The FAA has released a draft of the details of the Part 107 test for commercial drone operators who do not already hold a Part 61 pilot’s license. (For details on the process if you already hold a Part 61 pilot’s license, follow the links above.)
The big change for drone operators in Part 107 was the relaxation of the previous requirement that commercial drone operators hold a manned aircraft pilot’s license. That requirement has been replaced with a written “aeronautical knowledge test” which looks a little more like getting your driver’s license: you have to be 14 to take the test (16 to get the certification), you have to show up at an authorized testing center, and you have to take a knowledge test covering all aspects of drone operation to ensure that you know how to fly safely.
The FAA recognizes that safe operations in today’s complex National Airspace System (NAS) require a more systematic integration of aeronautical knowledge, risk management and flight proficiency standards. ..The ACS [Airman Certification Standards] integrates the elements of knowledge and risk management in 14 CFR part 107 for a Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small UAS Rating. It thus forms the comprehensive standard for what an applicant must know and consider for the safe conduct and successful completion of each Task to be tested on the knowledge test.
The draft linked to above, titled “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards” provides a comprehensive list of topics along with explanations of the process, but here are some of the highlights:
The test will be 60 multiple-choice questions, and they will be broken out according to the following topics, says the FAA’s draft:
- 15 – 25%: Regulations
- 8- 15% : Airspace and Requirements
- 11 -16%: Weather
- 7-11% :Loading and Performance
- 13 – 18%: Operations
70% is a passing grade; if you fail, you can re-take the test after 14 days.
The test can be taken at on of the FAA’s testing centers. There are almost 700 of these; you can find the one nearest you here. Just like taking your driver’s license test, you have to schedule – and pay, about $150 – in advance; and you’ll need a photo ID to take the test. There is also an English language requirement.
Drone pilots looking for study guides could take the FAA’s online course for Part 61 certificate holders, and can find more information on the FAA.gov website. Operators hoping to become certified will be able to take the test beginning at the end of August when Part 107 goes into effect.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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