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Commercial Operators

​​​​​​​​​​​ What is a Commercial Operator?

Commerical Drone Use
A person or company using unmanned aircraft system/drone technology for compensation or business purposes is considered to be a commercial operator. 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 drone, drone-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 drone operation is commercial. The drone was used for business purposes.

Federal Restrictions & Requirements

Please note: After Dec. 1, 2024, North Carolina will no longer require commercial and government drone operators to obtain an N.C. permit​.

  • Commercial operators can operate drones under 14 CFR Part 107, also known as the Small UAS Rule. The rule requires the person operating a small unmanned aircraft system to either hold a remote pilot airman certificate 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).

    There are 16 testing locations in North Carolina for commercial operators who want to take the Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate Exam.

  • Commercial operators can also operate drones under an exemption authorized under Section 333 of the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. 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 drone operator may apply for a federal Special Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA.


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    Register Your Drone With the FAA

    Drones and unmanned aircraft systems weighing between .55 pounds and 55 pounds must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration.

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    UAS Knowledge Test Study Guide

    A study guide for the N.C. Department of Transportation's UAS knowledge test for commercial and governmental operators.

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    UAS Knowledge Test & Permitting

    Testing required for a permit to ensure that commercial and government operators understand and comply with laws regulating drone usage in North Carolina.


7/9/2024 3:11 PM