Commercial Drone Rules (Part 107)


Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Ultimate Guide to Drone Anti-Collision Lights (2018)

drone-anti-collision-lights

Are you searching for a drone anti-collision light?

 

There are some great benefits to using a drone anti-collision light for recreational, public safety, and commercial operations.  It increases safety and gives you greater flexibility in your operations. Remember to go over the list of tips and considerations before you buy anything because each drone anti-collision light has its own strengths and weaknesses.

 

Table of Contents:

 

Why Drone Anti-Collision Lights?

So you might be saying to yourself, “Hey, why would I need some anti-collision lights for my drone? I already have lights on my drone!”

 

1. Helps you, and others, see the drone better. Yes, you might have some built-in drone lights but typically they are almost invisible during the day and not that bright during the night. This is where drone anti-collision lights come in help you and others see the drone during the day and night.

 

Remember that lights don’t solve all your night operational problems. What good are these lights if you don’t have training on how to fly at night? If you are looking at training for night operations, there is a Night Operations Video Course over at Rupprecht Drones that covers the night visual illusions and their remedies, physiological conditions which may degrade night vision, proper nighttime scanning techniques, and discusses more on aircraft lighting and considerations on how to mount the lights.

 

2. Required under Part 107 for civil twilight flying. Section 107.29 allows remote pilots to fly during civil twilight (twice daily: starting 30 minutes before sunrise to sunrise & sunset to 30 minutes after sunset). The big point is that the drone anti-collision lights must be visible for 3 statute miles or greater. There is a good chance your wimpy built-in drone anti-collision lights won’t cut it.

 

3. Some of the Part 107 waivers require them. The night waiver, reduced visibility, and beyond line of sight waivers typically use drone anti-collision lights as a method of helping other aircraft to see your drone flying. If you are planning on operating under one of these waivers, you should think about obtaining some good anti-collision lights visible for 3 statute miles or more. If you are wanting to learn more about Part 107 night waivers for your public safety or commercial operation, I have an entire article on this topic. If you are interested in obtaining a night waiver, contact me. I have over 90 night waiver approvals.

 

 

What are Drone Anti-Collision Lights?

Not everything is an anti-collision light. This is where everyone gets confused.

 

Anti-collision lights are (1) red or white and (2) blinking/strobing.

Navigation lights are: (1) red, green, and white and (2) solid. Here is a picture from the Rupprecht Drones Night Operations Video Course that visually explains navigation lights on manned aircraft.

drone-navigation-lights

This is extremely important because you need to make sure your lights communicate accurate information to other aircraft so they can see and avoid your drone. There are lights being sold out there in blue, yellow, etc. but these colors do not mean anything to other aircraft. 

 

One great example of a light communications failure is your DJI Phantom which totally fails at having navigation lights. (e.g. the green lights should not be on the back but the front right and back right.)

 

In addition to the colors, the drone anti-collision light needs to be blinking/strobing.

 

So am I stuck putting only one light on my drone?

No, you could put on multiple drone anti-collision lights!  You could have a blinking red one and a blinking white one to increase the visibility of your aircraft!

 

Additionally, you could also equip your aircraft with navigation lights which can be used for orientation.   Section 107.31 says the remote pilot in command: “must be able to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to: (1) Know the unmanned aircraft’s location;  (2) Determine the unmanned aircraft’s attitude, altitude, and direction of flight[.]” Some of these drone lights can be purchased in different colors such as green and red and used as navigation lights. Some of the drone anti-collision lights on the market have the ability to change their patterns (blinking, strobe, or solid). This means if you have a red anti-collision light and can change the pattern to solid, you now have a red navigation light for the left hand side of your aircraft.

 

What Types of Drone Anti-Collision Lights Are There?

They are either portable or built in. Most modern day drones have built in drone anti-collision lights. There are some after market lights that can mounted through different methods (3M tape, straps, special mount, etc.) and they are powered with either LIPO batteries or some type of disposable battery (alkaline or lead/acid).

 

 

Drone Anti-Collision Light Tips/Considerations:

1. How many lights do you need? Some aircraft shapes don’t work so well. You might need to have 2 or more lights to ensure that light is being spread out.

 

2. How omni-directional is the light? You want a light that spreads the light and not just some directional light like the Lume Cube.

 

3. Are you planning on also outfitting your drone with navigation lights? Maybe consider purchasing a drone anti-collision light that is capable of being solid or a strobe in case you have a light failure. This way if your red drone anti-collision light fails or runs out of battery power, you could change the red solid light to a red strobe to act as the drone anti-collision light. It’s a backup.

 

4. Are you flying in the rain, snow, fog, etc.?  Your DJI Matrice might be waterproof but are your drone anti-collision lights? Some of these drone anti-collision lights are NOT water resistant. Some are waterproof and some water resistant. You might need a few drone anti-collision lights in your tool box to complete the mission.

 

5. Red or white?  A red LED does not mess up your night vision like a white light does but a white light is wayyyy more visible. One cool trick is if you can make your red strobe go a solid red, you can then use it like a flash light. Might come in handy if ya dropped something and need to find it. :)

 

6. How long are you planning on operating these things for? Some options have options to draw from the power of the drone while some of the portable ones are LIPO batteries that have to be recharged. Yes, they are LEDs so their run time can be for a long time and they are low cost enough so you could always keep a second one in your bag. One anti-collision light uses 2 alkaline acid AA batteries.

 

7. Consider the lifting capability of the aircraft. Some drone anti-collision lights are low weight while others weigh more. Keep this in mind as weight will always affect your flight times.

