Do you want to take flight with a commercial drone pilot license? Well, you have arrived at the right place. In this guide, you will learn how to obtain your FAA Part 107 license and understand why drone certification is important for you.
Drones, or unmanned aerial systems (UAVs) are revolutionizing many industries across the board. Becoming a certified drone pilot will open doors to the numerous opportunities available in the market.
While roughly 90% of people who take the test pass on the first try, it does not mean the test is easy. You will need to have a solid understanding of safe flight operations, the regulations governing the use of drones, and aeronautical decision making.
That’s where drone certification comes into the picture.
If you are serious about building your career as a professional drone pilot, the Part 107 Certification will open the doors of opportunity for you.
Let’s take a quick look at the importance of Part 107 certification and what it means for you as a certified drone pilot.
According to Precedence Research, the Drone Service Industry will be 87.02 billion dollars by 2032.
As more and more industries realize the incredible efficiency and cost savings offered by drones, the demand for certified drone pilots is only going northwards.
The opportunities are endless – right from mapping, surveying, and photography to videography, inspections, security, and 3D modeling just to name a few.
Also, the drones are increasingly being utilized for important life-saving missions such as search and rescue operations, assessing natural disaster damage, and identifying potential hazards.
To capitalize on these opportunities, earning your part 107 license is the ideal first step.
So, jump right in and learn the fundamentals of Part 107 certification and what it entails.
Drone certification, also known as a Remote Pilot Certificate or Part 107 license, is an official designation from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If you’re planning to offer drone services to clients or potential employers, the Part 107 certification is a must.
FAA Part 107 License | Source: Medium.com
Earning this certification allows you to legally fly drones for commercial purposes in the United States. The certification process involves passing a knowledge test called the Part 107 exam. You also need to meet other FAA requirements.
Passing the Part 107 exam demonstrates that you have a good understanding of airspace regulations and safety protocols which prepares you to fly safely within the acceptable use policy provided by the FAA.
Let me give you a quick overview of the general guidelines you must be familiar with.
Here are the guidelines for drone operators under Part 107:
Related Reading: Check out “New Drone Laws in the USA” to get more information on the regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
NOTE: If you are a recreational drone pilot, you need to pass The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST).
TRUST Certificate | Source: Reclaimdrone.com
Now that you are aware of the basics, let’s jump right into the steps to get a commercial drone pilot license.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to earn your drone license:
Step 1: Meet the Eligibility Criteria
Step 2: Meet the Basic Requirements
Step 3: Prepare Exam Topics and Question Types
Step 4: Follow the Application Process and Take the Test
To earn a commercial drone pilot license under 14 CFR Part 107, here are the eligibility criteria.
For First-Time Pilots
For Existing Part 61 Certificate Holders
Remote Pilot Certificate for First-Time Pilots:
Remote Pilot Certificate for Existing Part 61 Certificate Holders:
The Part 107 exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering the following topics:
Initial Aeronautical Knowledge Test Topic Areas – For First-Time Pilots Include:
Part 107 Small UAS Initial (Alc-451) Online Training Course – For Existing Part 61 Certificate Holders Will Cover These Topic Areas:
Here are the steps to obtain your commercial drone pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Prepare the necessary documents and forms for your application. This typically includes
IACRA Login Page
Process for First-Time pilots
Step 1: Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
Step 2: Schedule an appointment with an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center. Be sure to bring a government-issued photo ID to your test.
Step 3: Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge test: “Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)”.
Step 4: Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application System (IACRA)*
Process for Existing Part 61 Certificate Holders
Step 1: Create an account, or log into your existing account, on the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) website.
Step 2: Complete the Part 107 Small UAS Initial (ALC-451) online training course.
Step 3: Create an account, or log into your existing account, in IACRA.
Step 4: Complete Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) in IACRA.
Step 5: Make an appointment with one of the following entities to validate your identity. Bring your completed Form 8710-13, proof of your current flight review, photo ID, and your online course completion certificate.
Please note: * CFIs cannot issue temporary certificates. They can process applications for applicants who do not want a temporary certificate.
After submitting the form as a first-time pilot, you will receive a confirmation email once your TSA security background check is complete. This email will contain instructions for printing a temporary remote pilot certificate from IACRA.
Typically, you’ll receive your temporary remote pilot certificate within a week.
Your permanent remote pilot certificate will be mailed once all other FAA-internal processing is complete. It will take approximately 6-10 weeks to process and send your permanent certificate.
If you hold a Part 61 certificate, you can have a representative sign your application and issue you a temporary airman certificate. You will get your permanent certificate via U.S. mail within a few weeks.
Make sure to have your Remote Pilot Certificate readily available whenever you operate your drone.
Obtaining your commercial drone pilot certificate is a significant milestone that involves navigating a formal application process with the FAA.
By diligently following the outlined steps and submitting a complete and accurate application, you can become a certified commercial drone pilot, enabling you to safely and legally operate drones for commercial purposes in full compliance with FAA regulations.
Now that we have covered the process of getting your Part 107 certification, let us focus on the elephant in the room, preparing for your Part 107 exam.
The FAA Part 107 license exam is a comprehensive assessment designed to evaluate the knowledge and understanding of commercial drone pilots regarding the regulations and operational requirements for drone operations in the United States.
Drone U has helped over 20,000 pilots pass the Part 107 license exam. The ideal first step is to download our comprehensive Part 107 Study Guide.
Commercial Drone Pilot License Guide by Drone U
The FAA provides an official study guide that covers all the topics included in the exam. It is a comprehensive resource that serves as the primary reference for exam preparation.
