Get Your Drone License In 4 Easy Steps (2023 Updated)


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Do you want to become a certified, legal drone pilot? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Now, more than ever before drones are becoming an invaluable tool for many businesses and industries — from construction and engineering to photography and filmmaking.

With the increase in drone use comes an increased need for professionals who can competently operate these machines safely and responsibly, which is now possible thanks to official licensing programs set up by governments worldwide.

In this article, we’ll look at four easy steps that will help you get your drone license in no time. So keep reading if you’re interested in gaining valuable insights into what it takes to become part of this exciting technology industry!

What is the Validity of a Drone License?

As the use of drones becomes more widespread, individuals seek to obtain drone licenses to operate them legally. But what exactly does a drone license entail, and how valid is it?

The answer may depend on the specific country or region where the license is issued. In the United States, for example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires individuals operating drones for commercial purposes to obtain a Part 107 drone license.

This involves passing a written exam and meeting specific requirements. In Canada, on the other hand, drone licenses are issued by Transport Canada and include passing an exam and meeting specific criteria.

While drone licenses may vary in their requirements and validity, drone operators need to understand the regulations and conditions in their particular region to ensure their drones’ safe and legal operation.

What Does It Mean to Be a Commercial Drone Pilot?

Being a commercial drone pilot means more than just flying a drone. It means being responsible for operating a piece of advanced technology that can capture stunning aerial footage for many purposes.

As a commercial drone pilot, you must deeply understand the drone you are operating, including its capabilities and limitations. You are also responsible for ensuring the safety of the people and property in the surrounding areas. A commercial drone pilot requires you to obtain a certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and abide by flight restrictions and by specific regulations while flying.

While it may seem fun and glamorous, it requires hard work and dedication. However, as a commercial drone pilot, you can capture breathtaking images and contribute to various industries, from film and television to real estate and agriculture.

Does My Business Have to Obtain a Commercial Drone License to Use Drones?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires any business using drones for commercial purposes to obtain a commercial drone license, also known as a Part 107 license. This license is necessary to ensure that the operator understands the potential dangers and regulations surrounding the use of drones.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as businesses that are only using drones for research or educational purposes. Therefore, companies must understand these regulations before incorporating drones into their operations.

Why A Recreational Pilot Should Obtain a Commercial Drone License

While recreational pilots may already have a blast flying their drones, obtaining a commercial drone license can unlock many exciting opportunities. With a commercial drone license, recreational pilots can now monetize their passion for drone flying and turn it into a profitable career.

Additionally, commercial drone pilots are permitted to fly in areas that would otherwise be off-limits, such as restricted airspace or close to airports.

How Long Does it Take to Get an FAA Drone License?

While the exact timeline can vary depending on factors like your experience level and the amount of time you can dedicate to studying and training, most individuals can expect the process to take several weeks or even months.

To earn your license, you must complete an FAA-approved training program, pass a written exam, and demonstrate your piloting skills in a practical test. Additionally, you’ll need to submit an application and undergo a background check.

Do I Need a Pilot License to Fly a Drone Commercially?

The short answer is yes – if you plan on using your drone for any commercial activity, you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

This certification involves passing a knowledge test covering airspace regulations, weather patterns, and emergency procedures. While obtaining your certification may take some time and effort, it ultimately ensures that you can operate your drone safely and responsibly in compliance with FAA regulations.

Why Is It Called a Remote Pilot Certificate and Not a Commercial Drone Pilot License?

The answer lies in the fact that flying a drone is fundamentally different from operating a manned aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recognizes this difference and has created a certification specifically for drone pilots.

The Remote Pilot Certificate allows individuals to operate drones weighing less than 55 pounds in accordance with FAA regulations. This certification process consists of passing an aeronautical knowledge test and undergoing a background check.

While “license” may be more commonly associated with flying, the term “certificate” accurately reflects the unique nature of drone operations.

Detailed Process to Becoming a Part 107 Drone Pilot

If you have a passion for flying and a love for technology, becoming a Part 107 drone pilot might be the perfect job for you. However, it’s essential to understand that this process takes time and involves many steps.

First, you’ll need to pass the FAA’s knowledge exam, which covers everything from airspace regulations to weather patterns. Once you’ve passed the exam, you must apply for and receive your temporary remote pilot certificate from the FAA.

Then, it’s time to get some flying experience under your belt. You’ll need to log at least 10 hours of flight time before you can start taking on commercial jobs.

And finally, you’ll need to renew your certification every two years to ensure you stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and technologies.

How to Apply for a Part 107 Certificate from the FAA

If you’re looking to apply for a Part 107 Certificate from the FAA, there are some crucial steps to consider. First, you must be at least 16 and have a valid government-issued photo ID. Additionally, you must pass an aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved testing center.

The test covers various topics related to drone operations, including airspace regulations, weather conditions, and emergency procedures. Once you’ve passed the test, you can complete an online application and pay the required fee.

