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Drone Part 107 vs Recreational Rules | 2023 Updated

By: Richard J. Gross
Updated On: April 1, 2023

Flying a drone has become more of a hobby than a profession, as drones get cheaper every day. You can now buy a drone for less than $100.

Professional drone flyers always want to get more and more freedom while flying for different reasons; this is where the debate about Part 107 vs Recreational flying comes into the picture.

Knowing which one applies in a given situation can be confusing. In this article, we’ll break down the differences between these two sets of rules so you can make sure you’re flying safely and legally.

An Overview of Part 107 and Recreational Drone Rules 

The Part 107 set of rules is the FAA’s official regulation for commercial drone operators. This set of rules applies to anyone using drones for any type of business purpose, such as aerial photography or product delivery.

Part 107 requires all drone operators to pass a written test and obtain an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate. The rules also limit the times and places drones may be flown, as well as their altitude and weight. In addition, Part 107 forbids any commercial operation of drones at night or in restricted airspace without special permission from the FAA.

Part 107 vs Recreational Rules

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all drone operators must register their unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). If you plan to fly your drone for commercial purposes, you will need to obtain a Part 107 certification. The recreational rules are less stringent than the Part 107 certification and have fewer requirements.

Recreational drone rules are designed for people flying drones for fun. They’re simpler than Part 107 and don’t require a certificate or test, but there are still guidelines that must be followed. For example, recreational pilots must keep their drones within visual line of sight at all times, fly only in areas without high traffic or people, and fly no higher than 400 feet.

Also Read: New Drone Laws In The USA | All You Need To Know

What is a Part 107 License?

Part 107 license is a certification from the FAA. Part 107 gives you a remote pilot certificate or RPIC. It allows an individual to fly a drone for commercial use without going through the full Part 61 certification process. Part 107 is the most common and popular method for flying a drone nowadays.

Part 107 vs Recreational

Part 61 is still an option, but Part 107 is definitely more common and popular. Part 61 is a much longer and more expensive process, so Part 107 has a higher appeal. Part 107 requires a knowledge test, which can be taken from an authorized testing facility or an online course.

Part 107 tests drone flying as well as the rules of airspace and how to read FAA maps. Part 107 license certification can be obtained in much less time than Part 61 certification. Part 107 is for unaided visual flight conditions, so no First Person View or FPV.

Part 107 also requires line-of-sight operations. Part 107 is used only daily and lower than 400 ft above ground level (AGL). Part 61 can be used at night and higher than 400 ft AGL. Part 107 requires a commercial drone that weighs less than 55 pounds. Part 61 does not have this weight requirement, but the chance of running into other aircraft increases with altitude, and Part 107 is no different.

Part 61 provides more freedom for flight conditions while Part 107 limits it, making Part 107 more attractive to beginners and Part 61 more appealing to those with drone piloting experience. Part 107 allows the use of a drone for commercial purposes instead of Part 61, which does not allow this and is much harder to obtain Part 61 certification.

Read: How Difficult Is It To Get A Private Pilot License?

What Does Part 107 License Allow You To Do?

Part 107 license owners are allowed to fly for both recreational and commercial use, but they must follow the same rules as recreational flyers, except they can also fly beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS). This means that 107 license holders can fly drones over areas where there is no one present or not under their control.

For example, a hobbyist can fly their drone over farms to inspect the crops as long as they have permission from the farmer. Part 107 license holders can also fly at night, and more than one person controlling one drone at a time.

Part 107 license owners are allowed to fly drones for commercial use. This means that they can operate drones for business purposes, but only if they follow the rules laid out in part 107. All pilots must be aware of the rules and regulations of flying under Part 107 or as recreational flyers.

Types of Aircraft Allowed Under Part 107 

Part 107 regulations only apply to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which include drones and model aircraft. The types of aircraft allowed under Part 107 are limited to those that weigh 55 pounds or less, including payloads such as cameras and other equipment.

All UAS must be registered with the FAA prior to flight, regardless of weight or purpose. Additionally, Part 107 pilots must abide by all airspace restrictions and follow the rules of visual flight.

