Tag Archives: FAA

FAA Remote Pilot Certifications: here’s the database to search Part 107-certified pilots

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about the FAA Part 107 Certified Remote Pilot database. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Does the FAA have a website where you can see if a drone operator has a license to fly commercially? 

-Dave

Hello, Dave!

The short answer is yes! You can browse the FAA’s public registry of Part 107-certifed remote pilots here.

In order to browse the database, you will have to start by submitting information about yourself, including your name and address. From there, you can browse all airmen (okay, how about airwomen?!), whether they are manned or remote pilots.  You’ll be able to see each pilot’s certificate and their rating (including that of yours truly).

If you’re hiring someone to do commercial drone work for you, this is a great place to check if that drone pilot is actually certified.

As of March 21, the FAA had issued 37,579 remote pilot certificates, according to an FAA spokesperson.

And if you’re a drone owner who flies commercially but is not yet Part 107-certified, save yourself the embarrassment of not showing up in this database by taking the Part 107 test. I promise, it’s not as hard as it may seem, even if you don’t have a background in aviation. (Here’s my guide and video to taking the Part 107 test, which is a 60-question written test that takes up to 2 hours. If you don’t have a background in aviation, you’ll certainly need to devote a few evenings to studying, but it’s not something you can’t do.

Note that not all pilots who have certificates may show up in your database search. Pilots do have 90 days to opt-out of having their address posted so there is a significant lag in posting, and someone’s legal name may not be the name you know then as when you search them.

Looking for study resources to ensure you pass? I used Drone Pilot Ground School and passed on the first try. I also recommend UAV Ground School — you can save $25 with coupon code DRONEGIRL. 

Happy flying, and happy test-taking!

I passed the FAA Part 107 test! Here’s what it’s like (and how I studied)

Hey guys!

This week I am super excited because I now have my remote pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. I wanted to tell you a little bit about my experience, how I studied, and what to expect.

I took the test in Oakland, Calfornia at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance. There are nearly 700 FAA-approved testing centers around the U.S.!

While most testing centers do take walk-ins, it’s best if you call ahead. The FAA has designated two private companies to administer the test— either Computer Assisted Testing Service (also known as cats) or PSI / LaserGrade Computer Testing. I chose LaserGrade just because it’s the closest to where I live.

Related post: FAA Part 107 test: everything you need to know (except the answers) Continue reading I passed the FAA Part 107 test! Here’s what it’s like (and how I studied)

Ask Drone Girl: Studying for Part 107 for less than $20

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about drone photography classes. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Dear Drone Girl,

Which do you feel is the best under $20 option used to study for Part107 certification?

-Everett

Hey Everett!

Great question. The Part 107 test already costs $150 to take, so I can certainly see why you wouldn’t want to pay more than that to study for it. Continue reading Ask Drone Girl: Studying for Part 107 for less than $20

How to study for Part 107: training courses for FAA’s aeronautical knowledge test

Testing for the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test for remote pilots (known as Part 107) will be released on August 29, 2016.

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).

See also: Frequently asked questions about taking the Part 107 test

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.

 study for part 107 Drone Pilot Ground School FAA Drone Certification Test Prep UAV CoachDrone Pilot Ground School:

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. Continue reading How to study for Part 107: training courses for FAA’s aeronautical knowledge test

Here’s your Part 107 UAS test study guide

The Part 107 Aeronuatical Knowledge Test for UAS operators is expected to be made available in August.

But eager commercial drone operators without a pilot’s license can get a head start on studying now.

Many private companies have also put together training sessions (either in-person, webinars, practice tests, etc). that provide a clear look at exactly what you’ll need to know for the test. Check out my guide on UAS aeronautical knowledge test training courses here.

