Category Archives: COA

Part 107 is Here -Nightime, Over People, & BLOS Certificate of Waiver

Part 107 is finally here – the US government’s small drone regulations issued by the FAA.

Many are cheering, and they have a lot to cheer about:

  • No more traditional pilot’s license
  • Less recordkeeping
  • No need to apply and wait for a Section 333 exemption.

For high value, good paying UAS work there are some disappointments  – but there’s a silver lining. What Part 107 does not allow is, among other restrictions, are:

  • Flying beyond line of slight (BVLOS)
  • Nighttime operations
  • Flying over people

The silver lining? Each of the above prohibitions can be waived under a Part 107 Waiver upon application to the FAA. With presentation of a safety case made proportional to the risk presented by the request, Section 107.200 allows the FAA to grant Certificates of Waiver for those restrictions enumerated under Section 107.205 which include beyond line of sight, nighttime operations, and flying over people.

Antonelli Law helps obtain Part 107 Waivers and Airspace Authorizations for Class B, C, D, E – Call us at 312 201 8310 nationwide.

Scroll down for important FAA Part 107 resources including how to obtain the required Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. It is required both for traditional part 61 airmen as well as those who have never gone to flight school.

Part 107 is new, and complex operators may need some help.

Our years of experience as pioneers in drone law and the help of our UAS and aviation consultant Douglas Marshall (one of the very top in the country) ensures our ability to help companies get their best shot at presenting a winning safety case to the FAA for a Certificate of Waiver under Section 107.200.

Call Antonelli Law at 312-201-8310 or fill out our simple contact page below. Principal Jeffrey Antonelli can be reached via email at

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Antonelli Law is the first law firm to be selected by DJI for its Professional User Referral Program.

Here are important documents related to the new Part 107 for small drones:

Note: The FAA has confirmed to Antonelli Law that the Knowledge Testing Centers will be ready for applicants to take the required remote pilot knowledge test on the date part 107 becomes effective in August 2016.

Part 107 Leak – Summary of FAA Commercial UAS Rule – To Be Confirmed

Several sources have published what may be the official FAA Summary of Part 107, the long-awaited commercial UAS regulations. These include Forbes, sUASNews, and Peter Sachs.

Like all purported leaks, take it with a grain of salt until we receive confirmation from the FAA. Most folks in the industry believe we will get the official Part 107 rule from FAA tomorrow June 21 2016.

The purported summary indicates that under part 107:

  • Drone pilot license with written, in-person aeronautical test.
  • Current part 61 airmen may take online test
  • 400 feet AGL limit
  • Visual Line of Sight
  • Daytime only
  • No Visual Observer required
  • Class G operations – No ATC notifications required
  • Class B, C, D, E operations allowed with ATC approvals
  • Allows operations from moving watercraft

Once the official part 107 Rule is released by the FAA, Antonelli Law will analyze it and advise:

  • What operations are permitted under Part 107
  • What operations will still need an exemption under Section 333

Remember that all reports and analyses are merely speculation.

Until then, here are the sources:


sUAS News

Peter Sachs‘s Drone Law Journal

Link to the purported Part 107 Summary by FAA:



FAA Interpretation Allows Some UAS in Accredited Educational Institutions

FAA Interpretation Allows Some UAS in Accredited Educational Institutions

Today the FAA released its interpretation on the use of unmanned aircraft for hobby or recreational purposes at accredited educational institutions and community events under Section 336. The full FAA memo can be accessed here.

In a nutshell, operations may be allowed under Section 336 of the 2012 FAA Reauthorization Act by both faculty and students when flight training of the UAS is not the primary aim, but rather are secondary to the educational objective of the curriculum. If flight training is the primary aim then the faculty member does not come within Section 336’s hobby or recreational use because they would be regularly operating the UAS . The student’s flight of the UAS does appear to be permissible under Section 336.

The FAA gives the example of aviation design and construction in engineering coursework: the UAS operation by the student can be used “to test the validity of design or construction methods to show mastery of the principles of the course”and is permissible under Section 336. Faculty,  since they are being paid, cannot fly the UAS except to the extent they assisting the students in a “de minimis” fashion.

The memo emphasizes that educational institutions may also operate UAS outside of Section 336 by obtaining permission from the FAA by way of three pathways: (1) public aircraft operation and a COA (2) limited commercial operation as type certificated UAS and a COA (3) pursuant to Section 333 and a COA. The FAA memo states that, for example, student or faculty operation of UAS for research purposes does not qualify as hobby or recreational use under Section 336 and therefore one of the above three pathways to FAA authorization must be used.

If your educational institution has questions regarding this FAA Interpretation on the educational use of unmanned aircraft under Section 336 or wish to pursue FAA approval as a public aircraft operation, type certificated UAS, or Section 333 contact Antonelli Law at 312-201-8310, via email at  or use the contact form below.   

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Caveat: This article is not legal advice. Your particular factual circumstances and application of the laws and this FAA memo requires legal analysis by a competent attorney.

