What do I need to do to fly drones for money?
There are few things you need to do, but the main one is to get what the FAA is calling a “Remote Pilot Certificate with a small UAS rating” (quite a mouthful). This makes you an official FAA drone pilot. To get this certificate, you have to take and pass a written FAA exam that is administered at testing centers all over the United States.
I’m not flying my drone directly for payment, just flying in support of my business. Do I still need a remote pilot certificate?
According to the FAA, yes. Even though you might not directly be exchanging cash for drone piloting services, the FAA considers anything that is in support of you making money to be “commercial use.” This includes a roof inspector using a drone to inspect shingles on a roof. The client isn’t paying them directly for the drone flight, but the drone inspector is using it in support of a job for which they are being paid. Or lets say you are a farmer and want to collect aerial data about your crops, you would still need a license since the drone flight is in support of your commercial farming operations.
What is "Part 107"?
Part 107 is the name of the new rules that cover commercial drone operations within the United States. It lays out who is eligible for a remote pilot certificate, what you can and cannot do with a drone, and other guidelines and rules. The rule is effective as of August 29, 2016.
Do I have to prove to the FAA that I can fly a drone?
Currently, there is no “practical exam” for the remote pilot certificate, meaning no, you do not have to prove to the FAA that you can physically fly a drone. The only testing requirement at this point is to pass the written knowledge exam. However, many insurance companies are and will be adopting standards that factor into the formula for determined premium amounts. So, if you have taken a course that physically evaluates your ability to fly a drone and you can show that certificate to your insurance company, you are likely to get lower rates.
What areas are tested on the FAA Drone exam?
The FAA lists the following areas that will be tested on the unmanned aircraft knowledge exam:
- Airspace and Sectional Charts
- Loading and Performance
- Airport Operations
- Emergency Procedures
- Radio Communication
- Aeronautical Decision Making
- Maintenance and Inspection
What areas does the course cover?
The Drone Launch Academy Drone Pilot Exam Prep course closely follows the topic areas that the FAA will be covering. After all, our goal is to prepare you and make sure you pass the exam so you can get flying!
We will make sure that you know everything you need to know, and go in prepared on test day.
Who teaches the course?
Our instructors have over 75 years combined experience in aviation, regulation, and meteorology. Our Chief Instructor, David Young, is an FAA-Certified Advanced Ground Instructor; our Regulation instructor, Andrew Zimmitti, is a private pilot who has also been practicing law for over 20 years; and our Weather instructors, Col. Don Berchoff and Maj. Nathan Green, are both former members of the Air Force who have experience forecasting weather for everything from military UAVs to Air Force One.
To read more about their backgrounds and bios, visit our About Us page
How long does it take to go through the course?
Each student can go through the course at his or her own speed. Some students like going over the videos and lessons a few times, while others zip right through.
If you just read the material and watched the videos straight through, we estimate that it would take about 5 hours. But we generally advise our students to put in approximately 15 hours of study time to make sure they understand the material and are comfortable with the questions.
How long will I have access to the course?
Once you purchase your course, you will have lifetime access. So you can come back whenever you want to study - even for your two year renewal exam.
Do you really guarantee that I will pass the exam?
We are so confident that our materials will get you ready for your FAA knowledge exam that, YES, we do guarantee you will pass the exam on your first try or we will give you your money back. We call it our Drone Launch Pass Guarantee.
An important note about the Drone Launch Pass Guarantee is that you are required to have completed ALL of the course modules and have obtained a passing score (75%) on one of our final exams. After all, if you don't study, how do you expect to pass?!
To get your money back, simply send a copy of your failing score report to [email protected].
How do I register for the FAA Drone Pilot exam?
The actual name of the exam is the Unmanned Aircraft Exam. The FAA gives it the abbreviation "UAG."
To register for the exam, visit the CATS testing center website and fill our their online registration and payment information. A representative should follow up with you via phone to confirm location and time scheduling.
How much does the exam cost?
The current exam fees from CATS are $150 (this is not a Drone Launch Academy Fee - just the fee to take the actual exam).