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How to become a drone pilot

Have you wondered how to become a drone pilot? If you want to use your drone for aerial photography/videography jobs or to create monetized content, you must first take a few steps to obtain your drone pilot certification. 

In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of obtaining your FAA drone license and registering a drone, so you can legally fly and capture stunning footage from the sky.

Do You Need a License to Fly a Drone?

The short answer is yes, but it depends on your purpose. If you are trying to earn money with your drone or fly commercially, you need to obtain a Part 107 certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This also applies if you have a monetized YouTube channel where you share drone footage. 

In other words, you don’t need a license to fly a drone if you’re doing it for fun, but you will need a drone license if you plan on making any type of income from it.

How to Get Your FAA Drone License 

To get a part 107 license, follow the steps below!

Check Your Eligibility

To be eligible for a Part 107 drone pilot certification, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Be able to understand, speak, read, and write in English
  • Be in a good physical and mental condition in which you can safely fly a drone
  • Take and pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam (Unmanned Aircraft General-Small UAG)
How to become a drone pilot

Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN)

To get your FTN, you must register with the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website. If you’re a new user, sign up and register as an applicant. 

After reading the terms and conditions, fill out the required information, create a login and password, and register.

Afterward, you’ll get an email with your FTN, which you will then use to set up the test.

Study for the Part 107 Exam

This isn’t the kind of test where you can wing it! You will need to spend a significant amount of time preparing for this exam. 

Numerous online resources, videos, and practice tests can help you prepare for the exam. You can search YouTube for free information or invest in a paid course. 

How Long Should I Study For Part 107?

You’ll likely want to start studying at least a month before, but you can start earlier to be safe!

New Topics On The Part 107 Exam

If you rely on free YouTube videos to help you prepare for the test, know that some of them may need to be updated. This is because, in 2021, new topics were added to the test. These include night operations, remote identification, and flying over people – so don’t forget to study these areas!

FAA Part 107 Practice Test

You can complete practice exams at faa.psiexams.com. Once you get to this page, click on “Practice Exams.” Then, scroll down to “Unmanned Aircraft General-Small UAS,” and hit “Select.”

Should I Invest in a Paid Course To Help Me Study?

For most people, the answer is yes! Often, paid courses will guarantee that if you don’t pass this exam, they will give you your money back, making it worth the money!

Here are a few places to take a drone license course

  • Pilot institute part 107 course  The Pilot Institute offers a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification course that includes video lectures, practice exams, and a study guide. They also offer advanced courses in drone operation and maintenance. You can find more information about their courses on their website:
  • Drone Pilot Ground School – This is an online course that provides training for the Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification. The course covers everything from the basics of drone flight to advanced topics like airspace regulations and weather. You can find more information and register for the course on their website.
  • Unmanned Vehicle University – This university offers a variety of drone-related courses, including a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification course. They also offer more advanced courses in drone technology and operations. You can find more information about their courses on their website
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – This university offers a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification course as well as more advanced courses in unmanned systems. You can find more information about their courses on their website.

Schedule and Take the Part 107 Exam

After studying, you will need to schedule your exam at an FAA-authorized testing center. This test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, and you get two hours to complete it – you must score at least 70% to pass. The exam fee is typically around $175.

It would be best to arrive at the testing center at least 15 minutes before your scheduled exam. You will forfeit the exam if you show up more than 30 minutes later. Bring your ID to the testing center, including a photo, date, signature, and residential address for US Citizens. If you’re a Resident Alien, you must present a government-issued photo ID to fulfill these requirements.  

When you get to the testing center to take the exam, you cannot take anything with you into the testing room except for your keys and ID. You can expect to see several computers when you walk in, with people taking other exams. 

While everyone tests differently, many people use the entire two hours for this test. With only 60 questions, it may seem like you’ll be out in no time, but some questions can be tricky!

As soon as your test is completed, you’ll find out right then and there if you’ve passed it or not. You will receive a document with your knowledge test exam ID and information on your test results. Hang on to this form – you will need it for the next step! 

Apply for Your Remote Pilot Certificate

Once you pass the exam, you can apply for a remote pilot certificate by completing FAA Form 8710-13. You will also need to pass a TSA security background check. Once everything is processed, the certificate will be mailed to you, and you will officially be a drone pilot!

Drone Registration

In addition to obtaining your Part 107 certification, you should register your drone with the FAA. Registering a drone is required for both recreational and commercial drone pilots. There is a $5 registration fee, and your registration will be valid for three years. To register your drone, visit the FAA DroneZone website and follow the instructions provided.

Drone Pilot Certification Renewal

Your remote pilot certification will be valid for two years. To maintain your certification, you must pass an online recurrent knowledge test before the end of the two years. This ensures you stay up-to-date with the latest drone regulations and safety practices.

How To Become a Drone Pilot: Final Thoughts

Becoming a drone pilot can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By obtaining your FAA drone license and registering your drone, you can legally and responsibly enjoy the art of drone flying. Whether you’re capturing breathtaking aerial footage for your YouTube channel or offering your services as a professional drone pilot, the sky’s the limit!

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