The future is here, drones are flying around and they are getting cheaper and easier to operate. If you are interested in becoming a drone pilot, this article will cover everything you need to know to obtain a drone operator license.
Since drones travel fast and could cause lots of harm to property and people, the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA has created rules that all operators must follow.
If you are interested in flying drones commercially or for hire, you must also obtain a remote pilot certificate. This article will detail how to earn your part 107 remote pilot certificate from the FAA.
What Are the Part 107 Drone requirements?
The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, created rules and regulations for the safe operation of drones. They are also called small-UAS, or unmanned aircraft systems.
Part 107 refers to the section of the code of federal regulations about drone operation. Commercial operators require a remote pilot certificate from the FAA. The process is simple. This article will cover how to obtain your drone pilot license.
Who Needs a Commercial Drone Operator License?
If you are flying your drone for recreational or private use, you do not require a license. If you are using the drone to make money or commercially, it requires a part 107 drone operator license.
If you are unsure if you need a license for flying your drone, ask these questions.
- Am I making money from flying this drone?
- Is someone paying me for the photos or videos provided?
The primary difference is whether money is exchanging hands.
Regardless of the type of operation, all drone owners are responsible for their drones and following the law. Just like all drivers must follow the rules of the road, even if not driving for hire, all drone pilots must operate within part 107 rules.
FLY8MA offers a comprehensive course to help you master everything you need to know to fly drones safely.
What Are the Requirements To Be a Licensed Drone Pilot?
To obtain your remote pilot certificate, you must:
- Be 16 years of age or older
- Speak, read, and write English
- Be in a mental and physical condition for safe drone operation
- Study for and pass the aeronautical knowledge exam
If you are not currently a pilot, follow the guide below to start obtaining your remote pilot certificate.
How to Become a Drone Pilot?
Follow this simple guide if you are using a drone for photography, business, commercial-use, or any other reason which requires a license. Follow along with this video for help.
Step 1:Obtain an FTN, or flight tracking number from the FAA. You do this online, using IACRA.
Step 2: Study for the aeronautical knowledge exam. It is a 60 question test that covers these subjects:
- Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
- Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
- Weather and its effect on drones
- Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
- Radio communication procedures
- performance of small unmanned aircraft
- Aeronautical decision-making
- Airport operations
- Maintenance and preflight
FLY8MA has a comprehensive course to help you study and ace your test (our students have a 100% pass rating, and we guarantee you will pass on your first try too). Get started today to earn your remote pilot certificate. You can try the practice test here to see how much you already know!
Step 3: Register at one of 800 plus testing centers to take your remote pilot aeronautical knowledge exam.
Step 4: Log in to IACRA again to complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application). You will enter your 17-digit knowledge test exam ID and sign the form. This proves you have completed the test and passed.
Step 5: A TSA background check is conducted, and you will receive instructions to print out your temporary remote pilot certificate.
Step 6: Your permanent remote pilot certificate is sent in the mail. It may take 6-8 weeks.
Step 7: Register your drone with the FAA. It is a quick process and costs $5. The registration is valid for three years.
Congratulations! You are now a remote pilot. However, you may have noticed, none of these steps involved actually flying a drone. Throughout this process, you should learn and study the best practices for drone operation.
There are many videos on youtube and guides online to help you with the type of drone flying you will do. If you are getting paid to fly a drone you want to be a professional and not crash the drone or miss the photo because you don’t know what you are doing!
How to Obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate if You Are a Pilot
If you are an already licensed part 61 pilot, the process is slightly easier. You do not need to take a part 107 test, just an online course.
If you possess a part 61 pilot certificate and have completed a flight review within the 24 calendar months you are eligible.
Step 1: Log in, or create an account on the FAAFAASTeam website.
Step 2: Take the online training called: “Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems ALC-451.” The course covers all knowledge areas necessary for safe drone operation
Step 3: Log into IACRA
Step 4: Complete Form 8710-13 in IACRA. Start a new pilot certificate. Select remote pilot and follow the instructions.
Step 5: Take your completed Form 8710-13, a photo ID, proof of your current flight review, and your FAAFAASTeam course certificate to one of these representatives:
- FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO)
- With an FAA-designated pilot examiner (DPE)
- An airman certification representative (ACR)
- Any certificated flight instructor (CFI)*
Step 6: The representative will review your application and make you a temporary airman certificate.
- Your permanent certificate will arrive in the mail after a few weeks.
Make sure to always carry your certificate anytime you are operating a drone.
How to keep your Drone Operator License Current
After initially completing the test and obtaining your license, you must also follow a few rules to stay current. Your certificate is valid for two years unless kept up to date with the following two methods.
Here are the requirements from the FAA’s website on drone license requirements.
If you have a Remote Pilot Certificate, you are required to have completed one of the following within the previous 24 calendar months to operate UAS under part 107:
- Pass the initial (Unmanned Aircraft General or UAG) or recurrent (Unmanned General Recurrent or UGR) knowledge test. If requested by the FAA, you must show proof of completion of the test.
- If you are a current aircraft pilot and hold a part 61 pilot certificate, you may complete the Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (small UAS) Recurrent online training course. If requested by the FAA, you must show a copy of your recurrent Certificate of Achievement.
As a drone pilot, it is your responsibility to stay up to date and current with all new rules and regulations. If you are operating a drone and unsure of the exact rules, wait, and consult with the FAA. Or review current informational guides before flying.
Become a Drone Pilot
The technology of new consumer-use drones is incredible. They provide 4k video and photography, are easy to use, and are increasingly affordable. Many people have taken this opportunity to start new businesses and make great money.
You can get in now, as this industry will continue to grow. Take the time now to learn the rules, take the FAA test, and get your drone operator license. There are lots of new exciting drone pilot jobs.
The process is simple, and FLY8MA will guide your path. Get started today!