There are numerous online courses available that provide in-depth training on the topics covered in the commercial drone certification exam. These courses often include practice exams, study materials, and instructional videos to help aspiring pilots prepare effectively.
When it comes to preparing for your drone pilot license test, we’ve got you covered with
Part 107 Study Material Offered by Drone U
The FAA website offers a wealth of information, including regulations, guides, and resources to prepare for the Part 107 test.
After covering the exam procedure and study materials, it’s time for you to take your preparation to the next level! Here are some hand-picked tips to help you pass your commercial drone pilot exam:
The FAA study guide is the primary resource for exam preparation. Make sure you build a solid understanding of all the topics covered in the guide.
Many online courses and study resources offer practice exams that can help you assess your knowledge and identify weak areas that require further review. So, it is always important to take as many practice exams as possible.
Familiarize yourself with the current FAA regulations and airspace rules, including airspace classification, airspace restrictions, and operational requirements for commercial drones.
Weather can significantly impact drone operations. Learn the basics of weather and meteorology, including reading weather charts and interpreting weather information.
Safety is a critical aspect of commercial drone operations. Study the operational safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and crew resource management concepts thoroughly.
The Part 107 exam has a time limit, so practice time management during your preparation. This will help you to pace yourself during the actual exam.
Since FAA regulations can change, it’s vital to stay up-to-date with the latest guidelines and regulations released by the FAA. You can find updated information on the USA drone laws page. Stay informed with the latest regulations to ensure safe and legal drone operations.
In conclusion, preparing for the FAA Part 107 license exam requires a thorough understanding of the FAA regulations, airspace rules, weather, and operational safety guidelines.
As a commercial drone operator, it’s crucial to be aware of the special considerations that come with the territory. From insurance requirements to airspace restrictions, these factors can significantly impact your operations.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of these considerations to ensure safe and compliant drone operations.
Note: You do not need a waiver to fly a drone following Part 107 rules. You do need a waiver when you want to operate a drone contrary to the rules in Part 107 under the waivable operations listed below.
|To||You need a waiver from|
|Fly a small UAS from a moving aircraft or a vehicle in populated areas||§ 107.25 – Operation from a Moving Vehicle or Aircraft|
|Fly a small UAS at night without anti-collision lighting||§ 107.29(a)(2) – Operation at night|
|Fly a small UAS during periods of civil twilight without anti-collision lighting||§ 107.29(b) – Operation at Night|
|Fly a small UAS beyond your ability to clearly determine the position, altitude, attitude, and movement of the sUA, with unaided vision.||§ 107.31 – Visual Line of Sight Aircraft Operation|
|Use a visual observer without following all visual observer requirements||§ 107.33 – Visual Observer|
|Fly multiple small UAS with only one remote pilot||§ 107.35 – Operation of Multiple Small UAS|
|Fly over a person with a small UAS which does not meet conditions of operational categories 1, 2, 3, or 4||§ 107.39 – Operation over human beings.|
|Fly a small UAS:
||§ 107.51 – Operating Limitations for Small Unmanned Aircraft|
|Fly over moving vehicles with a small UAS which does not meet conditions of operational categories 1, 2, 3, or 4||§ 107.145 – Operations Over Moving Vehicles|
Request a waiver for only what you need to fly your mission. Additionally, you can review the criteria to evaluate waiver applications: Part 107 Waiver – Section Specific Evaluation Information (PDF)
Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without air traffic control (ATC) permission. Class B, C, D, and E airspace operations need ATC authorization.
The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) uses desktop and mobile apps designed to support the volume of drone operations with almost real-time airspace authorizations. It is now live at more than 530 FAA ATC facilities covering over 726 airports throughout the country. any authorizations are granted within seconds of being submitted.
Currently, LAANC only applies to FAA ATC facilities and does not yet include contract or Department of Defense ATC facilities.
FAADroneZone is a one-stop, online shop for drone registration and for requesting waivers or airspace authorizations (where LAANC is not available).
FAADroneZone Drone Registration
The B4UFLY app provides situational awareness to recreational flyers and other drone users, including interactive maps that show where recreational flyers can and cannot fly.
The B4UFLY app is available for free download on the App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android. In addition to the mobile app, B4UFLY also offers a desktop version for preflight planning and research.
Check out this video to address any concerns and get clarification about the FAA Part 107 certification:
An interface used by the remote pilot to control the flight path of the small unmanned aircraft
This means spectacles or contact lenses
An unmanned aircraft weight less than 55 lbs. on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft
A small unmanned aircraft and its associated elements are required for the safe and efficient operation of small unmanned aircraft in the national airspace system
An aircraft operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.
A person who is designated by the remote pilot in command to assist the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the sUAS to see and avoid other air traffic or objects aloft or on the ground.
A person other than the remote pilot in command who is controlling the flight of an sUAS under the supervision of the remote PIC
A person who holds a remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating and has the final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of an sUAS operation conducted under Part 107.
To operate your drone under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule (Part 107), you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. If you intend to fly for recreational purposes, you must pass The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST).
To fly under Part 107 rules, there are 3 main steps.
Step 1: Learn the Rules
Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test
Step 3: Register your Drone with the FAA
The Remote Pilot Certificate is valid for two years. After that, you’ll need to complete a recurrent training course and pass a knowledge test to renew your certificate.
Study materials are available online. Applicants can review the Airman Certification Standards (ACS) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (PDF), the Remote Pilot Study Guide (PDF), and the online sample questions (PDF) available on the FAA website.
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