Rules to Fly a Drone Under Part 107 License

Part 107 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 allows Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones, to be flown for non-recreational purposes (commercial use) within the U.S. The legal definition of an unmanned aircraft is an aircraft without a human onboard which is powered by some form of propulsion.

  • To fly commercially, you need to have a Remote Pilot Certificate.
  • On the FAA's FAADroneZone website, you must register your UAV.
  • You cannot fly your drone above 400ft, even after getting a 107 license.
  • The maximum speed of your drone should be within 100mph.
  • If you want to fly your drone at night or evening, your drone must have anti-collision lights.
  • You cannot fly a drone while in a moving vehicle unless you drive on an empty road or other space.

Read: What Is The Minimum Age To Get A Pilot License?

What Is A Recreational Flyer?

Not everyone wants to get a license to fly a drone; these people can fly drones for recreational purposes because they will have to get a license for professional use. Recreational flying covers more than sufficient space and grants to enjoy the art of flying without boundaries.

Part 107 vs Recreational

The rules for recreational flying are not that much different than the commercial ones, but it is good to be in the know of everything before you start crashing into trees and people's heads just because you don't know better.

Without a Part 107 or Part 61 license, you can fly your drone within a visual line of sight, below 400ft altitude, and at least 5 miles away from an airport that might have a Part 107 requirement. Also, for recreational purposes, you can fly during daylight hours only.

Recreational operators do not need to take a Part 107 exam. As a recreational flyer, you do not need to share your part 107 license with the FAA. If you want to fly your drone for basic photography or videography, you do not need any license because you come under the recreational category.

As long as your drone is less than 55 lbs, your downlink has a range of no more than 0.5 miles, and you have to keep your drone in your line of sight.

Read: How To Fly A Drone At Night In USA? | FAA Guidelines

What is Allowed in Recreational Drone flying?

Recreational flyers are allowed to fly drones for fun, but only within the line of sight without any blocks between them and the drone. This includes not being able to fly over people or at night, which can be unsafe due to low light conditions. Also, recreational flyers cannot fly over an area that is not under their control unless they have permission from that person or organization.

  • The main rule to operating a drone without any drone flying license is "do not endanger anyone's life."
  • It would be best if you stayed out of the way of crewed aircraft and always flew below 400 feet to avoid aviation operations such as helicopters.
  • Part 101 requires that you not operate a drone in an airport area without air traffic control permission.
  • To be considered legal, you must see where the drone is going with your naked eyes.
  • You are not permitted to fly in the proximity of other planes.
  • If your drone or UAV weighs more than 0.55 pounds, it must be registered with the FAA on the FAA Drone Zone website.
  • You can only fly in Class G airspace, but you must notify the air traffic control tower if you're within five miles of an airport.
  • It's also illegal to fly over emergency rescue operations.

As mentioned above, there are many restrictions on recreational drone flying, but these restrictions will only hurt you if you want to fly your drone commercially. Otherwise, these rules shouldn't be a problem for you.

Safety Requirements for Pilots of Recreational Drones

Individuals who fly drones recreationally must be aware of the safety requirements they must adhere to in order to keep their flights legal and safe. The main point of difference between recreational drone pilots and those flying under Part 107 certification is that recreational pilots are not allowed to operate their drones over people or at night unless they get a waiver from the FAA.

As a recreational drone pilot, you must adhere to the following safety requirements:

  • Fly your drone at or below 400 feet above ground level (AGL).
  • Remain within the visual line of sight of your drone at all times. This means you must be able to see it with the naked eye and keep it in view without the use of binoculars or a telescope.
  • Never fly over people or near stadiums, government buildings, and other restricted areas.
  • Never fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact air traffic control and have permission to do so.
  • Remain aware of airspace restrictions around national parks and other areas with special regulations.
  • Never fly your drone at night without a waiver from the FAA.
  • Remain aware of weather conditions and never fly in winds higher than 25 mph or rain, snow, or fog.
  • Always keep your drone away from other aircraft – remember that you are responsible for any collision.
  • Never fly your drone while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Always follow local laws and regulations, as they may vary from place to place.