The application flight review process typically takes about 10-12 weeks, so it’s essential to plan if you’re hoping to use your drone commercially. With a Part 107 Certificate, you can legally fly your drone for work or trade, opening up many exciting opportunities in a rapidly growing industry.

How to Study and Pass the FAA’s Remote Pilot Certification Exam

The first step in studying for the Remote Pilot Certification Exam is understanding the basics of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flight. This includes terminology such as “altitude”, “yaw,” “pitch,” and “roll,” as well as how UAS are controlled and operated.

Many online resources offer comprehensive overviews of these topics that can serve as invaluable tools when studying for the exam. Additionally, it is essential to understand aeronautical charts, which include information on airspace restrictions and classifications.

Study Hard, but Smart

Studying for any test can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be stressful if you break down your study time into manageable chunks. You can also use online practice questions or quizzes to help familiarize yourself with the material before taking the exam.

Additionally, many excellent books are available that provide detailed explanations about UAS flight operations and regulations that will help you better prepare for this test. Finally, give yourself plenty of time before taking the exam so that you feel confident walking into it!

Take Advantage of Online Resources

The internet is a powerful tool for studying for any test, including the FAA’s Remote Pilot Certification Exam! Numerous resources are available online such as practice tests, study guides, and even video tutorials that can help guide your studies in preparation for this test.

Consider enrolling in a course designed around helping people pass this exam – many systems offer access to helpful instructors who have been through the process themselves and can provide invaluable insight into what topics may appear on the test itself!

How Much Does it Cost to Get an FAA Drone License?

The cost of obtaining a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA is $160. This fee includes the cost of taking the required knowledge test, which covers topics such as airmanship, regulations, and airspace. However, it’s important to note that additional fees may be involved, such as study materials or flight training.

How Much Money Can I Make With an FAA Drone License?

The first step in determining how much money you can make with an FAA drone license is understanding its benefits. First, having the proper drone certification done will make you eligible for most commercial gigs—from real estate photography to agricultural surveying—requiring professional drone operation.

Your license allows you to legally fly drones at night, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), and even over people—all activities that would otherwise be prohibited without certification.

Finally, having your certification allows you to fly in more controlled airspace or airspaces, such as airports or military bases, which could open up more lucrative opportunities like aerial mapping or infrastructure inspection.

What Types of Jobs Can You Do With a Drone License?

Once you have your licensing taken care of, it’s time to think about what types of jobs are available. Drones are becoming increasingly popular in many industries, such as agriculture, construction, energy production, filmmaking/photography, etc.

Each industry requires different skill sets and knowledge; fortunately, there is ample opportunity for those with the necessary experience and certifications.

Some specific job roles include aerial photographer/videographer/mapper/surveyor; structural engineer; wildfire monitor; wildlife researcher; search-and-rescue operator; golf course mapper; crop inspector; and more. The sky is the limit here!

How Much Money Can You Make?

Now that we know what job roles are available with an FAA certified drone pilot license let’s talk money! According to ZipRecruiter data from 2019-2020, certified drone pilots earn anywhere from $25k – $105k per year, depending on their experience level and expertise (hourly rates range from $13-$50).

Although these figures represent averages across different industries and locations nationwide—with higher earners typically located in larger cities like New York City or Los Angeles—they show that obtaining an FAA drone license can be incredibly profitable if done correctly!

Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST)

The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) is a new requirement for all recreational drone pilots. This test aims to educate hobbyist drone pilots on the basic safety rules and procedures to fly a drone safely within the national airspace system.

With the rising popularity of drones, it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure that drones are flown responsibly and with a heightened awareness of their surroundings. The TRUST test covers airspace and weather, drone limitations, essential airport operations, and emergency procedures.

By taking this test, recreational drone pilots can ensure that they fly their drones safely and comply with all FAA regulations.

What if I Have a Manned Aircraft Pilot Certificate Already?

Having this certification can make the process of obtaining a drone license easier. In addition, the FAA allows commercial pilots with an airplane, helicopter, or another type of aircraft certificate to take a streamlined online training course instead of taking the entire Part 107 exam.

Pilots with a manned aircraft pilot certificate can obtain their drone license faster and with less hassle. However, it’s important to note that even if you have a manned aircraft pilot certificate, obtaining a drone driver’s license is still necessary if you plan on using a drone for commercial purposes.

Part 61 Certificate — The Exception to the Rule

If you’re interested in becoming a drone pilot, you may have encountered the FAA’s requirements for obtaining get a drone license Part 107 certificate. However, another option for those who already hold a Part 61 certificate is the Drone License Part 61 Certificate.

This option applies to individuals who already have a pilot’s license for manned aircraft, and it allows them to operate drones for commercial purposes without obtaining a separate Part 107 certificate.

Although obtaining a Part 61 certificate may seem like a longer route to becoming a drone pilot, it can be an excellent option for those who have already invested time and money in obtaining their private pilot’s license first.