FAA Doubles Blanket UAS COAs to 400 Feet

The FAA today announced that it is increasing the allowed altitude for commercial UAS “blanket” COAs from 200 to 400 feet.

It is unclear whether the action will be retroactive to those who previously received blanket COAs for up to 200 feet in altitude for their Section 333 commercial operations. The newest 400 foot COA document can be found here.

FAA logo




If you would like assistance obtaining a Public Agency COA, standard COA for operations near airports or for altitudes above 400 feet AGL, or a Section 333 exemption for commercial UAS,  contact attorney Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below.

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FAA Reauthorization Delayed Until July

USA Today reports that Congress has decided to delay passing the 2016 FAA Reauthorization Bill until July 2016, due to concerns about building a consensus around a number of long-term issues.

How this may affect the upcoming commercial drone regulations, called Part 107, is unclear. This delay may make applying for a Section 333 petition for exemption worthwhile for some, despite the uncertainty of what may, or may not, be contained in the final Part 107 and the 2016 FAA Reauthorization Bill.

If you would like assistance obtaining a Public Agency COA, standard COA for operations near airports or for altitudes above 200 feet AGL, or a Section 333 exemption for commercial UAS,  contact attorney Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below.

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New FAA Requirements on UAS Ops Near Airports

The FAA’s requirements for UAS operations near airports are dynamic  and they have recently been changed. You need a Standard COA. The Blanket COA and LOA arrangement of the past will no longer cut it.

Since the beginning of the FAA’s “Blanket COA” process, commercial drone operators approved through a Section 333 grant of exemption could fly nearly anywhere in the United States with  a number of conditions which were basically as follows:

  • 200 feet AGL maximum
  • Within Visual Line of Site of the PIC
  • Certain distances away from airports or heliports to include:
    • 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower; or
    • 3 NM from an airport with a published instrument flight procedure, but not an operational tower; or
    • 2 NM from an airport without a published instrument flight procedure or an operational tower; or
    • 2  NM from a heliport with a published instrument flight procedure

If you wanted to fly closer to the airports as described above, you needed to arrange a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the airport operator.

Recently, the FAA has changed this and it now requires a new, Standard COA aka “site specific” COA. And, for certain circumstances,  you may also be required to obtain a Letter of Agreemnt (LOA) if the ATC Facility Manager determines  the operations will be recurring in the facilities airspace or movement areas and the operations are complex.

If you would like assistance obtaining a standard COA for operations near airports or for altitudes above 200 feet AGL contact Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below.

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Your Action Needed – Micro UAS Amendment Needs Support

I am writing to ask you to contact your US Senators and House representatives to support the micro UAS” amendment to the 2016 FAA Reauthorization Act, H.R. 4441, offered by Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis.
This amendment removes the manned pilot license requirement and other red tape for commercial UAS operations for drones weighing less than 4.4 pounds (2 kg). I feel strongly that removing the manned pilot license is crucial for the UAS industry. I do not have confidence the upcoming part 107 “Final Rule” from the FAA will be on-time in terms of implementation, meaning when you can actually receive a drone pilot license. While I would like the manned pilot license requirement to be removed for all commercial UAS operations, removing it for drones under 4.4 pounds would be a terrific start. A DJI Phantom 3 for example weighs about 2.8 pounds.
To find your US Senator and Congressperson, use the following links:
Jeffrey Antonelli

New for 2016 – Public COAs at Antonelli Law

Today we are introducing our second program for 2016: Helping public agencies obtain FAA COAs for UAS. We began preparing for this program last year when we kept hearing from university faculty and first responders of their needs for FAA COAs.

In conjunction with our aviation consultant Douglas Marshall we are prepared to help universities and public agencies across the country obtain FAA COAs for operation.

Some things at the FAA are in flux, such as the issue of whether a student must have a manned pilot’s license to take a UAS training course. But just as we did for commercial UAS in our Section 333 program, we promise to keep abreast of the latest FAA changes for public COAs.

For Basic Points and Instructions on Public COAs scroll down past the contact form. Our Public COA page can be found here.

If you would like to speak with Jeffrey Antonelli about pursuing a Public COA for your organization please call 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below.

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Give yourself plenty of lead time before you operate 

Preparing the application – and your budget request

It is vital to give yourself enough lead time to prepare the COA before you intend to operate. If you are a university and want to operate a UAV during the fall semester, consider beginning the paperwork at the beginning of the spring semester – or sooner – in order to give yourself enough time to obtain the necessary letter from your state’s attorney general, register your UAV with the FAA, and gather and submit the other required information.

  • FAA approval can take up to 60 days, and possibly longer depending on the complexity of the operation.
  • The COA can be effective for a two year period.

Three basic prerequisites are needed to apply for a Public COA: 

1) Show that you are a public agency

The FAA requires your public agency to provide a letter, preferably from your state’s attorney general, certifying that the agency is public. This is a necessary first step before being allowed to proceed through the online portal to apply for a COA.

