So you’ve decided that you want to start using your drone to make some extra money. That’s great! Before your hobby becomes a money-making machine, however, you need to obtain what’s commonly referred to in the drone world as a Part 107 license. Although you should go to the FAA’s website for the full details, we thought it would be helpful to write a quick guide so that you understand what you need to do to become a licensed drone pilot.
Step 1: Determine If You Need A License
You may be wondering: how do I know if I even need a license? If you are flying your drone for commercial purposes (i.e. to make money) then you are required by the FAA to obtain your Part 107 license. Before you can apply, you must also meet the FAA’s eligibility requirements. All pilots must be:
- 16 years of age or older
- Able to read and write in English
- Physically and mentally able to fly a drone
If you meet those requirements, you must then pass the FAA’s knowledge exam.
Step 2: Prepare for the Test
There are multiple ways to study for the test. The FAA provides a free PDF to help you study, but there are also some free practice questions online as well as full online courses. Here at Drone Launch Academy, we offer an Ebook, flashcards, and an online course to best match each student’s individual needs. Regardless of which method you choose, we recommend you study at least 10 hours.
Step 3: Register with PSI for FAA Exam
To sit for the Part 107 exam, you must register with a company called PSI, which administers the tests on behalf of the FAA. You can find a local testing center on their website, and call or visit one of their locations to schedule an examination.
Step 4: Take the Test
Before you arrive at the testing center, make sure you bring a valid/current form of identification that includes your photo, date of birth, signature, and physical residential address. You will be provided with FAA Supplements, a calculator, and a pen/paper upon arrival. Once you take the test, you will receive the results on a printed piece of paper. Keep this piece of paper! If you fail and need to retake the test, keep the embossed form you receive. If it is lost, you will have to pay for another copy.
Step 5: Submit Application
After passing your test, you must submit an application for your Part 107 license on the IACRA website. From here you will create an IACRA account and start a new application. You will be prompted to enter the requested information, including your test ID. (Note: It can take up to 48 hours before your test has been uploaded into the system). Once your application has been submitted, it can take up to 10 days for the application to be approved. During this time, the TSA background check will be done automatically as part of your application process. After the application is approved, you will be issued a printable temporary license, which is valid for 120 days from the date it was issued. Your permanent license will be sent in the mail within 6-8 weeks of application approval, after which you are officially licensed!
For a full walkthrough of the application process, please refer to IACRA’s manual.