“I fly drones for fun. Do I need a Part 107 drone license to fly for recreational purposes?”
The rules of whether or not you need a license to fly your drone often seem like they change every few months. (Seriously, sometimes they do!)
But here’s the latest: if you fly drones recreationally, you do not need any sort of license or to have passed any test.
(The Part 107 drone license is in reference to the “Remote Pilot Certificate with a small UAS rating) that all commercial drone operators must attain before operating drones for business purposes. To get the certificate, you must pass a written test, as required under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107.)
You just need to follow these rules to fly drones recreationally:
- Register your drone: Register on the official FAA website here. Then mark your drone registration number on the outside of the aircraft, and carry proof of registration with you.
- Fly your drone at or below 400 feet in uncontrolled or “Class G” airspace. Do NOT fly in controlled airspace (this is areas such as near Washington DC and near many airports) or other airspace where drone flight is prohibited, such as areas with temporary flight restrictions. Not sure whether you’re in controlled or uncontrolled airspace? This map can tell you.
- Keep your drone within your line of sight, or within the visual line-of-sight of your visual observer.
- Never fly near other aircraft, over groups of people or public events, or near emergencies such as accident response scenes, law enforcement activities, firefighting, or natural disaster recovery efforts.
- Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
However, the FAA has already made it clear that the rules are going to change (again!) later this summer.
The FAA announced in May that it would soon release a new law that requires all drone operators pass a test. Hobby drone operators will soon have to pass an online aeronautical knowledge and safety test and carry proof of test passage, according to the FAA (though further details have not yet been announced).
That said, if you have the time, it’s absolutely worth studying for and taking the test to earning your Remote Pilot Certificate Check out this guide running through everything you need to know when taking the Part 107 test, or read through my personal account of taking the test!