 

8. Are the lights visible for 3 statute miles or more? While recreational flyers do not have a 3 statute mile requirement, Part 107 flyers do. Make sure the manufacturer does say that the light is visible for 3 statute miles or more. If you want to take things one step further, maybe print the web page out that says the light is visible for 3 statute miles or more in case an FAA inspector or police officer asks.

 

9. Do you have to do anything else to make it operational? Some of the portable type of drone anti-collision lights are all self-contained while others you might have to wire in or buy a kit/mount to put them on the aircraft. Just compare below the Firehouse Technologies ARC with the North American Survival Systems DS-30.

Drone Anti-Collision Lights for Sale

Before we dive in, I want to say that I’m not being paid to write this. Aveo Engineering, ACR, and Firehouse Technologies were all kind enough to send me units to test out.

 

ACR Firefly Pro SOLAS

drone-anti-collision-light-ACR-fireflyThis light was not originally designed for drones. This is really an emergency distress strobe that is waterproof. I was looking for an all-weather drone anti-collision light to mount to a Matrice. This is important for fire departments (they do spray water everywhere), mountain rescue in the snow, search and rescue in the rain, etc. The light has been “Factory tested to 33 feet.” So I guess if you accidentally crash the drone in the lake, you might be able to find it blinking at the bottom and at least get your strobe light back.

 

The Firefly PRO Solas emergency strobe light boasts an all-new light output power management system that produces over 41 candelas of light per strobe for up to 56 hours of use (with AA lithium batteries). Using wide-light emission LEDs, it cuts through even the toughest conditions, creating a super-bright flash visible for over 3 miles.

 

As I said, it was not designed for drones so it is heavy compared to all other drone anti-collision lights because it uses two AA alkaline batteries. It weighs around 2.39 ounces.

 

It has solid, strobe, and S-O-S morse code flashing. It is only white.

 

Aveo Engineering’s PicoMax Drone Anti-collision Light

drone-anti-collision-light-picomaxThis is a very elegant drone anti-collision light. This strobe comes in either red or white. There is a cover for the USB port which makes it somewhat water resistant. Additionally, there are two tunnels right through the middle of the light which allow you greater flexibility to mount it to the aircraft with some type of bungee cord or string.  If you don’t like that, you can always do the 3M tape underneath.

 

Aveo’s website says:

Battery operated with DC adapter recharging, the PicoMax™ will strobe for longer than your drone flies on its charge. Exceeding the 2 nautical mile standard, the PicoMax™ actually surpasses 3 nm, and due to its proprietary Aveo firmware and circuitry it offers the brightest and fully airworthy tested features for the serious drone operator.

 

One thing to keep in mind when storing this is to make sure the button can’t be pressed or you’ll find out your light is dead when you go to operate it. There isn’t like a cover or cap to protect the button from being pushed.

 

Survival Systems DS-30 Strobe

This is a popular strobe. This strobe using a 9 volt battery is weaker than the Picomax or Firehouse Technologies ARC lights. I don’t know the brightness if a 11 volt 3S battery is used. The reason I bring this up is I know some of the small add on kits/mounts for the DS-30 use the a lead/acid 9 volt.

 

Firehouse Technologies ARC

These strobes are becoming very popular because they are low cost, you can mount them almost anywhere with the 3M tape, and they are very bright. Everything you need to charge and mount comes in the kit.

 

It now features 4 cree lights in one unit and a new improved interface with 3 lighting modes, Strobe, Flash, and a fixed (solid) mode. We also have a charge indicator. Its available in White, Red, Green Or Blue or Tri Color please scroll down to see color drop down menu when ordering.

 

Keep in mind that these are not waterproof or really resistant. (Maybe you could spray some of that water repellent sealer on it?) The plastic wrapping on the edges is open so dirt and water can get in through the sides. Additionally, with wear and tear, the plastic will tear and you might have to fix things with clear tape.

 

Further Reading:

How to Fly Your Drone at Night-(Part 107 Night Waiver)

Rupprecht Drones Night Operations Video Course (Designed for the Part 107 Night Waiver).

 

Conclusion:

There are some great benefits to using a drone anti-collision light for recreational, public safety, and commercial operations.  It increases safety and gives you greater flexibility in your operations. Remember to go over the list of tips and considerations before you buy anything because each drone anti-collision light has its own strengths and weaknesses.

 

What good are these lights if you don’t have training on how to fly at night? If you are looking at training for night operations, there is a Night Operations Video Course over at Rupprecht Drones that covers the night visual illusions and their remedies, physiological conditions which may degrade night vision, proper nighttime scanning techniques, and discusses more on aircraft lighting and considerations on how to mount the lights.

 

If you are wanting to learn more about Part 107 night waivers for your public safety or commercial operation, I have an entire article on this topic. If you are interested in obtaining a night waiver, contact me. I have over 90 night waiver approvals.


Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Drone Sprayers: Uses, Laws & Regulations, Tips to Save Money (2018)

drone-spraying

Interested in a drone sprayer?

 

Drones are really just aerial platforms from which to do things. Most people associate drones as data collection platforms where you mount sensors such as cameras, LIDAR, etc., but drones can also be used for the delivery of all sorts of other things besides just drone package delivery or medical delivery. One great example is using the drone as a drone sprayer.

 

I’m a commercial pilot, current FAA certificated flight instructor, aviation attorney, and professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I distilled into this article some of the important points that I have used as I have assisted clients in successfully obtaining Federal Aviation Administration approvals to operate their drone sprayers. If you need my help with exemptions, a Part 107 night waiver, going through the 137 agricultural aircraft operator certification, please contact me for pricing.

 

Table of Contents:

 

Drone Sprayer Examples:

I’m going to touch on the high points of each of these drone sprayer uses. Please keep in mind that each drone sprayer has is own set of unique problems, economics, laws, etc. My commentary is not an exhaustive discussion on the whole area.

 

A. Pollen Drone Sprayer

There is a problematic decline of bee population numbers around the United States which has been caused for various reasons. Dropcopter has stepped into this gap with a very innovative idea of using their drone sprayer to pollinate crops.

As a Digital Trends article put it,

“Pollination by drone isn’t the only alternative to insect pollination, but it may just be the most efficient current solution. Alternatives include using large tractor-mounted liquid sprayers or leaf blowers driven on quad bikes. Both of these are problematic due to the lack of reach and, in the case of liquid sprayers, the time-sensitive nature of the pollen once it gets mixed with liquid. Dropcopter’s drones, meanwhile, can cover 40 acres per hour, and can double the pollination window by also flying at night. This is one advantage they even have over bees since bees don’t fly at nighttime, when flowers remain open.”

 

It also appears that their Dropcopter can maybe increase yields. Dropcopter’s website says, “Dropcopter completed its patent pending prototype, and conducted the first ever UAS pollination of orchards crops, boosting crop set by 10%.”

 

B. Drones for Spraying Insecticides (Mosquito Control, etc.)

Because of their ability to communicate diseases, fighting mosquitoes is a big thing around the U.S. Mosquito abatement organizations are seeking to actively use drones to help fight mosquitoes. Recently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the Drone Integration Pilot Program. The DOT picked ten winners, one of which is the Lee County Mosquito Control District located in Ft. Myers Florida. “The proposal focuses on low-altitude aerial applications to control/surveille the mosquito population using a 1500-lb. UAS.”  Lee County is not the only mosquito control district interested in using drones for spraying pesticides. Other control districts currently have drone sprayer programs underway.

If you are a government agency that fights mosquitoes or other pests, there is the potential for your operations to be done under a certain type of classification called a public aircraft operation which gives your operation more flexibility than non-government entities. See below for a discussion.  If you are interested in helping your mosquito control district use drone sprayers, contact me.

Mosquitoes are not the only insects you might be interested in fighting. Drone Volt created a mount to spray insecticide on hornet nests way up in trees.

 

C. Crop Dusting Drones (Herbicide, Fertilizer, Fungicide, etc.)

Drone sprayers seem like a good choice to be crop dusting drones but there are MANY variables here that affect whether it is a good decision for your situation or not. Factors that influence whether this makes sense or not are:

  • Type of crop,
  • Value of the crop,
  • Ground size of the crop,
  • Droplet size requirements to be placed on the crop,
  • How quickly you need to spray a particular chemical on a crop (is there a window of time?), and
  • How much liquid you need to spray.

For large areas of land, manned aircraft and ground spraying rigs make more sense based upon cost per acre compared to crop dusting drones. Read my section below on the economics to understand this fully.  For smaller pieces of land or land that is inaccessible to ground rigs or manned aircraft, it might make sense to use crop dusting drones.

D. Drone Tree Seed Planter

 

Drone Seed is looking to corner the market on precision forestry.  Not only can it do a potentially dangerous job of planting trees on the slopes of steep inclines but it can also potentially do it faster than by workers on foot.

E. Wind Turbine De-Icing Drone Sprayer

The Verge did an article on the company Aerones which built a large drone sprayer with some serious lifting capacity to fly up and spray de-icing fluid on wind turbine blades.  The Verge article explained:

“The craft has a tether line supplying water, which it sprays at up to 100 liters a minute (with optional de-icing coating), and another for power, meaning it can stay aloft indefinitely. Cleaning by drone costs around $1,000, compared to $5,000 and up for cleaning by climbers.

The process is good for general maintenance, but also helps increase power efficiency. If snow and ice build up on a turbine’s blades, it slows the rate at which they produce power and can even bring it to a complete halt. Aerones adds that using a drone for de-icing is both quicker and safer than sending humans up using a cherry picker”

 

Drone Sprayer Economics

There is far more hype to this area that is being driven by possibilities rather than economics.

Drones are mobile platforms to spray from. There are other mobile platforms such as:

  • Manned aircraft (airplanes and helicopters)
  • Ground spraying rigs (tractor pulled, truck mounted, etc.)
  • Humans (Backpack sprayer)

Each of these platforms has pros and cons that need to be weighed against the benefits of the drone sprayer. For the discussions below, I’m assuming someone would be purchasing something like the HSE or DJI drone sprayers.

 

1. Manned Aircraft (Airplanes & Helicopters) vs. Drone Sprayers

Manned Aircraft: Most drone sprayers cannot carry a large payload compared to manned aircraft.  Manned aircraft also are lower in cost per acre than drone sprayer operations. For crop spraying,  drone sprayers won’t be used for large acres of land because the spraying rate per day is also way too small compared to manned aircraft which can spray thousands of gallons in one day. This is a major point people miss. There are narrow windows of time to spray crops due to all sorts of things such as weather, chemical being sprayed, growth cycle, etc. Simply put, drone sprayers cannot spray fast enough because their tanks are small.

Drone Sprayers: Drones have the ability to service clients who have smaller amounts of land or area inaccessible to manned aircraft.

 

2. Ground Spraying Rigs (Tractor Pulled, Truck Mounted, etc.)

Ground Spraying Rigs: They do not have to deal with the FAA and all those hassles. They can also hold much more spraying material than a drone.

