Category Archives: Section 333

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:



How to Evaluate a Drone Law Attorney in 5 Easy Steps *

How to Evaluate a Drone Law Attorney in 5 Easy Steps*

By Jeffrey Antonelli, Antonelli Law

I was recently given some free advice from someone who works with a legacy international company that is a household word. He is also a serial entrepreneur and he gave me some unsolicited, helpful advice.

He told me I should increase my Google ranking by having articles published (outside of this blog) with certain appropriate keywords – like drone lawyer, drone law, UAS – and sprinkle them throughout several times in the content so that search bots “feel” its right. Oh, and to have those articles link back to our law firm website at 

I know he is right. That will probably work. During the Great Recession I accepted a dinner-with-a-catch function sponsored by American Family Insurance. That very nice dinner included some helpful hints to writing blog content. One of those pieces of advice was to include a number in the headline like 3 Ways to Catch Your Spouse Cheating, The Top Ten Hollywood Actors Who Have Gotten Fat, or How to Evaluate a Drone Law Attorney in 5 Easy Steps.

One of the things that motivates me personally, a core value if you will, is my authenticity. I have the freedom in my law practice to actually implement authenticity in my practice since it is my own firm. I require it and related behaviors including honesty in everyone I hire and associate with. It is even in the legal contract all my employees must sign to be a part of my firm.

Now that drone law is not new as it was in January 2014 when I launched our drone law practice (March 2014 PR here) there seems to be a lot more competition from other lawyers –  including some I have my doubts about. That is to be expected with something that is often in the news and thought of as a “hot” area like drones .  Some I don’t mind and they should be fine – I see some lawyers who are manned aviation pilots, and that makes sense for drones. But I see others who are clearly in it to make a buck only (my opinion) including copying the motivation that I and a certain much more famous drone lawyer who is no longer in private practice have had – flying RC planes – by using RC planes as props.

I think my passion for flying drones and rc planes and the really intriguing technology that brought me to drone law in 2013 including flight stabilization and fpv will continue to push me to keep learning and be on the cutting edge. I remember watching someone at my flying field with a multirotor perhaps in 2012. How was he controlling each of the motors at one time? That made me eventually learn about flight controllers and their inception at least for the hobby folks, using components from their game consoles and cell phones.

One of my former bosses, who had been a capital partner at a very large law firm, once told me that for lawyers to do a great job it often means putting in a real effort to dig deeply. This might mean checking more legal cases, taking another deposition, and cross-checking testimony from a number of different people. In drone law, I think it means continuing to delve deep into the regulations (proposed and final); maintaining and growing relationships with subject matter experts far and wide in aviation, government, law, and technology; and attending the substantive meetings at conferences where the real experts of technology are talking, not just the fun demonstrations of robots, selfies, and media opportunities.

But it also means going back to what got me started in this field – flying fixed wing rc airplanes. I will never do the incredible things my friend Kevin does here, but it is something I enjoy and it brings together friendship, sunny skies, and flying.

One of the things that drone law will be called upon to answer are the concerns about privacy. I don’t think many law firms throwing their hat into the “drone law” ring will have much to say about it. One thing that I think makes my drone law firm great is my co-counsel Mark Del Bianco. Mark holds the Certified Information Privacy Professional/US designation from the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Mark has been involved with the internet, cloud, telecommunications law and privacy for a long time.

Now that the FAA Reauthorization Act may be requiring  drone manufacturers to obtain software certification and other regulatory approvals, the industry is going to need serious guidance from seasoned, respected professionals. I am pleased to have Douglas Marshall with us. Doug is one of the very top UAS and aviation consultants in the country. He is currently chair of the ASTM F38.02.01 Task Group on Standards for Operations Over People, and serves as a United States delegate to ISO TC 20/SC 16, UAS Subcommittee. We are lucky to have him in our corner.

I think larger fixed-wing UAS is going to be a major area of development, and folks with just general aviation experience aren’t going to cut it.  Federal Express is expressing desire for unmanned cargo jets, and agriculture and energy infrastructure needs high endurance aircraft to survey hundreds – and possibly thousands – of miles of pipeline and towers. That means larger fixed wing, probably in the hundreds to thousands of pounds.  The experience of professional pilots like our Kate Fletcher are going to be the ones in the room that get paid attention to. In addition to being an attorney, Kate has well beyond 10,000 flight hours as a pilot for the world’s largest airline flying the 767, 757, and 737.

