Instructional Material: FAA Section Recreational vs Part 107 (Commercial) Rules

Official FAA site distinguishing between recreational and commercial (Part 107) Small UAS Rules:

UPDATE (August 2019): The update to LAANC allowing recreational flyers to get near real time authorization to fly in Controlled Airspace (Section 44809) has begun to me implemented.  Details on how to get LAANC authorization for recreational UAVs (e.g. KittyHawk app) in controlled airspace is now available here:

UPDATE (May 2019): In October 2018, congress passed the FAA Re-authorization Act which repealed the Section 336 exemption under which recreational UAVs had operated.  The new rules were not in effect yet as the FAA needed time to implement these. In mid-May 2019, the FAA announced the beginning of this process:

and the new rules are summarized on this FAA webpage:


The TPP Video pre-dates these changes, so some of the details presented are no longer correct. Please review these, but here are the key take-aways:



Recreational pilots are required to register any UAV weighing over 0.55lb if you fly OUTDOORS:


One NEW item is that your registration number must be on the outside of the aircraft, whereas previously you could put your number inside the battery compartment:


You are also required to carry proof of your registration with you.


Airspace Restrictions

BIG changes here.
The Bad News - teachers who do not have their Part 107 UAV Pilot License were effectively grounded in controlled airspace in May 2019. However, as of August 2019, recreational flyers (teachers) can now use the LAANC system to get near real time approval to fly in controlled airspace.  Use this map to identify controlled airspace in your area:


The numbers inside each box within the controlled airspace show the maximum altitude a UAV may fly in that area. HOWEVER, you must now have AUTHORIZATION to fly in these areas (not just provide notification to the airport as in the past) and the online authorization system (LAANC) is available to both Part 107 licensed pilots and recreational flyers/teachers (under the Section 44809 Exception).  You will need to download the app and create an account with at least one of recreational service providers shown on this page:


Note: the B4UFLY App has now been updated (August 2019) with these changes.  This app is now the product of KittyHawk, one of the new Recreational Flyer LAANC providers (rather than AMA who had supported the app in the past).


The Good News - While authorization is now required in controlled airspace, the NOTIFICATION requirement in uncontrolled airspace has been ELIMINATED.  This means the 5 miles notification rings around every uncontrolled or private airport/heliport is no longer in effect.  You must, however, always follow the Recreational UAV Rules:


but you no longer need to notify airports outside those on the controlled airspace map above.


Aeronautical Knowledge Test


As expected, recreational UAV flyers (including your students) will be required to pass an aeronautical and safety test before they fly a UAV weighing over 0.55lb outdoors.  The study guide and online test are under development, so these are not yet required, but likely will be within the next school year.  Stay tuned.

Material Type: 
Education Level: 
Upper Elementary
Middle School
High School
Focus Subject: 
Robotics Hardware
HW Platform: 
SW Platform: 
Interactivity Style: