Drone Pilot Certification
To fly a drone commercially, and to get approvals for non-standard flights, you must operate under Part 107 rules (ie you must have that certification).
To fly a drone that weighs more than 0.55lb, you must register it with the FAA. The FAA requires that the drone broadcast a Remote ID. You must include that when registering your drone.
NOTE It may be that a ham radio license is also required for DIY FPV drone flying.
- Register at https://iacra.faa.gov/IACRA/Default.aspx to get a Federal Tracking Number
- Sign up as a 107 pilot
- Sign up for a "Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)" certification test at a testing facility ($170)
- Apply online for a Remote Pilot Certificate using the 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID
- Print a temporary certificate while waiting for the official one to be mailed
Sign up for the test here. NOTE I used email@example.com to sign up!
Select test: Unmanned Aircraft General - Small (UAG)
CODE TEST NAME: UAG Unmanned Aircraft General NUMBER OF QUESTIONS 60 AGE 14 ALLOTTED TIME 2hrs PASSING SCORE 70
Test is on Tuesday 2023/06/20 at 6pm
PSI Examination Services-Raleigh 844-704-1487 5711 Six Forks Rd Suite 208 Raleigh , NC 27609 Tuesday, June 20, 2023 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
All models of aviation-oriented calculators may be used, including small electronic calculators that perform only arithmetic functions (add, subtract, multiply, and divide). Simple programmable memories (which allow addition to, subtraction from, or retrieval of one number from the memory) are permissible. Also, simple functions, such as square root and percent keys, are permissible. Applicants may use scales, straightedges, protractors, plotters, navigation computers, blank logsheets, holding pattern entry aids, and electronic or mechanical calculators that are directly related to the test. For more detailed information, please consult guide.
Applicants for airman knowledge tests may not take any written materials (either handwritten, printed, or electronic) other than the supplement book provided by the proctor into the testing area. The use of magnetic cards, magnetic tapes, modules, computer chips, or any other device upon which prewritten programs or information related to the test can be stored and retrieved is prohibited. Applicants are not allowed to bring personal writing utensils into the testing room; any required writing utensils will be provided by the proctor and collected at the conclusion of the test.
If you have a Remote Pilot Certificate, you are required to have completed one of the following online training courses within the previous 24 calendar months to operate UAS under part 107:
Anyone who holds a part 107 remote pilot certificate (regardless of aeronautical knowledge recency):
Part 107 remote pilots who are also certificated with a current flight review under part 61:
Note that these resources were all prepared from publicly available sources, focusing on resources provided directly by the FAA. This was all collated before I took the test, and does not contain anything from my actual test. The test questions on the actual test I took are closely guarded and may not be shared, as per the terms of the administrator of the test (PSI in my case).
Test 107 resources
FAA practice test
Practice Exams > (bottom of list) Unmanned Aircraft General - Small (UAG) > Select
Gruelling 45 questions that will take over an hour, very educational to understand what the hell to study... you might want to grade yourself as you go, they will email the results at the end but it is a bit flaky.
Also see Recurrent Ed for the sample test available there.
More resources, so so many more...
- Study Guide
- THE REQUIRED SUPPLEMENT with figures referenced by the practice (and actual??) test - it is huge! Do they give you this during the test?
- Pilot's handbook of aeronautical knowledge
- Aeronautical Info Manual
- How to read a sectional chart, EXTREMELY helpful hard-to-find info!
- Lawyer's Free Study Guide
- FAA courses (why are these not more easily discoverable?)
- 10 Decision-Making Concepts for UAS Pilots
- sUAS Crew Resource Management
- sUAS Night Operations, Best Practices
- sUAS Safety & Risk Mitigation
- sUAS: Regulations, Laws, Airspace Ownership and FAA Enforcement
- 1800WXBRIEF The Best Of The Future Of Flight Service
- Part 107 Small UAS Recurrent - Part 61 Pilots
- Part 107 Night Training Course
- Commercial Drone Pilot: CFR Part 107 Explained
AND LOTS MORE! Hard to navigate!
Test 107 Q&A
Latitude and Longitude
Measurement from 0-360 degrees, 0-60 minutes, 0-60 seconds.
Latitude: 0 degrees at equator to +90 degrees N at north polar cap and -90 degrees S at south polar cap. US is between
Longitude: 0 degrees at Greenwich, England to +180 degrees E / -180 degrees W.
AGL vs MSL
Mean Sea Level (MSL) is absolute height above standard sea level. Most common. Used to calculate atmospheric pressure, eg.
Above Ground Level (AGL) is the distance from ground to height.
What is a temperature inversion?
Stable air masses of cooler air trapped by warmer air above it.