Examples of public agencies who can apply for and receive – or have received – public COAs include local law enforcement or emergency response; public universities and community colleges; and federal agencies like NASA and Customs and Border Protection.

2) Have a public aircraft

The aircraft needs to be owned or leased by a public agency, such as the federal or a state or local government, and registered with the FAA to have an N-Number. This will be required before you apply for your public COA.

3) Serve a government function.

Governmental functions are defined as “an activity undertaken by a government, such as national defense, intelligence missions, firefighting, search and rescue, law enforcement (including transportation of prisoners, detainees, and illegal aliens), aeronautical research, or biological or geological resource management. 49 CFR 40125 (a)(2)

Interesting Notes for Discussion:

The FAA has stated that “aeronautical research” for the purposes of a public COA must involve the development of an aircraft to qualify – non-aviation research that incidentally uses a UAV would not qualify in this definition. The FAA will allow universities to use UAVs for research that is non-aeronautical; however, the defined government function should be worded in the terms of aeronautical research.

A state university with a public aircraft COA can use it for aeronautical research is the state’s intended mission, but the findings of the research would have to belong to the state regardless of the source of funding, including private research grants.[1]


The above is of course just partial information and not legal advice. Contact the attorneys at Antonelli Law for a full discussion of your program’s needs.

The Value of Antonelli Law – Section 333 and Beyond

The Value of Antonelli Law – 333s and Beyond

Yesterday, Antonelli Law announced our new 2016 pricing for Section 333 petitions – just $1,500 for most Section 333 petitions.  The response has overall been very positive.

A few folks questioned us as to the value of having an attorney do it at all. This inspired us to spell out the following reasons for having not just any attorney, but the attorneys at Antonelli Law help you with your Section 333 petition.  In other words, we decided to lay out the “value add” for hiring a lawyer at Antonelli Law.

1. Save Time. Many people take longer to put together the 333 on their own because they don’t have the 9-5 time slot available to work on the petition – they are busy with their own jobs and starting a company. Putting 333s together is our job.

2. Accuracy. Our 333s are accurate – it’s shocking the number of petitions with sloppy copy and paste jobs, incorrect flight times, etc. Ours are right the first time. A lot of folks hire Antonelli Law because the delays incurred with FAA requests for additional information means more days without dollars going into their pocket.

iCam Copters
iCam Copters’ Mike Conrady and their FAA approved custom UAV , carries the Red and other high-grade professional cameras

3. We like advertising our clients’ successes. For our clients we often make blog announcements, do press releases about, and at prominent drone trade shows show our clients’ videos, pass out their pamphlets, and include their videos and pamphlets in the  firm media kit given to the press. We have even hosted a number of clients at our booths at the trade shows to help them drum up business for themselves – at no cost to them.  We think that’s a great deal of value.

San Jose Booth Interest
Antonelli Law attorneys (l to r) Benjamin Fink, Amelia Niemi (thumb’s up!), and Mark Del Bianco at our crowded booth at San Jose. Jeffrey Antonelli is taking the photo.

4. We love what we do and others can tell.






5. Our relationships with many in the industry helps us keep current and we learn of opportunities for our clients as well as ourselves.

Rich Hanson of AMA & our Aviation Consultant Doug Marshall San Jose conference





Commercial UAV Booth
Antonelli Law attorneys Amelia Niemi and Melissa Brabender

6. N-Number registration is included. For commercial UAS the FAA system is still paper-based and is frustrating to navigate for many.

7. Advocating on behalf of our clients – our clients who started with us for a Section 333 petition now have someone to call who’s following up with the FAA, monitoring the docket every day for updates, and – if something were to go wrong – has existing relationships with many folks at the FAA to follow up with them.


While it is true many people have been able to successfully submit 333 petitions on their own, we have also seen that many are bad copy and paste jobs that do not match their actual operations. This opens the operator up to civil and governmental liability. If you have the time and ability to do it correctly yourself, go ahead and do it.

If you would like a relationship with seasoned attorneys who love commercial drone technology and have established legal practices beyond Section 333 to help you get and keep your business in the air, call Antonelli Law for a free initial consultation at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below. In addition to Section 333 petitions and special COAs we provide solid help with technology privacy issues, contracts, NDAs, trademark, copyright, and litigation services.

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2016: Most Section 333s Just $1500

For 2016 Antonelli Law has lowered its legal fees for most FAA Section 333 petitions to $1,500. Custom manufactured UAVs and special airspace permissions are additional fees but are still very fair. One commercial FAA N number registration is included in the fee.

For most Section 333 petitions, our accumulated databases of research from September 2014 when we filed our first petition is allowing us to proceed more efficiently than ever.  We do not want people to be excluded from obtaining competent advice and turning to generic forms which do not reflect their actual operations. This can lead to insurance denials in the case of an accident as well as receiving FAA violations.

For more information or to obtain a free initial consultation with an Antonelli Law attorney, call us at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below. In addition to Section 333 petitions we provide special COAs, contracts, NDAs, trademark, copyright, and litigation services.

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An Antonelli Law blog on UAS/Drone Law