Some options include:

  • Drone Pilot Ground School offers a fantastic online training course with practice tests and repeatable videos. This is what I used to study for my test — and I passed on my first time — so I can guarantee it’s a good program! Use coupon code DroneGirl50 to get $50 off.
  • UAV Ground School is Gold Seal’s online Part 107 course. Sign up for free and take the first three lessons without charge. The course offers unlimited quizzes from a database of 400 practice questions and includes Flash Cards for additional practice. It’s normally $199, but use promo code DRONEGIRL to save $25 and take that price down to just $174.
  • Drone Launch Academy offers another great online training course led by FAA-certified Advanced Ground Instructor David Young. Use coupon code DroneGirl50 to get $50 off.
  • DARTdrones has a day-long, in-person training course. Use coupon code dronegirl10 to get 10% all DARTdrone courses site wide!

But a free and instant option comes from the FAA itself. The FAA released its Part 107 UAS online training course, which anyone can register and take for free. The course is designed for part 61 pilot certificate holders who have a current flight review (in accordance with 14 CFR part 61.56) and wish to obtain a part 107 remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating. But, anyone without a pilot’s license can take the training course.

“Applicants for a part 107 remote pilot certificate who do not hold a part 61 pilot certificate (or part 61 pilot certificate holders without a current flight review) may incorporate this training into their self-study curriculum to help prepare for the FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test,” according to the test page.

**To be clear, that means this is a training course for people who already hold a Part 61 Pilot’s certificate. If you don’t have a pilot’s license, this is simply a wonderful, free training course to supplement your test studying.** Continue reading Here’s your Part 107 UAS test study guide

FAA Part 107 UAS Aeronautical Knowledge Test: everything you need to know (except the answers)

The Federal Aviation Administration announced today that drone operators will have to pass a UAS aeronautical knowledge test as one of the requirements for legally flying drones commercially.

Here’s a rundown of the entire announcement of its long-awaited Part 107 ruling.

Among the requirements to fly a UAS commercially include flying below 400 feet, flying only during daytime and flying less than 100 miles per hour. But the standout requirement is that commercial drone operators will need to take a written, in-person, drone-specific, aeronautical knowledge test.

“It’s a great idea,” said Logan Campbell, CEO of drone consulting firm Aerotas. “It forces people to understand how to keep the national airspace safe, which is really what the FAA cares about most.”

Drone operators with existing Part 61 pilot certificates can bypass the in-person, written exam and instead take an online course. But for drone operators without that, they’ll have to take the test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.

The FAA has released a drafted document of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards, outlining what you can tentatively expect from the test. Here’s the tentative information we know for now:

Where you can take the FAA’s UAS aeronautical knowledge test:

The test can be taken at one of the 696 testing centers in the United States. Here’s a list of locations where you can take the aeronautical knowledge test. Applicants need to schedule the testing appointment in advance and bring a government-issued photo ID.

How do I study for the UAS aeronautical knowledge test?

The FAA released its Part 107 UAS online training course. Though it is intended for Part 61 Pilot Certificate holders, anyone, including non-pilots, can register and take for free. Read more about the training course here.

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 start studying for more general airspace knowledge. You can pick up your own copy here.

Many private companies have also put together training sessions (either in-person, webinars, practice tests, etc). that provide a clear look at exactly what you’ll need to know for the test. Check out my guide on UAS aeronautical knowledge test training courses here.

Here are the study courses I would recommend:

  • UAV Ground School: Gold Seal’s online Part 107 course. Use promo code DRONEGIRL to save $25 and take that price down to just $174.
  • Drone Pilot Ground School offers a fantastic online training course with practice tests and repeatable videos (this is actually the course I used…and I passed on my first try!)
  • DARTdrones has a day-long, in-person training course. Use coupon code dronegirl10 to save 10% on  all DARTdrone courses site wide!
  • Drone Launch Academy: this is another online training course with repeatable videos and study guies. Use DRONEGIRL50 to get $50 off!

 

What are the expected areas this commercial drone test will cover?

The FAA’s draft says test areas include:

  1. Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
  2. Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
  3. Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
  4. Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
  5. Emergency procedures
  6. Crew resource management
  7. Radio communication procedures
  8. Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
  9. Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
  10. Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
  11. Airport operations
  12. Maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedures

Get more in-depth information from the FAA’s website about each of these topics here.

How much will the aeronautical drone test cost?

The FAA estimates the out-of-pocket cost for an individual to become a certified remote pilot with a small UAS rating would be $150, less than any other airman certification that allows for non-recreational operations in the national airspace.

