What is a Commercial Operator?
A person or company using UAS/drone technology for compensation or business purposes. This includes any person or company using a drone in any way to advertise, promote or demonstrate a product or service – even if the product or service itself does not include a UAS, UAS-derived photography, etc.
For example, if a real estate agent uses a drone to photograph a property in order to advertise or promote that real estate for sale or lease, then that UAS operation is commercial: the UAS was used for business purposes.
Federal Restrictions & Requirements
- Commercial UAS/drone operators can operate under 14 CFR Part 107, also known as the Small UAS Rule, as of August 29th, 2016. Under this rule, the person operating a small UAS must either hold a remote pilot airman certifcate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who does hold a remote pilot certificate (remote pilot in command).
- Commercial UAS/drone operators can also continue to opreate under a Section 333 Exemption from the federal government. This is a case-by-case exemption that must be applied for and approved by the FAA.
- As an alternative to operating under Part 107 or a Section 333 Exemption, a UAS operator may apply for a federal Special Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA.
North Carolina Restrictions & Requirements
- Commercial operators must take and pass NCDOT's UAS Knowledge Test and then apply for a state permit.
- To obtain a permit, operators must provide the state proof of their remote pilot certifcate or other authorization to conduct commercial UAS operations from the FAA (see Federal above).
- Permitted operators agree to these Terms & Conditions.
Additional Operator Types