Our creative clients like iCam Copters and Richter Studios are tops in their field. It helps me embrace the creative side of myself. Unlike my amateur beginning efforts such as here here here and here, our clients are at the top of their game. Creative professionals need to protect their work with intellectual property including copyright and trademarks, and use appropriate forms for protection like NDAs, Non-Competes, and licensing agreements. Attorney Amelia Niemi is not only learning from me in drone law and assisting with Section 333 petitions, special COAs, and drone related business issues, but she significantly helps the firm when it comes to our IP work. She studied IP at DePaul College of Law’s Center for Intellectual Property which has always been highly ranked nationally. I could have used her help when I was responsible for all the legal work for my first client, an IT company that supported data centers across the US for large clients including Walgreens, Acxiom, and Sallie Mae. I had to learn about NDAs, SHARK drives, storage silos, and a lot of other technology on my own then. I am grateful to offer my clients a great deal more resources today than in 2007.

Like much in business, the drone space is highly competitive with manufacturers releasing new models and new features constantly. New players appear and large players disappear or reinvent themselves.

Sometimes pushing the boundary means finding yourself in trouble with governmental entities. Or having to sue a competitor because they broke the law in order to unfairly compete with you.  I am admitted to the federal trial bar of the Northern District of Illinois (and numerous other federal courts) and litigation was most of my practice until recently. When it comes to fighting in court, I rely on the assistance of my experienced federal litigation associate Melissa Brabender in addition to other resources including our local counsel. In business most people try to stay out of court and one of our jobs as lawyers is to help them do just that. But when it is inevitable, our experience shows we know how to fight. Other lawyers may never have conducted a single trial.  We are looking for great cases challenging local drone laws and other issues as they arise. Our team has deep experience and many years in law and aviation. Due diligence of your lawyer should be a part of your business plan just as checking out potential business partners should be.

Part 107 will be coming out soon. Will it have a new airman certification, a drone pilot license? A written test? Implementation soon or in 6 months? We will find out. When it is published, we will then know what drone law will become in its newest iteration. That is, until the FAA Reauthorization comes out. What will remain the same is my commitment to providing value, honesty, and professional competence to our clients. I could have done a lot of things in business or other fields, but being a lawyer I want to remain being a trusted confidant, zealous advocate, and terrific employer. I also enjoy putting clients together when the synergy is right.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at or call our client concierge Olivia Fowler at 312-201-8310.

*It looks like I went over 5 steps in How to Evaluate a Drone Law Attorney in 5 Easy Steps. Hopefully I exceeded your expectations in more ways than just the title.

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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 Expands Online UAS Registration to Include Commercial Operations

FAA Expands Online Small Unmanned Aircraft Registration

From the FAA:           Register here.

FAA: Thursday, March 31 – Starting today, owners of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) used for commercial, public and other non-model aircraft operations will be able to use the FAA’s new, streamlined, web-based registration process to register their aircraft. The web-based process will significantly speed up registration for a variety of commercial, public use and other users. Registration for those users is $5, the same low fee that model aircraft owners pay.

“Registration is an important tool to help us educate aircraft owners and safely integrate this exciting new technology into the same airspace as other aircraft operations,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

All owners of small UAS used for purposes other than as model aircraft must currently obtain a 333 exemption, a public certificate of authorization or other FAA authorization to legally operate, in addition to registering their aircraft. Before today, the FAA required all non-hobby unmanned aircraft owners to register their aircraft with the FAA’s legacy aircraft registry in Oklahoma City, OK.

 Those owners who already have registered in the legacy system do not have to re-register in the new system. However, the FAA is encouraging new owners who are registering for the first time to use the new, web-based registration system. Owners who register under the new system can easily access the records for all of the aircraft they have registered by logging into their on-line account. Small UAS owners who have registered under the web-based system who intend to use their aircraft for purposes other than as model aircraft will also need to re-register to provide aircraft specific information.

 The FAA first opened up the web-based registration for model unmanned aircraft owners on Dec. 21, 2015. The agency is expanding that existing website to accommodate owners of aircraft used for purposes other than model aircraft. This registration process includes additional information on the manufacturer, model and serial number, in addition to the owner’s physical and email addresses. Like the model aircraft registration process, a certificate is good for three years, but each certificate covers only one aircraft.

Register here.

