FAA Regulations require a pilot certificate to operate a UAS. Pilot certification requirements for petitions for exemption under Section 333 are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Although Section 333 grants the Secretary of Transportation flexibility with regard to airworthiness certification requirements, it does not grant the Secretary any flexibility with regard to airman certification standards. These are set forth in Sections 44703 and 44711 of Title 49 of the United States Code (49 USC). An FAA airman certificate is required to operate an aircraft in the National Airspace System. You should note that a pilot’s license is not required to petition for a Section 333 Exemption.