Causes clear skies, calm wind, dew/fog, horizontal smoke patterns,
What is high density altitude?
On a hot, muggy day, the air becomes "thinner" or less dense, and its density at a pilot's location is equivalent to a higher altitude in the standard atmosphere. Thus the term "high density altitude."
Reduced power, thrust, lift, less responsive aircraft.
What is a moist unstable air mass?
An unstable air mass is characterized by warm moist air near the surface and cold dry air aloft.
Results in clear air, turbulence, precipitation, cumuliform clouds. NOT hazy or smooth!
What airport is at 47 40 N 101 26 W?
DO NOT ASSUME the unmarked line south of 48 degrees is the next degree (47). If you do, it will look like "Shemchenko" is under that point. But you should not look at unmarked lat/long lines and assume they are the next degree. Instead, COUNT THE TICKS, they are each ONE DEGREE, and 5 and 10 are marked out with bigger ticks. It turns out that "other" unmarked line is 47'30". How tf you supposed to know that? That's just the way it is. This video helps.
Sectional Chart airport descriptors
Described well here.
The Airport Nm (TAN) airport name and 3-letter ID CT - 118.2 * (C) (C), a dark blue circle, indicates CTAF pilot-to-pilot broadcasts at 118.2 MHz ASOS 118.725 ASOS weather info broadcast at 118.725 Mhz 1716 *L 77 122.95 Airport elevation is 1716 MSL; Length of runway is 7700'; CONTROL TOWER broadcasts at 122.95 MHz
Sectional Chart controlled airspace
What is the floor of the Savannah Class C airspace at the shelf area (outer circle)? 1300 feet AGL | 1300 feet MSL | 1700 feet MSL
This video is gold.
It is the PURPLE NUMERATOR/DENOMINATOR NUMBER on the chart, ALWAYS IN MSL unless it is in (PARENTHESES) then it is AGL - in hundreds of feet! crazy shit...
41 -- 13
Airspace class B is BLUE SOLID LINE. Look for NUM/DEN for ceil/floor.
Airspace class C is RED/MAGENTA SOLID LINE. Again look for NUM/DEN.
Airspace class D is BLUE DOTTED LINE. Ceiling is in dashed box in hundreds of feet!
Airspace class E is RED/MAGENTA DOTTED LINE.
METARS fig 12 conditions at Midway KMDW? Sky 700 feet overcast, vis 1-1/2sm, rain
SPECI KMDW 121856Z 32005KT 1 1/2SM RA OVC007 17/16 A2980 RMK RAB35 SPECI: METAR if no change, SPECI if changed from standard) KMDW: the airport 121856Z: time/date, 12 = date, 1856Z = UTC 24-hr time 32005KT: 320 wind direction (0 is north?), 05KT = 5 knots Gusting example 11012G18KT: 110 wind dir, 12 knots wind dir, G18 gusting to 18 knots 1 1/2sm: visibility, you can see 1.5 statute miles RA: type of weather, RA = rain, BR = mist, DZ = drizzle; +/- = heavy/light OVC007: cloud coverage, OVC = overcast, BKN = broken; 007 = clouds at 00700 feet 17/16: temp/dewpoint A2980: altometer barometric pressure 29.80 inches of mercury RMK: remarks (additional info), RAB35 = rain started 35min after the hour
Fig 26 area 2: Cooperstown While monitoring a CTAF frequency, an aircraft announces they are "midfield left downwind to runway one-three." Where is the aircraft relative to the runway? east of runway | south | west
THIS IS FUCKED. Proceed carefully and diligently and you will get it.
- INFERRED after studying this: Aircraft liftoff and landing is optimal AGAINST THE WIND. Legs are named with this in mind.
- CTAF: common traffic advisory frequency (plane to plane radio when there is no tower)
- For compass degrees, NORTH IS ZERO, roll right, back around to zero as you come back up and to the right on the compass wheel.
one-three: Runway numbering like 27 means 270 degrees. You don't say 27, you say two-seven. YOU LAND GOING IN THIS DIRECTION. REPEAT THIS DESCRIBES LANDING, NOT TAKEOFF. YOU ARE LANDING IN THAT DIRECTION OF THE COMPASS. For example, you fly east to land on runway nine, and west to land on runway two-seven. It looks like a runway has ONE number at one end, and a 180 degree different number at the other end, for view by pilots that are landing.
left: Left hand traffic pattern is standard. You take left-hand turns through the legs (see next part).
downwind: Downwind means they are following the downwind leg. The Downwind leg is the leg for landing, opposite of the final leg for taking off. Land on it, then you take the base leg to the final leg. And you have to combine this with left/right hand traffic pattern. Left-hand says the turns are all left-hand turns. On take-off, the same designations for landing still remain I guess? THAT IS SOME FUCKED UP SHIT. lolz.