Drone Sprayers: Drone sprayers can access areas that ground spraying rigs cannot, such as uneven, steep, or inaccessible terrain or sensitive environments where the ground vehicles would damage the area or crops. Drone sprayers are lower in cost to purchase and maintain.

 

3. Humans (Backpack Sprayer)

Backpack Sprayer:  Super cheap to purchase ($90) compared to a drone sprayer. No FAA problems.

Drone Sprayers: You can access areas with less danger to your employees. (Slip and fall anyone? Hello workers’ compensation claims.) Potentially more time efficient. Less exhausting than walking around with a hand pump sprayer. Depending on batteries and how quickly you can refill, this can be more time efficient than backpack sprayers.

 

 

So Where Do Drone Sprayers Fit In?

When you go to the home improvement store to buy some paint, you’ll notice that there are small spray paint cans, low cost electric paint sprayers, and large metal heavy duty commercial sprayers. By analogy, drone sprayers fill a sweet spot that is similar to low cost electric paint sprayers.

You have to focus on the strengths of drone sprayers to see where they shine:

  • Able to get into locations that manned aircraft, ground spraying tractors, or hand sprayers cannot access.
  • Safer than hand spraying.
  • Lower acquisition costs versus larger pieces of equipment (ground spraying tractors) or manned aircraft. Do you really need to buy that ground spraying rig?
  • Easy and low cost to transport and deploy. (Ground spraying rigs you have to drive or tow there.  Manned aircraft you have to fly to the location).
  • Able to service smaller clients that would not have hired a manned aircraft.

 

Can You Give Me Some Drone Spraying Examples?

  • High value crops that tend to cover smaller acres of land (vineyards, apple orchards, almond orchards, etc.).
  • Spraying pollen on higher value crops to increase crop yields.
  • Crops on terrain that is too inaccessible or inconvenient to get to with a ground sprayer yet is too small to justify hiring a manned aircraft spraying operation.
  • Herbicide spraying on rocky embankments near a water reservoir where you don’t want to endanger your employees or you have a hard time getting to the rocky areas with the ground rig.
  • Mosquito abatement in areas that ground vehicles (or boats) cannot easily get to and that don’t justify the use of manned aircraft.
  • You’re a company that is running an in-house operation testing out aerial application of chemicals or on a particular type of plant.

What About Costs? How Much Does a Spraying Drone Operation Cost?

Yes, those examples didn’t really take into account the total drone sprayer operational costs.  Here are some rough numbers you can use to go off of:

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Related:
    • FAA Registration ($5 per drone). Good for 3 years.
    • FAA Remote Pilot Certificate Knowledge Exam ($150 per remote pilot). Aeronautical test knowledge is good for 24 months.
    • Study Material for Remote Pilot Test (Free-$250)  (I have a huge free study guide for the test located here).
    • If you are spraying anything other than just pure water,
      • You’ll need a Part 137 Agricultural Aircraft Operator Certificate ($0 per operator but will take time). Indefinite.
      • Exemption ($0 per operator but will take time and legal knowledge.) Lasts 2 years.
    • Need to spray at night? Part 107 night waiver.  ($0) Lasts 4 years.
  • Drone Sprayer Insurance. I can’t estimate this because there are many factors here.   Read my article on drone insurance before you buy some.
  • Crop Dusting Drone Sprayer & Equipment.  (13,000-40,000)
  • Spraying Pesticide? You’ll need a state restricted use pesticide license. (Around $100 to $250). Things can cause this to fluctuate so you’ll have to check your state.)

 

If you need my help with exemptions, a Part 107 night waiver, going through the 137 agricultural aircraft operator certification, please contact me for pricing.

 

Now before you start making business plans. You need to know that these drones are considered aircraft. Aircraft are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”). In addition to the FAA, other U.S. Federal laws may apply to your operation.

 

United States Drone Spraying Law

A. Federal Drone Spraying Law

1. Federal Aviation Regulations

Just at the get go, if you are a government agency, some of these regulations might NOT apply to you. This is completely beyond the scope of this article but I have talked about it more over here.

 

Part 107

Most commercial drone operators follow Part 107. There are other legal methods of getting your aircraft airborne legally but this is the most time and cost efficient. Basically, Part 107 requires the drone sprayer to be registered, the pilot to have a remote pilot certificate, and for the operations to be done according to the restrictions listed in Part 107. Click here to read up on the complete summary of what Part 107 says.

 

Here are the two most important things you need to know about Part 107 in relation to spraying drones:

  1. Part 107 is only for drones that weigh on take-off less than 55 pounds and
  2. You cannot carry hazardous material on the drone.

 

Now these are not deal breakers but you’ll need exemptions from these restrictions. Exemptions do not cost anything to file with the FAA but they do take time and legal knowledge to make sure you have identified all the regulations you need to be exempted from. If you don’t have the time or knowledge, you can hire people, like me, to help you with this.

 

Also keep in mind that for 55 pound + exemptions, there are documents and data the FAA will want you to submit in support with the exemption. This data might NOT be supplied by the drone sprayer manufacturers, which means you need to create it or find someone who has. See tips below for more on this topic.

 

Part 137 – Agricultural Aircraft Operations. 

Part 137 specifically defines the applicability of this Part of the Code of Federal Regulations. Agricultural aircraft operation means the operation of an aircraft for the purpose of:

  1. Dispensing any economic poison,
  2. Dispensing any other substance intended for plant nourishment, soil treatment, propagation of plant life, or pest control, or
  3. Engaging in dispensing activities directly affecting agriculture, horticulture, or forest preservation, but not including the dispensing of live insects.

