Drones have really taken off! More than 100,000 enthusiasts have obtained a Remote Pilot Certificate to fly a drone for commercial and recreational (not qualifying as “model aircraft”) use since the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) small drone rule went into effect on August 29, 2016.
Under Part 107, the person actually flying a drone – formally an “unmanned aircraft system” (UAS) – must have a Remote Pilot Certificate, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. The majority of drone pilots get certified by studying online materials (PDF) and then passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA approved knowledge testing center (PDF). You should have no trouble if you study – the exam success rate is 92 percent.
If you already have a Part 61 pilot certificate, and have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months, you have the option to take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA to obtain your certificate.
It’s important to remember that a Remote Pilot Certificate is valid for two years from the date of issue. Anyone who earned their certificate at the end of August or in September 2016 should review the certification renewal requirements and prepare to take recurrent training or testing. You can find all the information you need to renew your certificate on the FAA website.