Since 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established regulations for UAS operations. Known as Part 107, this set of laws require a license for commercial flight. So unless you are flying your UAS for recreational purposes, a Part 107 license is necessary. Part 107 rules apply to commercial operators (i.e. real estate, surveying, inspections) and public safety pilots. Public safety pilots have another certification option known as a Certificate of Authorization or COA. You can read about its advantages here. However, in this article, we’ll focus on the Part 107 license since it’s applicable to most pilots.
To begin the process for a Part 107 license, the FAA outlines several eligibility requirements.
- Prospective pilot must be at least 16 years old
- Capable of speaking, reading, and writing in English
- Physically and mentally fit to fly
Getting Your License
As a new pilot, you have to first create an IACRA profile and receive an FAA Tracking Number (FTN). This is done on their website here.
Once obtaining an FTN, the next step is to schedule an appointment to take the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam. These tests take place at FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Centers and require you to bring government-issued identification.
To pass the UAG exam, you need a minimum score of 42 out of 60 questions correct, or 70%. After passing the test, new pilots need to apply for a remote pilot certificate using FAA Form 8710-13. This is completed online using the FAA’s IACRA system.
Using the IACRA account created, you will apply for a Remote Pilot Certificate under Pilot Application Type. After inputting the Knowledge Test ID, submit the application. A confirmation email will provide instructions for printing a temporary certificate until the permanent version arrives in the mail. You must present it upon request when operating a UAS.
The FAA Part 107 Test cost is a flat fee of 175 USD.
After the Exam
The FAA requires certified pilots to take a Part 107 Recurrent exam every 24 months to keep their knowledge up to date. You can take the test at no cost and online. It requires a score of 100% correct on 60 questions, although it is open-book.
A recurrent exam also counts towards your eligibility for night operations. Since the inception of Part 107 rules, flights at night or over people required a waiver from the FAA prior to operations. As of April 21, 2021, neither operation requires a waiver under special conditions. One condition to be eligible to fly at night is the completion of an updated knowledge exam or recurrent exam. The other requirements for these flights are found here.
Part 107 Training
While the Part 107 process is fairly straightforward, taking the knowledge exam requires significant preparation. It covers an expansive set of topics including but not limited to:
- UAS regulations
- Airport operations
- Emergency procedures
- Aircraft performance
- Weather and UAS operation
One of the many courses offered by FLYMOTION is Part 107 Test Prep. Our instructors cover all aspects of the exam and the process of developing a UAS program at your agency. Check out our website for more details on our training courses.
A Part 107 certification opens the door to the full potential of UAS platforms. Taking the time to understand the exam concepts will not only be money well-spent but increased value to you the operator. Have any questions? Reach out to a FLYMOTION representative here.