Drone flying has become more than just a hobby and is now integrated into various fields of work. These small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) have a lot of features that can help in a number of applications from use of drones in real estate to agriculture to much more and aren’t just limited to taking pictures and videos.
If your skills of flying a drone are spectacular and you want to take your hobby to the next level, there a few simple steps to take you to your destination.
First, it is imperative that you register your drone, which should be under 55 pounds. Second, you must give and pass the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Part 107 Knowledge Exam.
What is the FAA Part 107 exam?
For quite some time using the power of drones for commercial use wasn’t possible for just everyone. This was so that the wrong people didn’t use this power incorrectly.
Recently, as a big development for the drone and quadcopter industry, it has been declared that from 29th August 2016, almost anyone in the U.S. can get a commercial, remote pilot operator’s certificate by simply appearing for and passing a knowledge test.
This exam is the Part 107, also called the Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule.
What are the requirements?
In order to become a commercial sUAS operator under this, the FAA has the following requirements –
- Be at least 16 years old
- Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet one of these requirements for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment)
- Be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS
- Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center
What does the exam consist of?
When giving the Knowledge Exam, you will have to answer about 60 to 65 questions. Each comes with 3 choices, with one of them being correct. You will have 2 hours to complete it and the minimum passing score for the exam is 70%.
Out of these questions –
- 15-25 percent of the questions cover regulations
- 15-25 percent cover airspace and requirements
- 11-16 percent cover weather
- 7-11 percent cover loading and performance
- 35-45 percent cover operations
How to study for the exam?
There are plenty of free and useful guides available on the Internet as well as professional drone training colleges and courses to help you study for this test and have you on your way to becoming a commercial drone pilot. There really isn't any need to use paid courses due to the number of amazing free ones available online. The FAA has also released their own free Part 107 UAS online training course, and many exam takers claim that if you are 100% of the material here, you should be able to pass with no problems!
Alternately, they also recommend studying from other sources such as –
- Airmen Certification Standards (PDF)
- Knowledge Test Instructions (PDF)
- Knowledge Test Study Guide (PDF)
- Knowledge Test Sample Questions (PDF)
- Part 107 Advisory Circular (PDF)
- Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
How much does it cost?
It costs $150 to take the initial aeronautical knowledge test at Knowledge Testing Centers. You can read more about it on the FAA’s FAQ page.
What if you fail?
In the event that you fail your first exam attempt, you can retake the knowledge test after 14 calendar days from the date of the previous failure.
Once you do pass and get your certificate you can be on your way to starting a cool and prosperous career with drones. If you are looking for drone pilot jobs, here are some tips to get you started!