Drone pilots rejoice as the FAA temporarily changed testing protocols for drone pilots acquiring their Part 107 certificate renewal or Aeronautical Knowledge Recency Test (UGR).
At a time when Federal Testing centers have been closed in the wake of the corona virus, pilots now have an option to renew their certificate.
Part 107 Remote Pilots who now find themselves non-current can rejoice as the FAA temporarily changes testing protocols for Part 107 Drone Pilots needing the UGR in the wake of the COVID 19. Many pilots have been asking how can they go to Federal testing centers to take their Part 107 recurrent test if their state has closed them down? Even if it’s not closed down, is it safe?
The FAA heard, and commiserates. Their words: “Even if open, some knowledge testing centers may introduce airmen to risks of exposure to COVID-19. The inability of part 107 operators to remain current could have a negative impact on a community’s ability to support the safe inspection of infrastructure, including power lines, fire and rescue, flood responses, law enforcement, and overall public safety.”
Due to a late evening hunch, Vic Moss took a chance to look at the FAA’s COVID web page. Looking for an update, we now know the FAA planted a little nugget that will be going into the federal register shortly.
In a nutshell, if drone pilots need to renew their Remote Pilot Certificate (meaning you have not taken and passed your sUAS Remote Pilot Recurrent Knowledge Test) between April 2020 and June 2020, you may now take the online version reserved for use by Current Part 61 Pilots. Remember, your Remote Pilot becomes non-current (expires if you will, although that’s not the right nomenclature) on the first day of the 25th month after your last test. Example: you take your test on March 12, 2018, you become non-current on April 1, 2020. So you qualify for this extension.
Rather than try and summarize, here is the text from the FAA’s COVID Relief Document:
“Under the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, eligible remote pilots who would normally establish recency of knowledge in accordance with §107.65(a) or (b) may complete online training as an alternative if required to establish recency between April 2020 and June 2020. The remote pilot may complete the FAA-developed initial or recurrent online training courses at www.faasafety.gov one time to establish knowledge recency for six calendar months”
Check out the full document here.
You will need to register at www.faasafety.gov. Which as a Remote Pilot, you should become familiar with that page anyway. It’s a great resource. Once you register, you’ll have access to the all pages that deal with the Part 107 Recurrent test.There is an introduction to the test, course review, downloadable reference materials, and of course the test itself.
This test is a temporary reprieve, and will grant a 6 calendar month extension for those Remote Pilots who need this. Remember, this is a 6 month extension. You must take and pass your standard UGR test before those 6 months are up. And you’re only eligible if you become non-current starting April 1, 2020 and could not take your UGR by June 30, 2020 and would become non-current on July 1. If you are trying to use this to become current because you let your 107 lapse during any other than the dates listed above, you have to wait until a testing center around you opens. If you fly under your 107 and you’re not current, you are illegal.
As of this evening (4/29), this has not been published in the Federal Registry. But it will be ASAP. Maybe as early as Friday, 5/1. Stay tuned and we’ll get that confirmation to you as soon as we find out. Surely, there are still some questions that will come up, and we would bet the FAA will likely get those answer questions in short order.
Personally, (Vic Moss) I’d like to thank all of the FAA employees who worked tirelessly on not only the Part 107 side of things, but the vast number of other FAA/DOT regulated people affected but this unprecedented time in our history.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to them. I know for a fact that many of them not only worked more hours than usual on this, they also had homeschool and babysitting duties. A full load of home duties indeed. There was initial talk of just having a non-enforcement policy, but it was soon realized that would not work. Non-enforcement still means flying without being current is technically illegal. And that would invalidate many insurance policies held by Remote Pilots. Most insurance policies have legality clauses that give Insurance Companies an out if the incident occurs during an illegal action. And we would be flying illegally.
…..So thank you FAA for not going down that path.
For more updates, tune it to the Ask Drone U Podcast & News Show for further updates and information.
Director Legal Policy.
Vic Moss is a commercial photographer with over 30 years experience. He is also a national voice for drone safety and reasonable drone regulation. Vic has worked with numerous cities and states to help craft drone regulations that don’t inhibit safe and responsible drone use. Vic is also a FAASTeam member and one of three Drone Pros in the Denver FSDO Service Area. As a frequent contributor in many UAS forums, Vic keeps tabs on the pulse of all things UAS. Vic’s duties as a co-owner of Drone U include photography instruction, legislative liaison, and Elite pilot instructor. Vic was recently appointed to the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee Waiver Task Group. You can get in touch with Vic by emailing him at [email protected]
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