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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Beginner’s Guide to Legal Drone Operations

We have been working hard daily since launching our drone law practice group in January 2014 (its our Two Year Anniversary!) and it is easy to forget how hard it is to figure out the basics when just getting started.

Here is the beginner’s guide to getting legal in the drone world. it is just general information and not legal advice, but we think it is a good start to figuring out where to go when you are at the starting line.

Legally Flying an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in the United States

(Beginner’s Guide)

  1. What drone(s) will you be operating?
  • Rotorcraft offer much versatility and can carry heavy payloads.
  • Fixed wing aircraft can be used for surveying projects over large areas of land.
  1. Which FAA pathway applies to you?
Section 333 Public Certificate of Authorization
·       Available to individuals, private organizations, and some government entities

·       Anticipated 120 day turnaround time from FAA

·       Applicants can fly nationwide, 5 miles from an airport

·       Person operating the drone must have FAA pilot license (“PIC”)

·       Available to public agencies conducting governmental functions

·       Anticipated 60 day turnaround from FAA

·       PIC may not need a pilot’s license

  1. Register your drone(s) with the FAA.

Commercially operated drones must have an N-Number (tail number). This is NOT (yet) the online web version for hobbyists that has been in the news. That would be easy.

  1. Once you’re approved under Section 333 by the FAA, think about applying for non-standard COAs or amendments.
    • Will you be operating drones that you haven’t been approved on?
    • Will you need to operate higher than 200 feet above ground level, or within 5 miles of an airport?
    • Will you need to operate at night?
  1. Insure your drones and your operation.
  • Look at commercial, UAV-specific insurance. Discuss what you are looking to do with your broker.
  • Consider looking into both liability and hull
  • You could lose your commercial insurance by failing to follow the terms of your 333 approval!
  1. Get it in writing!

Contracts protect you, your clients, and your employees. Consider having a standard service contract prepared in advance of being contacted for jobs. Entering into discussions with a prospective partner? Think about asking him or her to sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect your company information.

  1. Protect your intellectual property.
  • Copyrights protect original works of authorship, such as photographs and videos.
  • Trademarks protect the identity of your brand.

Further information and knowledgeable, passionate attorneys can be found by calling us at 312-201-8310 or filling out the form below.

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Antonelli Law is First DJI Referral Program Legal Provider

Today Antonelli Law became the first law firm in the country to participate in the DJI Professional User Referral Program. Read our press release.

DJI customers may be entitled to discounted drone law services by visiting our dedicated DJI referral program website or by contacting the law firm through the contact form below. There are conditions and limitations to the discount program, which includes a reduced fee of $1,250 for Section 333 services that includes up to two commercial FAA registrations. This is a further discount from our new 2016 fees and one additional FAA commercial UAS registration for a total of up to two. Scroll down for details.

Antonelli Law’s principal, Jeffrey Antonelli, flies the DJI Inspire as a hobbyist and is proud to be part of the DJI Referral Program.

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Section 333 petition services at discounted rates for DJI customers for simple uses using the DJI manuals as the Standard Operations Manual (SOP).

The discounted rate is $1,250 and includes:

    1) Section 333 petition

    2) Up to two FAA commercial UAV registrations

In addition to payment, a telephone consultation and signed attorney agreement must be executed before an attorney-client relationship is formed.


1) One of the UAVs MUST BE a DJI airframe, eg.: Phantom 3, Inspire, Matrice, S800, S900, S1000.

2) Limit of three (3) types of UAVs.

3) All proposed UAV types must have been approved in prior FAA grants of exemption.

4) Custom UAVs not based on a DJI airframe are excluded.

5) Operating procedures cited in the 333 petition will deem the procedures provided in the DJI Manual as petitioner’s operating procedures. Note: If your actual operations differ from the documents submitted to the FAA you may be found in violation by the FAA and any insurance is not likely to cover an incident or loss. Client requests for customization will be at regular hourly charges or at mutually agreed terms.


1) Non standard COA applications such as needing to fly higher than 200 feet AGL, or closer than 5 miles to an airport.

2) Closed-set cinematography (requires MPTOM manual).

3) Sophisticated uses such as GIS, surveying, engineering, construction, precision agriculture. Rates to be determined after consultation with an Antonelli Law attorney.

4) Large residential, and any commercial real estate concerns.

5) Highly custom UAVs.

6) Heavier than 55 pounds.

7) Any intended use not already authorized by FAA, eg.: night-time operations, greater than 400 feet AGL, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).


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