By following these guidelines, recreational drone pilots can ensure that their flights are legal, safe, and fun!

Difference Between Part 107 vs Recreational License

There is a vast difference between flying a recreational drone and flying a drone registered under the Part 107 license. The freedom you get with these licenses is just beyond imagination. Part 107 will give you the freedom to fly drones professionally.

Part 107 vs Recreational
  • Recreational drone rules allow for flights in uncontrolled airspace, while Part 107 requires flying only in controlled airspace.
  • Part 107 requires a remote pilot certificate to fly drones commercially, while recreational drone rules do not require any such certification.
  • For recreational drones, you must keep your drone within line of sight at all times and below 400 feet; however, with Part 107, you can fly further away and even up to 400 feet above ground level (AGL).
  • With recreational drones, you cannot fly over people or near airports; however, with Part 107, you can fly over people if they are part of the operation and obtain waivers to operate near airports.
  • With recreational drone rules, you are limited to hobbyist or recreational purposes only; with Part 107, you can perform commercial operations such as aerial photography and videography, package delivery, real estate inspections, and more.

You do not need to pass any test to fly a recreational drone, whereas you must pass the knowledge test to get the Part 107 license. The knowledge test for the license is not much difficult but proves to be an expensive deal if you are not using the drone for business purposes.

You need to register your drone for both types of use. Even if you are not planning to use the drone for business purposes, you will have to register the drone on the official website of the FAA.

The government is trying its best to keep a sharp eye on drones' commercial and personal use. Almost all drones are to be registered with government websites.

You can fly the drone in the complete Class G air space without restrictions and permissions from the community if you have the Part 107 license.

In contrast, you need to follow the community guidelines if you fly your drone for recreational purposes. The length of the flight will also be subject to community guidelines. Part 107 will give you the freedom to fly your drone legally.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Regulatory Requirements for Drones 

The FAA has released several sets of rules and regulations that govern the safe operation of drones. These include Part 107, which applies to commercial drone pilots, and the recreational guidelines.

Part 107 requires all commercial drone operators to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA after passing an aeronautical knowledge test at an authorized testing center. The Part 107 rules also set restrictions on when and where drones may be flown, as well as altitude and weight limits.

The recreational guidelines are less stringent than the commercial regulations of Part 107. Recreational pilots do not need to obtain a certificate from the FAA, though they must register their drone with the agency and follow certain guidelines while flying. These include not flying near airports or people, as well as maintaining a line-of-sight with the drone at all times, and avoiding any reckless behavior while in the air.

It is important that both recreational and commercial pilots are aware of these regulations to ensure the safety of everyone around them and the responsibility of owning a drone. The FAA provides detailed information about each of these rules and regulations on its website.

Read: How Do Planes Fly In Bad Weather Conditions? Is It Safe or Not?


There is no doubt that recreational drone flying has its own joy and excitement. Flying a drone without any limitations can be an amazing feeling, but you have to consider some government restrictions while flying a recreational drone.

It's best to fly a drone with your camera on it if you want to experience the world from above. If you wish to fly your commercial drones in restricted areas, the Part 107 license is for you. You will need a certificate of authorization (COA) or a remote pilot airman certificate (RPAC) if you do not have a Part 107 license.

Hobbyists can operate UAS under part 101 rules as long as they follow some basic guidelines, such as staying away from airports and flying under 400 feet. There is very little difference between flying a recreational drone and operating under part 101.

Still, one of the major differences is that you will need to complete additional research before deciding your flight path when using part 101 rules.

To conclude, it is completely up to you to get or not to get a drone flying license. We have covered almost everything there is to know about Part 107 vs Recreational rules to fly a drone.

Richard J. Gross

Hi, my name is Richard J. Gross and I’m a full-time Airbus pilot and commercial drone business owner. I got into drones in 2015 when I started doing aerial photography for real estate companies. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but it turns out that police were called on me shortly after I started flying. They didn’t like me flying my drone near people, so they asked me to come train their officers on the rules and regulations for drones. After that, I decided to start my own drone business and teach others about the safe and responsible use of drones.

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