Understanding the Part 107 Certification
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) understands the value that drones can have for your business, but it still needs to be prudent in its regulation of aircrafts (which is essentially what your drone is).
As such, the FAA has outlined a set of regulations specific to the operating of unmanned aircrafts for commercial purposes. This is regulated under 14 CFR Part 107, or more commonly known simply as “Part 107”.
Being certified under Part 107 doesn’t require you to be an aviation expert, but it does prove that you are competent and informed in order to operate a drone safely.
We’ll outline some of the basic information here. For more detail, please visit FAA’s page on getting started with drones.
You won’t need to be an aviation expert, but you are going to learn quite a bit of new things. The important thing to keep in mind is that what you’re learning will make you more competent and confident in your ability to operate a drone safely.
There are five topics around unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that you’ll need to be familiar with:
- Airspace and Requirements
- Loading and Performance
This further breaks down into these key knowledge areas:
- Applicable regulations relating to privileges, limitations, and flight operation
- Airspace classification and operating requirements and flight restrictions
- Aviation weather sources and the effects of weather
- Loading and performance
- Emergency procedures
- Crew resource management
- Radio communication procedures
- Determining aircraft performance
- Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol (“Don’t drink and drone”)
- Decision-making and judgment
- Airport operations
- Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures
Although this sounds like a lot, don’t put yourself in a tail-spin. We’ll help break these down for you in the provided study resources below.
The actual test itself is called the “Aeronautical Knowledge Test”. You will need to take the test at a FAA-certified testing center. To locate one near you, click here. We recommend scheduling your test a few weeks in advance.
Upon arrival, you’ll be introduced to a test proctor who will take you to a desk with a computer. You will be given reference materials to help answer some of the questions on the test.
You have two hours to complete your test, so take your time.
Here are details around how the test is set up:
- It will be an objective, multiple-choice test.
- There will be 60 questions, with three single responses (A,B, and C) per question.
- Each test question is independent of other test questions. This means that a correct response to one will not depend upon, or influence, the correct response to another.
- Some questions may require you to reference airspace maps or charts. These reference materials will be provided to you as a testing supplement.
- The minimum passing score is 70% (so you need to get at least 42 questions right).
Yes. The cost of the test is $150.
It’s important to note that the money does not go to the FAA, it goes to the testing center and you’ll pay this amount when you register to take your test (whether online or over the phone).
There is a nominal fee that you’ll pay to the FAA when you register your drone ($5), but you will not pay any fees to the FAA associated with applying for your license, completing a TSA background check, or the issuance of your certificate.
First, it’s important to note that some of the study resources we provide below have more than a 99% pass rate. Having said that, if you don’t pass, it isn’t the end of the world.
You can retake the test after 14 calendar days. Use this time to relax and study up on those areas of the test you aren’t sure of.
You will need to reschedule your test and pay another $150 to take it again.
First, you pat yourself on the back. Congratulations.
Then you’ll want to apply for your Remote Pilot Certificate. To do this you:
- Register using the FAA IACRA system
- After registering, log in with your username and password
- Click on:
- “Start New Application”
- For application type select, “Pilot”
- For certifications select “Remote Pilot”
- Start your application and follow the prompts
- Enter the 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID (this will be provided to you after you pass your test – don’t lose it – and it may take 48 hours from the test date for your knowledge test results to appear in IACRA)
- Sign the application electronically and submit it
You’ll receive a temporary Remote Pilot Certificate after you’ve passed your TSA security background check, and your permanent certificate will be sent via snail mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete. This can take 8-12 weeks, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t come right away.
Part 107 Study Resources
We’ve compiled a variety of resources to help you prepare to be a Part 107 certified drone operator.
There are a variety of publicly available resources you can access to help you learn the material. And for those who want more structure and guidance, we’ve partnered with Drone Pilot Ground School to get you full access to their material at a discounted rate.
Do you want something more structured? We’ve partnered with UAV Coach and Drone Pilot Ground School to get you a discount on their top-notch on-demand video training with full support. Drone Pilot Ground School has an exceptional pass rate of 99%, so if you want a rather sure way to get your certificate, visit them here.
Here are three great resources you can use at no cost: