This document contains answers to some of the most common questions that pilots have about getting their Part 107 drone license. Once you read these common questions, chances are you’ll be ready to take flight and turn that passion into profit!!
If you like flying drones it’s likely you’ve heard of the term “Part 107.” The rising popularity of drones for commercial applications prompted the FAA to come out with Part 107 regulations in 2016. Under these regulations, drone pilots are required to pass a Part 107 knowledge test and get their Part 107 certificate before they can fly their drone commercially.
Now that the FAA has required recreational pilots to pass a test as well! Makes you wonder why not just take a few extra questions and start earning money with your drone?
Typically, most drone pilots who love to fly recreational drones are literally nervous or afraid that they will be unable to pass the Part 107 exam. DON’T BE. IT IS EASY. AS LONG AS YOU FOLLOW THE FORMULA, YOU WILL PASS. New pilots, now, only have to take the test once, there is no longer a recurrent test.
A Remote Pilot Certificate (a.k.a. Part 107 license) is mandatory if you plan on flying your drone for all non-recreational purposes. Part 107 rules are applicable for all drones weighing less than 55 pounds and used for non-hobby purposes. If you are flying a large drone weighing more than 55 pounds, a Part 107 license will not suffice. You will have to apply for an exemption under the Special Authority for Certain Unmanned Systems (which has replaced Section 333).
If you are planning only flying for recreation and/or hobby purposes, you do not need a Part 107 license. Albeit, you will have to pass the FAA Trust Test. Recreational pilots now have to apply for LAANC airspace authorization to fly in controlled airspace. With all these new regulations on hobby pilots, why not just get the Part 107 and not deal with the headache? You can fly with more freedom and less stress, seems like a no brainer?
And if you are a manned pilot with a Part 61 private pilot license, the process is much simpler. But you still need to get your 107 Remote Pilot Certificate. There are a few conditions to getting your 107 under your Part 61 license. These are the conditions for commercially flying drones with a Part 61 license –
Hold a pilot certificate issued under 14 CFR part 61; and
Have completed a flight review within the previous 24 months; and
You must take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA; and
Keep you Remote Pilot Certificate card “easily accessible by the remote pilot” you when you’re out flying.
As a drone pilot, what you make is dependent on your skills and experience. According to our research, Payscale reported a drone pilot salary range of $43,886 – $128,401. Whereas, Glassdoor reported an average base pay of $65,336 and a range of $25K-$90K. However, these stats represent the greater majority, and like in any business, there are outliers who are far ahead of the pack.
Broadly speaking, there are two ways to increase your income. The first approach is to take on simple jobs like real estate and scale up your business through efficient execution and clever marketing. Check out our webinar, “How to stand out in the competitive real estate market with deliverables that realtors will love” if you wish to take this route.
The other option for increasing your drone pilot salary is to go after complex jobs like powerline inspections, cell tower mapping, and subject tracking.
So, what is the maximum drone pilot salary that you can possibly earn? Drone pilots who offer their services to on-set productions earn some of the highest salaries in this industry. Pilots who are flying the Freefly Alta with a sophisticated drone camera can earn anywhere between $5K- $13K per day depending on their level of skill. Check out our ADU show, “Freefly ALTA 8 Pro or DJI – Which Is Better Option for Drone Mapping?” to learn more about the Freefly Alta 8.
Want to see what real drone pilots are making right now? Make sure to check out our drone pilot salary guide. This way you can learn from actual experienced entrepreneurs | drone pilots.
How to Get Part 107 License in 5 Simple Steps:
1. Study Hard (We have 3 different Part 107 Classes to Appease all Learning Styles!)
2. Schedule and pass your drone certification test at a Part 107 Testing Center
3. Complete the online IACRA Application to receive a temporary Part 107 card via email
4. Pass TSA Background Check
5. Receive your physical Part 107 card in 30-90 days
Until your physical Part 107 card comes in the mail, print out your temporary card and keep that with you. Your official Certificate number is “Pending” until your permanent card arrives.
Check out our Drone Pilot License Guide for detailed, step-by-step instructions.
So, how can Drone U Help you clear your Part 107 Exam? As a Drone U member, you receive –
FAA Part 107 Study Guide FREE!
A Comprehensive FAA Part 107 Online Course
FAA Part 107 Practice Test and much, much more…
Drone U members who consistently score 90% and above in the FAA Part 107 Practice Test have a very good chance of clearing the Part 107 test on the first attempt itself.
Check out reviews page where our Part 107 students share their awesome experiences.
ONCE you pass the 107, now the fun begins. To truly be successful you’ll have to practice your operations and missions. In addition, you’ll have to setup your business to scale from the start.
Drone U members gain access to all these classes that we currently have. I’d recommend the DCC, operations course, subject tracking and Kara’s business class. All of these classes are included with your membership.
The FAA 107 test consists of 60 questions. To clear this test and get your Part 107 license, you need to get a minimum passing score of 70%. This means that you need to get at least 42 questions right. You will have 120 minutes or 2 hours to complete this test. The Part 107 recurrent knowledge test has 40 questions, and you have 80 minutes to complete this test.