Midfield = halfway down the runway.
Videos from Olga Andreeva stepping through test prep!
- Part 107 Test Prep: Obstructions and Airport Elevations on Sectional Charts
- Identifying Airspaces on sectional charts
- Runway markings
- Runway markings pt2
- Reading METAR reports (tricky!)
- Reading TAF reports pt1
- Reading TAF reports pt2
- Reading TAF reports pt3
- Hazardous Attitudes
- More Section Chart Practice Problems
Need help on:
How do you find if Devil's Lake West MOA is active? refer to chart legend | avail in Small UAS db | refer to mil. ops. directory
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2H, Figure 22, area 2.) At Coeur D`Alene which frequency should be used as a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) to monitor airport traffic? A. 122.05 MHz. B. 135.075 MHz. C. 122.8 MHz.
attitudes (macho, impulsivity...)
Crew Resource Management (CRM)
Airport map details like Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF)
PIC should scan sky by... (what else do I need to know?)
Practice test notes on easier questions...
questions: what does the line of latitude at area 4 measure? (n/s of equator) Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2H, Figure 59, area 2, the chart shows a gray line with "VR1667, VR1617, and.." Could this present a hazard to UA? no, operations will be above 400' | yes this is a mil. training route from surf to 1500 feet AGL | yes th\ e route provides traffic separation to manned aircraft According to 14 CFR part 107, remote pilot in command (PIC) in Class C airspace.. must use visual observer | is required to file flight plan | req ATC auth Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2H, figure 20, area 5; how would a PIC "CHECK NOTAMS" as noted in CAUTION box regarding the unmarked balloon? UA center of gravity limits, see specs in... UAS flight manual | Aeronautical Info Manual (AIM) | Aircraft Weight/Bal handbook When op'ing a fixed-wing UAS, PIC shd note that load factor on wings may increase... the CG is shifted rearward to the aft CG limit | non-straight-level flight | gross weight reduced Stall when smooth airflow over wing of fixed UAS is disrupted and lift degens. Cause: exceed max speed | exceed weight | exceed critical angle of attack Refer to figure 2; for fixed UAS of 33lbs, what weight req of structure during 30 degree banked turn while mai\ ntaining altitude? 34 | 47 | 38 - from chart, 30deg = 1.154 multiplier; 33 * 1.154 = 38 What is true regarding presence of alcohol in human body? vision boost | water helps | judgement affected DOH Who is responsible for briefing participants about emerg. procedures? the remote PIC To avoid collision with manned aircraft you went to > 600' AGL. Report to... Air traffic control | National Transp safetyboard | Upon request of FAA Small UA sched. maint. -> when manuf. doesnt provide | UAS not needed | when FAA requires, after accident 14 CFR part 107 says responsibility to inspect UAS for safety rests with PIC To prevent final "link" in accident chain, methodology = -> Crew Resource Mgmt | Safety Mgmt System | Risk Mgmt Crew Resource Mgmt (CRM) adapted for UA, integrated into all phases Bad Attitude = impusivity, machismo, invulnerability Fig 22 area 2: at Coeur D'Alene, which freq for CTAF to monitor traffic? 122.05 MHz | 135.075 | 122.8 Fig 26 area 4 what auth for 46.9N 98.6W near Jamestown Regional JMS? mil | -> ATC | Natl Park Serv Fig 20 area 3 with ATC auth, at 4 SM southeast of ECG, what hazard? mil ops| unmarked balloon on a cable up to 3008 ft AGL | 3008 ft MSL Most compr. airport info is from Chart Supplements US | Notices to Aire Missions NOTAMS | Terminal Area Chart (TAC) who resp. for determining perf. of UAS PIC when must register with FAA? all > .55lbs must be 13 to register after sunset: need anti-collision lights? 1800wxbrief.com says low-level temp inversion w high rel. humidity smooth air, poor viz | light wind shear, light rain | turbulent air, poor viz, fog... WTF! what effect does high density altitude have on efficiency of UA propeller? eff is incr. | eff. is decreased | density alt. does not affect prop eff. moist unstable air mass = stable air = figure 12: wind direction and velocity at KJFK is 180deg true at 4 knots | ... magnetic ... | 040deg true at 18 knots when can sUAS PIC reduce lights? when in interest of safety (???) | at no time sUAS pilot used bright light: takes 30 min to adjust to darkness if standard remote id fails: land as soon as practical where must serial number be listed when using standard remote id or a broadcast module? Doc of compliance | mfr's method of compliance | Certificate of Aircraft Registration for Category 1 operations, PIC must weigh: < 0.55lbs which Cat must have airworthyness certificate from FAA? -> 4 | 3 | 2