolf said.

Brent Terwilliger, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University program chair for unmanned and autonomous systems engineering and chairman of NBAA's UAS subcommittee, told the association that violators frequently are unaware of Part 107 certification requirements. But some knowingly skirt the rules, he added. “Those operators undercut responsible Part 107 operators who paid to become certified and have insurance and other overhead expenses."