FAA Flight Standards Issues Notice to Inspectors on Logging Drone Pilot Time

FAA_LogoBecause it is getting more requests in the field, the FAA Flight Standards Division, whose aviation safety inspectors conduct pilot certification duties, recently issued a notice, Logging of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Pilot Time. It clarifies questions raised by drone pilot who request credit for flight time logged on drones.

Giving the inspectors the necessary background, the notice says the FAA deemed drones “aircraft” in 2007 and defined the differences between “operator” (the entity that bears overall responsibility for the aircraft) and “pilot” (the properly trained and certificated individuals who actually fly the aircraft).

Succinctly, because the FAA has not yet issued drone pilot certification and aeronautical experience requirements, drone operating experience cannot be credited toward the recent experience (or currency) requirements for the pilot-in-command of any aircraft. Drone time can only be logged for credit when operating under a certificate of authorization (COA) waiver or the operating limitations prescribed by a special airworthiness certificate issued to the drone.