This is a question that aspiring drone pilots often ask us. The Part 107 Airspace section is difficult to learn without the right guidance. Fortunately, we have FAA Certified Flight Instructor Ted Wilson who teaches airspace in his own unique way in our FAA Part 107 Online Course. Among other things, you will learn –
The different categories of airspace and how to remember them
How to read sectional charts
Controlled vs. Uncontrolled Airspace
What are “warning areas”? Can you fly in “warning areas”?
How to check for NOTAM’s
Absolutely. We have a comprehensive online test which exactly simulates your Part 107 experience. If you consistently score 90% and above on your Part 107 practice tests and quizzes, you are ready to pass the Part 107 exam.
Click here to check out our Part 107 Practice Test.
Part 107 test cost is an affordable $175. Of course, you need to get a passing score of 70% or higher to avoid retaking the test. Note that this cost does not include the cost of your Part 107 test prep.
There are more than 300 Part 107 Testing Centers in the United States. And, it is likely that you will find one near you. Check out the entire list of Part 107 Testing Centers. Once you find a testing center near you, you can easily schedule your test by calling CATS at (844) 704-1487.
Frankly the time that it takes to study and acquire your license varies from person to person. We have seen people do it in a few days to a week. We have also used data to realize that the average time to study then take the test is about 18 days.
Your FAA drone certificate is valid for two years from the end of the month of your initial Part 107 Exam. Be sure to renew your commercial drone certificate before it becomes non-current.
If you’re a Part 107 commercial pilot or you’re a hobby pilot and flying a drone weighing less than 55 pounds, you need to register the drone though FAADroneZone. Registration cost is $5, and your registration is valid for 3 years. According to FAA requirement, you also need to label your drone with your registration number ON THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR DRONE. In order to register your drone, you will need –
Your Email Address
Make and Model of your drone
Your Mailing Address
Credit or Debit card
Update: Also FAA has not released remote ID protocol yet, so make sure to check the box that your drone is not RID compliant. (The FAA needs to release the protocol so the industry knows what is RID compliance)
Check out our instructional video, “Navigating the FAADroneZone” for more information on this. If you are a part 107 pilot flying a drone larger than 55 pounds, you need to register your drone as “non-modeler” with the FAADroneZone.
If you are a new drone pilot, you will likely start with simple jobs like real estate photography and videography. However, as you progress to more complex and lucrative drone jobs, your requirements will change accordingly.
Many new drone pilots start with a DJI or Autel drone. The two most popular drones are the DJI Mavic 2 Pro or DJI Phantom 4 Pro. DJI commands much of the U.S. drone market and is very popular. Autel also makes a drone called the EVO 2. While not as advanced as the Mavic 2 series, it is a very good drone, not only to begin with but also to continue to use.
Both the Mavic and Autel series are good drones for aerial photography and videography. And since it has a 20MP sensor, the Mavic 2 Pro (not Zoom) is also good for some of the lower end inspection projects, like roofs and some cell towers. The Mavic 2 pro offers the best camera control and color depth, and frankly takes amazing video. If you’re looking for 4k 60fps, stick with the Phantom 4 Pro for video. Considering getting into mapping? Then stick with a Phantom 4 Pro.
As far as accessories, additional batteries are always recommended, as is a hard-sided case from GoProfessionalCases for safety during travel. And a landing pad is a must for those locations where a clean launch area is not available.
Check out our in-depth Mavic 2 Pro Review and Autel EVO Review.
Drone U Recommendations –
Best Drone for Aerial Videography and Photography: Mavic 2 Pro
Best Drone for Mapping: Phantom 4 Pro
Most Versatile Drone: Inspire 2 Pro
DJI Alternative: Autel Evo or Parrot
Click on this link for a complete list of drone accessories.
You should know the answer to this question after taking the class. When it comes to operational requirements, there are requirements besides airspace that you must be aware of. Once you have bought your drone, this is the next question that drone pilots ask us. First of all, you cannot fly your drone BVLOS or Beyond Visual Line of Sight. Secondly, you cannot fly your drone higher than 400 feet AGL (Above Ground Level).
These are some resources which make it easy for you to determine where you can fly and where you cannot fly –
FAA Visualize it
For a more detailed breakdown on these topics, check out our show, “Where Can I Fly My Drone? Should I Rely on Drone Apps for Checking Airspace?“
Certain US states have made it mandatory for pilots with a Part 107 License to purchase drone insurance. However, even if the law of the land does not require that you purchase insurance, we strongly recommend that you do so. For what to buy, and how to buy, check out our comprehensive, Drone Insurance Guide. Many Drone U members have been earning their educational discount and acquiring monthly insurance through Skywatch.
In order to fly in controlled airspace, you will have to seek FAA’s approval using their LAANC system (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability). Two of the most popular options for getting LAANC approval are the Kittyhawk mobile app and the Skyward website. Check out our blog post, “LAANC Apps – Using Kittyhawk and Skyward for Approval” for more information on this topic.
According to new FAA drone rules, hobby pilots need airspace approval by using LAANC or FAADroneZone for flying in controlled airspace. But, only LAANC providers are equipped to handle the requests. Because FAADroneZone is not yet equipped to handle requests from hobby pilots, the new FAA drone rules ban hobby pilots from flying in controlled airspace, at least for now.
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