 

Part 137.3 defines economic poison:

Economic poison means (1) any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any insects, rodents, nematodes, fungi, weeds, and other forms of plant or animal life or viruses, except viruses on or in living man or other animals, which the Secretary of Agriculture shall declare to be a pest, and (2) any substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant or desiccant.

 

Most spraying operations fall into the applicability of Part 137 and because of such, they’ll need exemptions from sections of this part. Why? Part 137 was created a long long time ago. The regulations designed for manned aircraft do not make sense with drone sprayers. Conveniently, if you are already getting an exemption from the prohibition in Part 107 to not carry hazardous materials (like economic poisons), you can just add the sections of Part 137 that you need exempting from all into one request for exemption document.

 

Here is a major point that people miss. In addition to the exemption to do agricultural aircraft operations, the operator will need to obtain an agricultural aircraft operator certificate. You can thankfully pursue both the exemption and certificate in parallel to speed things up but you’ll need the exemption approval before you get inspected by the FAA as the final step in getting your agricultural aircraft operator certificate.

 

2. Other Federal Regulations

Keep in mind the FAA isn’t the only federal agency you might have to deal with. There is also the Environmental Protection Agency and also the Occupational and Health Safety Administration which have regulations that apply.  Discussing these regulations is way outside the scope of this article but I wanted to mention this.

 

B. State & Local Drone Spraying Laws

There are state and local laws that apply to aerial application spraying (manned and unmanned spraying). This is a very broad area but just know that states require you to obtain some type of restricted use pesticide license to spray any economic poisons and typically you need the certification in the category you are performing the work (aerial application).

Some states require you have your drone sprayer registered with the FAA and even the state. The state won’t issue any state registration until you also show some drone insurance on your drone sprayer. This means you won’t be able to do some type of hourly insurance set up but will have to obtain annual insurance and request a certificate of insurance to show to the state.

Local laws also might apply depending on what you are spraying, when you are spraying, and where you are spraying.

 

Drone Sprayers for Sale

Right now, there are some companies that are manufacturing spraying drones. The drone sprayers listed below are ones I’m familiar with. I didn’t do an exhaustive search for all that is out there.

Keep in mind you don’t just buy the drone sprayer. You’ll be also thinking about purchasing a transport case, extra batteries, training, etc.

 

Tips on Starting a Drone Sprayer Operation (Read This Before You Buy)

1. Work With an Attorney

A. Attorney Client Relationship Protects Sensitive Conversations.  The attorney-client privilege protects conversations between the client and the attorney. This allows for open conversations regarding the legality of the operations.  “Was I supposed to do……..”  or “We just received a letter of investigation” are supposed to be brought up in the open and honest attorney-client discussion. There are alot of regulations that apply. Do you really want to rely on a non-attorney to give you legal advice? You’re the one getting the fines, not the consultant.

Please note that it is ATTORNEY client relationship and not consultant client relationship. The FAA, federal and state law enforcement, plaintiff’s attorneys, etc. can subpoena your consultant to testify against you. They can’t do that with an attorney except for really rare situations. The consultant is stuck between a rock and a hard place. They either tell the truth and goof you up, lie and risk jail, or refuse to answer and go to jail.  The answer is simple – you’ll get goofed over every time.

B. An attorney can actually provide legal advice – lawfully. You’re going to need a lot of answers regarding the laws. Almost all the states I know of require that people who provide legal advice be licensed attorneys in that state. Only attorneys can provide legal advice. If anyone claims they are an attorney, check the state bar directory in which they live to see if they are a current member in good standing. For example, if you go to the Florida Bar’s member search page, you can search for me and see that I’m eligible to practice law and in good standing with the Florida Bar.

I know of a person running around in the industry right now that calls themselves an attorney but that person is actually a disbarred attorney who was disbarred because of dishonest conduct towards the client. It will look pretty bad to your boss if you hire a so-called attorney who turns out to not be a LICENSED attorney.

C. They have a duty to you. – This is an important one. Yes, we all understand the idea of giving secrets away to a competitor is a big no-no. But consider this….as a Florida Bar attorney, I’m actually prohibited from paying out to any non-attorney or drone manufacturers any referral fees. This means that if I recommend something or someone, I’m recommending it because it is good, not because I’m getting paid for it. Furthermore, this means that people who refer to me are sending you to me because I’m the best person to help, NOT that I’m giving them a kickback.  

D. Protection. Most attorneys have legal malpractice insurance which is there to protect you in case there is a mistake.  I don’t know of any consultants that have legal malpractice insurance to protect you if they advise you incorrectly on the aviation regulations or the other laws that apply to this area. Furthermore, attorneys go through background checks to get barred. Consultants don’t have to get checked out.

2. Are You Planning on Flying 55 Pounds or Heavier in the United States? 

A. Limited Payload. To fly under Part 107, your drone sprayer needs to weigh under 55 pounds on take-off. It could have the capability to fly heavier, but you need to keep it under. This is an important point because you could purchase a drone sprayer capable of flying over 55 pounds but you’ll be forced to limit the amount of liquid in your tanks for the drone and liquid together to be under 55 pounds at take-off.

B. More Costs & Different Rules. The amount of effort to fly a drone sprayer weighing 55 pounds or heavier is much more considerable than just flying under Part 107 without an exemption. Keep in mind you cannot just get a remote pilot certificate and fly a 55+ drone sprayer. The pilot will need the more costly sport pilot certificate and will be operating under a completely different set of regulations than Part 107. This means your up front costs WILL be higher for flying a 55+ drone than for an under 55 drone.  This also means that if you want to scale out the drone spraying operation, you’ll need to pay for training to get the employee a sport pilot certificate or recruit people that already have this license or higher.  It might make sense for your operation to have multiple under 55 pound drone sprayers and maybe one or more 55+ drone sprayers for larger jobs.