When will I be able to take the test?

Members of the public will be able to take the knowledge test at testing centers on the effective date of the Small UAS Rule in August 2016, an FAA spokesperson told Drone Girl.

How will the test be formatted?

The FAA’s draft says the UAS aeronautical knowledge test is a set of 60 multiple choice questions with a single correct response for each one, according to the FAA’s draft. Each test question is independent of the other questions, so  a correct response to one does not influence the response of another. Here’s the breakdown of questions by topic:

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards

What happens if I fail the FAA’s aeronautical knowledge test?

No sweat! You may not retake the knowledge test for 14 calendar days from the date of the previous failure, so use that time to relax and refresh on the parts you are unsure of. After two weeks, you can retest. You don’t even have to tell your teachers what happened — no instructor endorsement or other form of written authorization is required to retest.

Happy flying, and studying!

 

My story: why I believe drones can assist with journalism

Photo of Sally French, aka "Drone Girl" by Stuart Palley
Photo of Sally French, aka “Drone Girl” by Stuart Palley

The post below is an excerpt of a piece I freelanced for Investigative Reporters and Editors on Drone Journalism. You can read the piece in its entirety for free online here.

When I told my parents I was using my graduation money to buy a drone, they thought I was crazy.

“Why don’t you buy some camera gear instead?” they told me.

After all, graduating in May with a photojournalism degree means I’d no longer have access to the fancy Missouri j-school equipment locker I’d been spoiled by for the past few years.

But what my parents didn’t understand is that a drone is the ultimate in camera gear.

Imagine airing video about weather patterns impacting geese migration. The live-shot could actually take the viewer flying among the birds. Or how about reporting on a prairie fire? An overhead shot could reveal the path of the fire.

I’ve already done both of those myself through theMissouri School of Journalism’s drone journalism program. I was a member of the program in its first year. The laws and regulations are unclear, and none of us were very technical when it came to maintenance, so most of a time we didn’t know what we were doing. But that’s a good thing. The cool thing about pioneering something like a drone research program in a university setting is we could learn about this stunning new technology, yet we didn’t have the pressure of deadlines or financial limitations that a traditional media outlet would have.

And we thought what we were doing was legal, since we weren’t making a profit from it. Turns out, the FAA thought otherwise, as it recently sent a letter requiring the program to cease outdoor flight. I’m sure the FAA has the best intentions – after all, a drone recently fell into a crowd at a bull run, and another drone hit a groom during a wedding photography session. There certainly is a need for regulation.

But drones are here to stay, and people will continue flying — regulated or not.

Read the rest of this post over at the Investigative Reporters and Editors blog.

Scientist uses drones to count whales

Wayne Perryman, leader at the Cetacean Health and Life History Program, holds a hexacopter. Photo courtesy of Wayne Perryman.
Wayne Perryman, leader at the Cetacean Health and Life History Program, holds a hexacopter. Photo courtesy of Wayne Perryman.

Wayne Perryman has spent the past decade developing aerial photographic techniques to count marine mammals. About four years ago, Perryman pick up a new technology – a drone — to better execute his work.

These days, it’s not just video he’s gathering, but whale snot.

“We’re going to build a hexacopter, attach a vacuum to it and fly it over a whale,” he said. “In the breath of a whale are little bits of cells and hormones, and we can look at that composition of air to see what it’s eating, if it’s male or female, or if it’s pregnant.”

With the vacuum bottle, Perryman will be able to remotely send a signal to open up the cover of the bottle when the whale blows up air and close it up again to collect the snot.

I got the pleasure of doing a Q&A with Perryman on his project – a different sort of whale watching. Enjoy!

Drone Girl: How does unmanned aircraft technology benefit your work?
Wayne Perryman: You just can’t get manned aircraft everywhere in the world, and planes are just too expensive. These are really just flying cameras, and they’re amazingly stable.

DG: Why are you using this aircraft to count animals?
WP: You photograph them from the air because humans are lousy at estimating them in groups. From our photos, you can measure their size and shape to get a feeling of their condition. Continue reading Scientist uses drones to count whales