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Starting a law enforcement unmanned aircraft program can be complex and time consuming, but we can help. Our team of law enforcement professionals know the ropes, and we can provide guidance every step of the way.
Unmanned Aerial Law Enforcement is a fast growing and powerful force multiplier for agencies of all sizes. Piloting an unmanned aircraft is an exciting and rewarding specialization.
Why First Responders should fly under COA instead of Part 107
This guide will help you to understand the benefits of operating your public safety drone program under a Certificate of Waiver Authorization as opposed to operating under Part 107. As a public service agency, you can operate under either or both compliance certifications. The process to secure a COA clearance may seem daunting, but our team has successfully completed every submission using our templated system; many of them are completed within 35 days from submission. Our services to assemble and coordinate the submission of a COA for your agency can be coupled with an aircraft purchase.
There are several reasons you might consider a COA as a public service agency:
- Part 107 pilots can be held to a higher standard of personal liability for damages or injuries caused by the drone while using it. Operating under a COA can reduce exposure for the pilot and the agency.
- Airport waivers are built into the COA airspace, so you get streamlined access to airport towers and more freedom to fly near airports. Airport waivers are usually more restrictive for Part 107 pilot’s than for agencies flying under COA’s.
- It’s faster to start up a full program using the COA strategy than by having individual pilots secure Part 107 clearance (see the examples below).
- There’s more to unmanned aerial policing, SAR, or firefighting than simply passing a Part 107 test, and the COA allows your agency leadership to establish training requirements. Under a COA, you can self-certify as many officers as you need for your program. Understanding the fundamentals covered in the Part 107 training is vital, and most experts will encourage you to have pilots pass the 107 exam or create your own variant of the test.
- A COA can allow you to fly in other counties and states for emergency support/ FEMA events
- Depending on your aircraft equipment and mission requirements, you may be able to secure the clearance to fly over people and operate at higher altitudes if required.
- Each officer flying under Part 107 must apply for waivers uniquely (night-time flight), and Part 107 waivers can expire at different times as well as varied duration. This can be a nuisance to keep track of if you have several pilots.
- The COA reporting systems CAPS (Certificate of Authorization online application system) captures and records your flight history which builds credibility with the FAA. A successful track record of flight operations may prove invaluable as future capabilities come along for public service agencies, including flight beyond the line of sight, drones as a first responder, and flight above people.
- Part 107 pilots will have to take a recurrent test every two years costing $150/each. No such testing is required if you operate under a COA.
- Refreshing COA clearance is simple and straightforward for a public agency. It’s simply a resubmittal of the existing documentation with any additional aircraft or other mission or access changes you require.
What our full COA Service provides:
- Precision guidance from start to end.
- The COA is written specifically for the agency and will include all necessary waivers (night operations, airport, etc.) and is valid for each officer.
- Submission services that overcome LexisNexis challenges with the FAA.
- Pre-crafted submission forms tested and proven to pass on the first submission.
- Air Worthiness Statement with special LE language.
- Public Declaration letter template.
- Legal language for AWS ensured to pass FAA review.
We have completed close to 30 COA’s for public agencies. Our experience with COA submissions may differ from others, but we believe it’s a faster and better strategy than individual Part 107 clearance. We still encourage unmanned aircraft pilots to pass the Part 107 certification.
We are happy to provide a list of references for our COA service, and they can attest to the benefits of having someone that is familiar with the FAA requirements guide the process. We know what the FAA is looking for and how to craft the submission to get it right the first time.
Part 107-time frame:
- Study for test = one to three months
- Scheduling each officer to take the Part 107 test = a week to a month (depending on their schedule and location to take the test, which must be at an approved FAA testing center).
- Waiting for temporary license = a month or two
- Waiting for waivers = one month up to eight months (time frame depends on how many waivers the FAA has, errors in submissions, etc.)
COA time frame:
- Once all the necessary paperwork is in the COA can be approved in less than one week and up to one month. Most COA’s that I have completed for agencies and taken less than one week to be approved.
- Start to finish = one month on average
Want to talk with our COA staff expert? Give us a call:
You can learn more about the COA here:
Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification
Getting a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification is a worthwhile effort even if you plan to operate under a COA. There is valuable knowledge gained by securing the 107 Certification for anyone who intends to operate an unmanned aircraft safely.
Below you will find a video link to help you study for your part 107 Certification. This training content is free of charge on YouTube, and we have had great feedback from customers who passed their test after watching this video and taking the practice test.
The video is almost 2 hours long and covers all the topics which FAA wants you to know to fly UAV commercially. The Part 107 test is multiple choice, and you need a 70% score to pass.
Below is a link to a popular practice test for the Part 107 exam. Our customers tell us that they watched the video a couple of times, and took the practice test prior to scheduling their formal exam.
If you have questions about what it takes to become a pilot, or start a program, just give us a call or fill out the form below and we will call you at your best convenience.
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Have questions about starting or managing a program? Unmanned aerial law enforcement, SAR and fire fighting recon is the future and we can help you get started. We have dedicated law enforcement and compliance experts that are here to help. We speak your language. Our team has helped many agencies get started, and you can learn a lot in a 5-minute call.