C. Lack of Reliability Data. This is actually the worst one.  For a 55+ exemption, the FAA will ask for information on the drone sprayer, such as how many total hours have been flown on it to show engineering reliability.  This is different than manuals. Is there any supporting data that shows this type of air frame is safe? This means you’ll most likely have to obtain the drone sprayer data yourself or find someone who already has. Maybe in the future the FAA will approve other 55+ exemptions based upon someone doing the previous leg work on the same make and model of drone sprayer but I have yet to see that.

D. Registration Planning. The easy online method of registering the drone sprayer under Part 48 is for only drone sprayers that will be operated under 55 pounds. This means you’ll have to go through the headache of de-registering under Part 48 and re-registering under Part 47 which is a pain in and of itself. Proper planning would say if you plan on going 55+ with your drone sprayer, just register under Part 47 which is good for both under 55  and 55+ operations.

Conclusion

Drone sprayers provide great opportunities for certain types of operations but not all situations. To help you achieve your drone sprayer goals quickly and legally, it is best to work with someone who has familiarity with the area.

If you are planning on navigating this difficult area, contact me. I’m a commercial pilot, current FAA certificated flight instructor, aviation attorney, and professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I am currently assisting clients in these matters and HAVE successfully obtained exemption approvals for clients to do drone spraying.  I’m also familiar with the non-aviation related legal issues that are extremely important for drone sprayer operations.


Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Free Part 107 Test Study Guide For FAA Remote Pilot Airmen Certificate (Updated 2018)

FAA-Part-107-study-guide

Part 107 Test Study Guide Table of Contents (Pick One)

 

I created this free Part 107 test study guide to help my clients and the drone community based upon my experience as a FAA certificated flight instructor and aviation attorney. Keep in mind that many of the courses online are taught by people who are NOT FAA certificated flight instructors. Dig in and find out if a flight instructor teaches the WHOLE course.

 

The FAA compiled a list of many references in the final airmen certification standards for the remote pilot knowledge exam and FAA created study guide.

 

Unfortunately, they did NOT include everything you need or would find helpful. Below I have included the material the FAA suggested you study along with extra items that the FAA should have included, which are in the bold text, that I added.

 

First Time Test Taker Study Guide

I want to emphasize, after you pass your test, you should be looking for quality mentorship for the long term. Being a professional is not just about passing a test. If you are looking to be mediocre, I suggest you go to another industry and do us all a favor. It should be about learning the material AND how to apply it properly in practice.  Passing the Part 107 exam is merely the key unlocking the door to begin your journey into aviation, not a certificate saying you have arrived.

To reemphasize, once you pass your test, go find a competent flight instructor who can help you apply the knowledge you will learn to real life situations so you can be profitable, legal, and safe.

 

Update: I wrote an article on the Part 107 statistics (pass/fails, applications filed, applications approved, etc.)

 

 

Disclaimer:  You aren’t guaranteed to pass the test based off this material.

 

FREE Drone Pilot License PDF Study Guide!

  • 100 + pages.
  • 41 FAA practice questions with answers.
  • 24 exclusive sample questions.
  • 6 "cram" pages.

Game Plan:

Step 1. Read all the steps.

 

Step 2. Sign up for the test. Instructions on signing up for the test getting your pilot license is here. You should pick a date based upon how much time you have in relation to how much material you need to go through. You are looking at around 538 pages of material you need to read. Yes, I know there are only 135 pages in THIS document. I reference pages in other documents below.

 

Step 3. Learn about the Airmen Certification Standards (ACS) and read over the Part 107 ACS.

 

Step 4. Start studying the material below.

 

Step 5. Once you are done or feel competent. Take the test of 40 sample questions. For your deficient areas, go over those particular areas in the ACS. All 40 questions are answered and explained in this document in the back.

 

Step 6. In the final stretch of time, study Area II and Area V from the ACS since both of those areas will make up 50-70% of the test.

 

Step 7. After you passed your test, you should be looking for quality mentorship for the long term. Being a professional is not just about passing a test. If you are looking to be mediocre, I suggest you go to another industry and do us all a favor. It should be about learning the material AND how to apply it properly in practice. Now go find a competent flight instructor who can help you apply the knowledge you learned to real life situations so you can be profitable, legal, and safe.

 

The FAA compiled a list of references in the final ACS and FAA study guide. Unfortunately, they did not include everything you need or would find helpful. Below I have included the extra items that the FAA should have included, which are in the bold text.

 

I find it interesting the FAA did not note anything about Part 830 (except for one small reference in a PLT code) or the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS). Both of those programs are focused on safety while the FAA’s accident reporting requirement in Part 107 is focused on safety and enforcement.  A pilot needs to know both of these programs. I find it also interesting the FAA didn’t mention anything about the NASA ASRS which is there for the pilot’s benefit, not the FAA’s, regarding enforcement actions.  Let that sink in for a second. This shows the importance of why you need to have a good aviation attorney in your corner to look after you, as the FAA won’t. Read What Do I Do After I Crash My Drone?

 

The total number of regulations and pages is very large. I chopped it up into what pieces of material you should know in entirety and what you should pick pieces and parts of based upon the ACS.

 

The total test will be 60 questions and you will have 2 hours to complete it. The minimum passing score is 70% which is a maximum of 18 questions wrong or a minimum of 42 questions right.

 

If there are any errors or broken links in here, for the greater good of everyone studying, let me know so I can correct it and inform everyone.

 

Part 107 Remote Pilot Test Taking Tips:

A bunch of the questions on your test will be answered right by the legend in the supplement. You CAN refer to this while in the test. Make sure the test proctor gives you the correct one that is up to date prior to going into the test. I heard one horror story where the person had an old one so the questions didn’t match up. Make sure you have a current one!

 

 

Go with the “spirit of the question,” not the letter of the question. Try and figure out what the FAA is trying to test you on. Remember that these questions were most likely created very hastily and do not make perfect sense. When I took the test, I remember a few questions that looked like they were written by someone who was up at 2AM trying to crank out tons of questions. If you are stumped, then ask yourself, “What is the guy up at 2AM in the morning trying to test me on?”

 

Always keep in mind how the answers can answer OTHER questions. If you don’t know the answer, or eliminate the wrong ones, keep moving on. Sometimes the questions and answers further down will provide you the answers to the one you are having trouble with. When I took the test, I noticed that there were two questions that were very similar in topic. One of the questions had two really dumb answers which basically gave away the correct answer. If you knew nothing about the topic, just using common sense to eliminate the two bad answer, you could have used the correct answer to answer the first question.

 

Brain dump everything immediately onto your scrap paper when you start the test. You want to write down everything you think you will forget on the scrap piece of paper. Just dump it all out and any pictures and diagrams you have up in your head.

 

Try and answer the question BEFORE you read the answers so you don’t get tricked. The FAA likes to create answers where one is a slight “one-off” from the correct answer. By reading the answers, you can introduce doubt. For example, Federal Aviation Administration or Federal Aviation Agency? Which is it? They both seem like good answers.  Is it MSL or AGL?

 

Eliminate the wrong answers. You don’t have to find the correct answer, just the wrong ones.

 

Read the test question AND answers carefully. I cannot over emphasize this.

 

Sleep and eat well. I would just sleep 8-10 hours. Take the test around 10AM-12PM. This way you aren’t rushed and can miss rush hour traffic as you drive there. When I was in law school (3-4hour exams) and taking the Florida bar exam (2 full 8 hour days), I had to make sure my body wouldn’t go out on me. I would eat very greasy foods right before I would go in so I wouldn’t be hungry while I would take a Kombucha vitamin B shot right. Check with your doctor to make sure this is ok with you. The vitamin B would start metabolizing by the time I took the test or started answering questions.

 

Tips For While You Are Studying

You will be able to take the test with the Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement for Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, and Private Pilot which is a great resource. There are two reasons why you should look for this supplement and know what is in it: (1) there are helpful legends which will be great for answering sectional map questions and (2) many questions on the test will reference some of the figures in this supplement. At the end of your studying, you should skim through and ask yourself questions based on the numbered areas on the sectional charts.

 

See a term you don’t know in the ACS? Look it up in the glossary of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK) to see what the term means in a short statement. Want to learn more about the term in the ACS? Look up the term in the index of the PHAK and/or Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) which will tell you where to find more information.

 

Hit ctrl + f and type in the word to search through the PDF rapidly.

 

All of the study material below is free.

 

Reference

Title

Read Entirely

14 CFR Part 45 (Subpart A & C)Identification and Registration Marking
14 CFR part 47 Aircraft Registration
14 CFR part 48Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
14 CFR part 71Designation of Class A, B, C, D and E Airspace Areas; Air Traffic Service Routes; and Reporting Points
14 CFR part 73 [this should have been in there]SPECIAL USE AIRSPACE (Restricted and Prohibited Airspace).
14 CFR Part 91 Sections Referenced in Part 107.Sections:

·         91.17 Alcohol or Drugs

·         91.19 Carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances.

·         91.137 Temporary flight restrictions in the vicinity of disaster/hazard areas.

·         91.138 Temporary flight restrictions in national disaster areas in the State of Hawaii.

·         91.139 Emergency air traffic rules.

·         91.141 Flight restrictions in the proximity of the Presidential and other parties.

·         91.143 Flight limitation in the proximity of space flight operations.

·         91.144   Temporary restriction on flight operations during abnormally high barometric pressure conditions.

·         91.145 Management of aircraft operations in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations and major sporting events.

·         91.203(a)(2) Civil aircraft: Certifications required.

14 CFR 99.7§ 99.7 Special security instructions.
14 CFR Part 101 Subpart ESubpart E—Special Rule for Model Aircraft
14 CFR Part 107Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
49 CFR Part 830Notification And Reporting Of Aircraft Accidents Or Incidents And Overdue Aircraft, And Preservation Of Aircraft Wreckage, Mail, Cargo, And Records
SAFO 15010 (2 Pages)Carriage of Spare Lithium Batteries in Carry-on and Checked Baggage
SAFO 10015 (1 Page and 23 minute video)Flying in the wire environment
SAFO 10017 (3 Pages)Risks in Transporting Lithium Batteries in Cargo by Aircraft
SAFO 09013 (1 Page and a 10.5 minute Video)Fighting Fires Caused By Lithium Type Batteries in Portable Electronic Devices
AC 150/5200-32 (11 Pages)Reporting Wildlife Aircraft Strikes
AC 107-2  (53 Pages)Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)
FAA-S-ACS-10 (33 Pages)Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards
FAA-G-8082-22 (87 Pages)Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide
FAA-G-8082-20 (17 Pages)Remote Pilot Knowledge Test Guide

Articles I wrote that will help you understand some of the areas you need to know for the test. (12 webpages total)

·         Part 107 (ACS) Airmen Certification Standards Explained (2 pages)

