When it comes to commercially flying drones–no matter the capacity–all pilots need to be Part 107 certified. Part 107 certification is an FAA requirement implemented back in August 2016. But even after nearly four years, many people still have more questions than answers. And one of the most prevalent questions we get is simple: How do I get Part 107 certified?
First, a little history: back in 2016, the FAA anticipated there to be around 100,000 certified drone pilots by 2019. As it turns out, the administration underestimated that prediction by more than 15%. Now, the FAA estimates Part 107 remote pilots will outnumber instrument-rated pilots–of all certificate types–by 2023. This speaks volumes to the level of growth drones and drone certified pilots have seen over the past several years.
Rise in Jobs
Drone pilots have also seen an uptick in job opportunities, as more businesses are seeing the benefits of implementing drones into their operations. The FAA estimates about 1 in 5 operations conducted under Part 107 are flown for filming, entertainment, or live event coverage purposes. Taking into account all Part 107 flight missions, utility and industrial uses across the electric and petroleum energy sectors have grown by approximately 16%. Real estate and property management (13%) and construction industry applications (8%) are also leading use cases for Part 107 pilots.
But the question remains: How does one get Part 107 certified? It’s simpler than you might think:
- Be 16 years or older and able to read, speak, write, and understand English (non-U.S. citizens are allowed to take the test)
- Study for the Part 107 knowledge test
- Make an appointment to take the test in-person at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC)
- Pass the 60-question, multiple-choice exam with a score of 70% or higher
- Complete form 8710–13 via the FAA IACRA system
- Receive your permanent remote pilot certificate via mail.
Of course, there are still frequently asked questions that can tandem the bullet points above.
Where Can I Get Certified?
There are approximately 700 FAA-approved aeronautical knowledge testing centers across the United States.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost to take the exam is $150 at any of the licensed testing centers.
What If I Don’t Pass The Initial Part 107 Test?
If you fail to pass the Part 107 test, you are more than welcome to take the test again. However, you must wait at least 14 days to retake the test and you will be subject to another $150 exam fee.
What If I Already Own a Drone?
If you already own a drone and wish to fly with it after you receive your remote pilot certificate, you must first, ensure it weighs less than 55 lbs, and then second, register it with the FAA.
The FAA reduced restrictions on piloting drones for a reason. The administration saw a massive upside to granting pilot licenses and while also foreseeing enormous potential for both small and large businesses. The number of pilots is growing more rapidly than initially thought, and as added companies begin to witness the benefits of drones, it’s possible it won’t be long before there is a drone on every job site.
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