Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about taking the Part 107 test as a manned aircraft pilot. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.
Dear Drone Girl,
I’m a licensed pilot (stared flying lessons with my father who taught WASPs during WW2 when he was an Army Air Corp Instructor Pilot). I’m still not positive what I need to do in order to get a commercial drone operator’s license.
I spent a number of years doing aerial photography from my Cessna and I now have three Yuneec Q500 4Ks, but am I simply needing to take an online exam to get the commercial drone certificate?
Additionally, I sold my airplane and I quit flying. It is my understanding, in order to get the commercial drone certificate, I need to have a flight review and go back and get a medical exam from a flight surgeon. If so, this is about $2,000 out-of-pocket expense to rent an airplane, pay for the fuel, pay the examiner for the flight review, then be questioned from the examiner about certain physical characteristics of the aircraft.
This seems crazy to me and should I simply ask the FAA for a 333 Exemption?
This IS crazy to do all that to simply fly your Yuneec Q500 4Ks! Just to be sure, I consulted my friend and drone attorney Jonathan Rupprecht, for his advice, and here’s the deal:
You need to have a sport pilot certificate or higher, a biannual flight review in your logbook, and have passed the online FAA Part 61 holder drone training course (it’s free online and takes about 2 hours to complete).
You do not need a medical certificate. The only place where the medical would come into play is §107.17 on medical conditions. Did you lose your medical previously because of a medical condition which would continue to disqualify you or did it simply expire?
Getting a BFR done is expensive, so that is why many in your situation have chosen to just go and take the initial knowledge exam like when you were a first time pilot.
It’s $150 and about 2 hours of your time to take the test. But given your extensive experience, it shouldn’t be too hard to brush up on the information you need to know to take the written Part 107 test.
Happy flying, and testing!