Chapter 25 UAS Regulations in Detail


The introduction of 14 CFR 107 enabled a wide range of small UAS usage under a set of defined limitations. A Compliance List for 14 CFR 107 is provided below.

25.1.1 Operator Requirements

  • A person operating an sUAS must either

  • A person may not operate an sUAS if he or she knows or has reason to know of any physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of an sUAS.

  • Foreign nationals are allowed to operate under Part 107 if they satisfy the requirements of 14 CFR 375. Typical allowances:

    • Non-commercial operations
    • Recreational activity
    • Specific research activities
    • Foreign nationals from Canada or Mexico (Order 97-7-3, FAA)

25.1.2 Aircraft Requirements

  • Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).
  • Unmanned aircraft must be registered with either a ‘N’ number or an ‘FA’ number (Under 14 CFR 47 or 48).
  • Unmanned aircraft must be inspected prior to flight by the remote pilot in command.

25.1.3 Airspace Requirements

  • Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without Air Traffic Control permission.
  • Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with an Airspace Authorization or Airspace Waiver. Operating limitations are specified within a COA (Form 7711) provided by the FAA.

25.1.4 Operating Limitations

Note: The unmanned aircraft must always remain within VLOS of the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the sUAS, even if they are not directly looking at it at every instance.

  • At all times the sUAS must remain close enough to the RPIC and the person manipulating the flight controls of the sUAS for those people to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.

Note: First-Person View cameras do not satisfy VLOS or visual contact regulations, but may be used.

  • An sUAS may not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary vehicle.

Note: Prior notice and/or consent is not sufficient.

  • Daylight-only operations, or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting.
  • Maximum groundspeed of 100 mph (87 knots).
  • Maximum altitude of 400 feet AGL or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a structure.
  • Minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from control station.
  • No person may act as a RPIC or Visual Observer for more than one unmanned aircraft operation at one time.
  • No operations from a moving aircraft.
  • No operations from a moving vehicle unless the operation is over a sparsely populated area.
  • No careless or reckless operations.
  • No carriage of hazardous materials.
  • External load operations are allowed if the object being carried by the unmanned aircraft is securely attached and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.
  • Transportation of property for compensation or hire allowed provided that-
    • The aircraft, including its attached systems, payload and cargo weigh less than 55 pounds total;
    • The flight is conducted within visual line of sight and not from a moving vehicle or aircraft; and
    • The flight occurs wholly within the bounds of a State and does not involve transport between (1) Hawaii and another place in Hawaii through airspace outside Hawaii; (2) the District of Columbia and another place in the District of Columbia; or (3) a territory or possession of the United States and another place in the same territory or possession.

25.2 Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft

A person may operate a small UAS without specific certification or operating authority from the FAA if the operation adheres to all of the following limitations:

  • The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational purposes.
  • The aircraft is operated in accordance with or within the programming of a community-based organization’s set of safety guidelines that are developed in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-located and in direct communication with the operator.
  • The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.
  • In Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, the operator obtains prior authorization from the Administrator or designee before operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.
  • In Class G airspace, the aircraft is flown from the surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.
  • The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test described in subsection (g) and maintains proof of test passage to be made available to the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.
  • The aircraft is registered and marked in accordance with chapter 441 of this title and proof of registration is made available to the Administrator or a designee of the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.

25.2.1 Definition of Hobby or Recreational Use

Hobby or recreational use is defined as

  • Operated for fun or outside of one’s regular occupation
  • Operated in furtherance of one’s education at an accredited educational institution

Activities that do not qualify for Model Aircraft Regulations

  • Commercial activity with compensation
  • Commercial activity without compensation
  • Activity in furtherance of a business

25.2.2 Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Institutions of Higher Education

For the purposes of the exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft, a ‘recreational purpose’ shall include an unmanned aircraft system operated by an institution of higher education for educational or research purposes.

Educational or Research purposes includes

  • Instruction of students at the institution;
  • Academic or research related uses of unmanned aircraft systems that have been approved by the institution, including Federal Research;
  • Activities undertaken by the institution as part of research projects, including research projects sponsored by the Federal Government; and
  • Other academic activities approved by the institution

25.2.3 Definition of Community-based organization set of safety guidelines

A Community-Based Organization means a membership-based association entity that

  • is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
  • is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
  • the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance of model aviation;
  • provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe aeromodelling operations within the national airspace system and the protection and safety of individuals and property on the ground, and may provide a comprehensive set of safety rules and programming for the operation of unmanned aircraft that have the advanced flight capabilities enabling active, sustained, and controlled navigation of the aircraft beyond visual line of sight of the operator;
  • provides programming and support for any local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and
  • provides assistance and support in the development and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying sites.

The FAA has interpreted this statement as community-based organizations would include groups such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics and others that meet the statuary definition.

25.3 Representative Safety Code

Reprinted from Academy of Model Aeronautics Safety Code:

Academy of Model Aeronautics
National Model Aircraft Safety Code
Effective January 1, 2018

A model aircraft is a non-human-carrying device capable of sustained flight within visual line of sight of the pilot or spotter(s). It may not exceed limitations of this code and is intended exclusively for sport, recreation, education and/or competition. All model flights must be conducted in accordance with this safety code and related AMA guidelines, any additional rules specific to the flying site, as well as all applicable laws and regulations. As an AMA member I agree:

  • I will not fly a model aircraft in a careless or reckless manner.
  • I will not interfere with and will yield the right of way to all human-carrying aircraft using AMA’s See and Avoid Guidance and a spotter when appropriate.
  • I will not operate any model aircraft while I am under the influence of alcohol or any drug that could adversely affect my ability to safely control the model.
  • I will avoid flying directly over unprotected people, moving vehicles, and occupied structures.
  • I will fly Free Flight (FF) and Control Line (CL) models in compliance with AMA’s safety programming.
  • I will maintain visual contact of an RC model aircraft without enhancement other than corrective lenses prescribed to me. When using an advanced flight system, such as an autopilot, or flying First-Person View (FPV), I will comply with AMA’s Advanced Flight System programming.
  • I will only fly models weighing more than 55 pounds, including fuel, if certified through AMA’s Large Model Airplane Program.
  • I will only fly a turbine-powered model aircraft in compliance with AMA’s Gas Turbine Program.
  • I will not fly a powered model outdoors closer than 25 feet to any individual, except for myself or my helper(s) located at the flightline, unless I am taking off and landing, or as otherwise provided in AMA’s Competition Regulation.
  • I will use an established safety line to separate all model aircraft operations from spectators and bystanders.

Additional information can be found in the Academy of Model Aeronautics Safety Handbook: