So you want to fly a drone as part of your business? You need to pass a written test, called the FAA Aeronautical Knowledge Test for remote pilots (referred to by many as the Part 107 test).
Anyone wanting to operate a drone commercially without an existing manned pilot’s license will need to pass an in-person written exam. (People with an existing Part 61 manned pilot’s license do not need to take the written exam. They simply need to complete an online course). And unless you already have significant airspace knowledge, the test isn’t going to be easy without having done some work in studying (and possibly taking a full informational course).
- See also: Frequently asked questions about taking the Part 107 test
- See also: Need to renew your drone license? FAA announces recertification process details for commercial pilots
So how are you studying? A good friend of mine told me, “I’m going to just study the night before — college style.” Wait, what?! No! Don’t do that!
It’s important that you know the information not to simply pass, but to really know the airspace so you can be a safe pilot. If you’re like me and struggle to absorb information simply by reading, and prefer to take a course — in-person or online — then here’s how I recommend you study for the Part 107 test.
This is an online test prep course for commercial drone pilots, led by Alan Perlman.
At the end of each lecture you’ll get a 10-question practice quiz, plus a 25 question quiz at the end of each module AND 5 full-length practice tests.
The course has a clean, simple interface — I’ve been watching it on my subway rides to work and while on the stair-master at the gym!
Time needed to complete: 10-15 hours
This online, self-paced course is taught by instructors with more than 75 years of combined experience in aviation. The course comes with 1 year of unlimited access.
Time needed to complete: 10-15 hours
I find I learn the best when I’m in-person with the instructor. DARTdrones has created an incredible option for learning in-person with a full day course taught by their expert flight instructors.
The course is offered in more than 25 cities around the U.S. and comes with access to an online course, downloadable study guide and online quizzes. It’s an all-day course intended to help you pass the FAA Airman Knowledge Test.
The full-day course (which includes online access!) costs $670. USE DARTDrones Coupon Code “dronegirl10” to save 10% off your purchase (making that $670 fee just $603).
Time needed to complete: 1 day
The UAV Ground School program uses FAA-compliant materials that are presented in an online interactive multimedia format allowing students to learn at their own pace. UAV Ground School is produced in partnership with the nation’s pilot education leader Gold Seal who has prepared over 45,000 private pilots for their FAA knowledge test.
Cost: $199, or $174 with coupon code DRONEGIRL.
While I’ll admit this is not a complete form of studying for the test, episode 006 of CommercialDrones.FM podcast by Ian Smith is a complete review of the 35 question online test for Part 61 certificated pilots.
In this episode, Ian provides the questions, pauses so you get a chance to ponder your answer, then gives the answer as well as explanations of why it is correct and why the others are incorrect. It’s fun, engaging and highly informative.
Definitely give this a listen on your commute to work. (And while you’re at it, listen to episode 008 in which I get to guest-star on the show!) It has turned out to be one of the most effective forms of learning for me.
Time needed to complete: About 40 minutes
Drone operators with an existing pilot’s license (Part 61) will not need to take the in-person test. Instead, they need to complete an online course.
That online course is free and publicly available online to anyone who doesn’t have a manned pilot’s license already, which means people without a pilot’s license but wanting to be a commercial drone operator can use it as a self-study resource for the written test.
Keep in mind that since this is geared toward existing manned pilot’s license holders, this may not cover everything you need to know to pass the test. That being said, other documents worth reading from the FAA are the Airman Certification Standards (ACS) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (PDF), the FAA’s online sample questions (PDF), and the Part 107 Advisory Circular (PDF).
Time needed to complete: 2 hours
While the test will include a mix of both drone-specific and general manned aircraft questions, some readers have also pointed out that the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, which is the official FAA handbook, is a good place to learn more general airspace knowledge. You can pick up your own copy here.
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