Additionally, it can open up new opportunities for pilots interested in incorporating commercial drone flights and operations into their existing businesses.

New Pilot Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining the Drone License

So, you want to fly and get a drone license? Great! Don’t let the process of getting your license intimidate you. With a few easy steps, you can have your drone license quickly. First, let’s review what you need to do and the documents you’ll need.

Step 1: Check Local Laws and Regulations Before You Begin

Before you begin getting your drone license, it’s crucial to ensure that no local laws or regulations prohibit drones in your area.

Some cities and states have strict laws governing drone use, so do your research before taking any further steps.

Step 2: Complete an FAA-Approved Training Course

The next step is to take an FAA-approved training course. This can be done online or in person at a certified facility. The course covers flight safety, airspace rules, weather conditions, drone laws, and other important information about flying drones safely and legally.

Once you’ve completed the online course completion certificate, you will receive a certificate that proves you have taken the necessary steps to become licensed.

Step 3: Complete FAA Forms 107 & 107A

After completing your training course, it’s time to complete two FAA forms – Form 107 & Form 107A. Form 107 is an application for an unmanned aircraft operator certificate. In contrast, Form 107A is a supplement to Form 107 which includes additional information about the operation of drones, such as the type of small unmanned aircraft is being operated and proposed flight operations area(s).

Both forms must be completed to apply for a drone license. It’s also important to note that any false information provided on these forms may result in civil or criminal penalties, so be sure to fill out all forms accurately and completely.

Step 4: Submit Your Application To The FAA For Review

Once both forms are complete and accurate, they must be submitted to the FAA for review along with supporting documents such as evidence of completion of the required training course and any other relevant documentation requested by the agency (e.g., medical certificates).

Once approved, applicants will receive their official drone operator certificate from the FAA approximately 30 days after submitting their application package.

Final Thoughts

Completing the application process for a new drone license is not overly complex or complicated. Though it takes some research and paperwork, getting your drone license is exciting and enjoyable. Not only will you be able to explore the sky with high-technology gadgets, but you can capture the world in ways that were never possible before.

You might even gain access to specific private locations or public places for photography and videography opportunities as you’ve never seen before. With so many potential new options for having a lawful drone license, the decision to take on the challenge should be obvious: apply today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a license to fly a drone in the US?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all drone pilots to obtain a remote pilot certificate, also known as a drone license, to operate a drone for commercial use. To get this license, remote pilots first must pass an aeronautical knowledge exam and a background check.

However, if you’re flying a drone for personal use, you don’t need a license. However, you must still follow specific guidelines such as flying under 400 feet, safely flying drones only within your visual line of sight, and not flying over restricted areas such as airports.

How long does it take to get an FAA drone license?

If you’re interested in flying a drone for commercial purposes, you’ll need to obtain an FAA drone license (also known as a Remote Pilot Certificate). The process involves passing an initial aeronautical knowledge exam and test and submitting an application. The length of time it takes to get your drone license can vary.

After passing the test, your test results can take up to 48 hours to be processed. Then, once you submit your application, it can take about 6-8 weeks for the FAA to review and issue your drone license.

What do you need to start a drone photography business?

First and foremost, a high-quality drone with a camera is essential. Researching and investing in a reliable model that can capture high-quality aerial footage is necessary. In addition, you’ll need a remote control, spare batteries, and memory cards to store your footage.

Legal requirements vary by country and region but typically include obtaining a remote pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States and registering your drone with the appropriate government agency. Liability insurance is also recommended to protect your business and clients.

Are drone pilots in demand?

With the growth of drone technology, the demand for drone pilots has increased significantly. As a result, drone pilots can be found in various industries, including agriculture, construction, and media.

These professionals are responsible for operating remote-controlled drones to collect data and images that can be used for mapping, inspection, and photography. Drone pilots require a specific skill set, including technical knowledge of drone systems, a keen eye for detail, and the ability to navigate and control their aircraft carefully.

Is the FAA drone license hard?

Becoming a licensed drone pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is achievable but requires a bit of effort. First, the FAA requires interested individuals to take and pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test first, also called the Part 107 test.

The exam is designed to test an applicant’s understanding of airspace rules and regulations and their competency in flying unmanned aerial vehicles. While the test may seem challenging, the FAA provides study material to help prepare for the exam, and many online resources are available to guide aspiring pilots through the process.

Are there different types of drone licenses?

These licenses are categorized depending on the intended use and type of drone. For example, one license type is the Part 107, which is required for commercial drone pilots, such as those looking to offer aerial photography or videography services. 

On the other hand, the Recreational Drone Pilot License is for those flying a drone solely for personal enjoyment. Therefore, knowing which type of temporary drone pilot license you need based on your situation is essential to avoid legal issues.

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Drone Launch Academy has helped over 40,000 drone pilots learn how to fly drones, pass the Part 107 Exam, and learn the skills they need to start making money with drones.

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