·         Part 107 Knowledge Test (41 Questions Answered & Explained) (4 pages)

·         TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) (1 page)

·         What Type of Criminal Punishment (Prison Time) or Fines can Result for a TFR Violation? (1 page)

·         8 Different TFRs – Flight Restrictions for Good Reason (1 page)

·         FAA Part 107 Waiver (COA) – What Drone Pilots Need to Know (1 page)

·         What Do I Do After I Crash My Drone? (1 page)

·         How to Fly Your Drone at Night-(Part 107 Night Waiver from 107.29)

·         More Part 107 Test Questions for Remote Pilot Knowledge Test (22 Super Hard Practice Questions)

Things you should NOT Read in Entirety but ONLY the relevant sections I list or ctrl +f the term in the document for the relevant sections. (The AC00-06, AIM, RMH, PHAK points came from the Knowledge Test Guide Pages 12-16)

Aeronautical Chart User’s GuideAeronautical Chart User’s Guide (21 pages)

·         Pages 13-44

AC 00-6  (200 Pages)Aviation Weather  (42 Pages)

·         Thunderstorms (19-1 through 19-11)  (11 Pages)

·         Winds / Currents (Chapter 7 – 6 pages) (Chapter 9 – 9 pages) (Chapter 10 – 9 pages).

·         Density Altitude (Sections 5.3 through 5.5 – 6 pages).

·         Effects – Temperature (Pages 5-10 through 5-12 already covered)

·         Effects – Frost Formation (Section 22-4  – 1 page)

·         Effects – Air Masses and Fronts (Section 10-1 through 10-8  – already covered)

AC 00-45 – Aviation Weather ServicesAviation Weather Services (17 pages)

·         Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAF) (Pages 5-75 through 5-92 – 17 pages)

·         Thunderstorms

AIM Aeronautical Information Manual (54 pages)

·         General Airspace (3-1-1 through 3-5-10  – 26 pages)

·         Authorization for Certain Airspace

·         Airport Operations (4-3-1 through 4-3-4  –  4 pages)

·         Aeronautical Charts (9-1-1 through 9-1-4 Don’t read past Caribbean VFR aeronautical charts.  – 3 pages)

·         Radio Communications – Non-towered & Towered  (4-2-1 through  4-2-8  6 pages)

·         Traffic Patterns

·         Traffic Advisory Services

·         Phonetic Alphabet

·         Scanning / See and Avoid  (4−4−14 & 8−1−6   –  4 pages)

·         NOTAMs (5−1−3  –  6 pages)

·         Temporary Flight Restrictions (3−5−3 Overlap)

·         Hyperventilation (8−1−3  – 1 page)

·         MOA (3−4−5  Overlap)

·         Sources – Weather Briefings / Sources (7−1−2   –  1 page)

·         Prescription and OTC Medications  (8−1−2   –  3 pages)

FAA-H-8083-2Risk Management Handbook

·         Situational Awareness (2 pages)

FAA-H-8083-25Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (77 Pages)

·         Loading/Performance –  Balance, Stability, Center of Gravity (Pages 5-33 through 5-43  – 11 pages)

·         Aeronautical Decision Making – Crew Resource Management (Pages 2-4 through 2-32  29 Pages)

·         Aviation Routine Weather Reports (METAR) (13-6 through 13-8  – 3 pages)

·         Military Training Routes

·         Other Airspace Areas (15-4 through 15-7 – 4 Pages)

·         Reading a Chart

·         Aeronautical Charts (14-3, 16-2 through 16-7 – 7 pages)

·         Informational Sources (1-9 through 1-12  4 pages)

·         Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAF) (13-9 – 1 page)

·         Hazardous Attitude (Page 2-4  through 2-6    –    4 Pages)

·         Crew Resource Management  (G-8  – 1 page)

·         Situational Awareness  (2-22  1 page)

·         Effective Scanning  (17-23   1 page)

·         Drugs and Alcohol  (17-15 through 17-18   – 4 pages)

·         Effects – Atmospheric Stability and Pressure   (12-12  through 12-17  – 6 pages)

·         Effects – Temperature

·         Weather Briefings / Sources  (13-5  1 page)

·         Prescription and OTC Medications

FAA-CT-8080-2HAirman Knowledge Testing Supplement for Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, and Private Pilot

·         Know how to use the two legends. Pages 1-19. This supplement will be provided to you when you take the test. If they do not, ask for it. Read Page 7 of this FAA document for proof.

·         Know all the terms in Figure 1. (Look these terms up in the PHAK)

·         Figure 2 – Know how to use.

·         Figure 12- Decode these and study them. You should know how to read these for the real world, not just memorize these so you can pass the test.

·         Figure 13 – You should read over this and know what information is important for you as a drone pilot and what is not.

·         Figure 15 – This is important to know so you can plan operations.

·         Figure 55 – Picture 3 and 7.  This is how pilots dance at parties. After the party, if you ever have a flag and you need to hide it so it doesn’t get stolen at an airport, a great place to hide it is under the tail of an airplane. See Picture 4.

·         Study Figure 20-26, 59, 69-71, 74-76, 78, 80

·         Decode 31, 52, 63, 77, 79, 81,

Recurrent Knowledge Test Study Guide

Game Plan:

Step 1. Read all the steps. Understand this is for the recurrent exam, NOT the initial exam. That is another study guide on my website.

 

Step 2. Figure out when you need to take the test by. See the section below talking about when aeronautical knowledge currency expires.

 

Step 3. Sign up for the test. Instructions on signing up for the test is here. You should pick a date based upon how much time you have in relation to how much material you need to go through. You are looking at around 335 pages of material you need to read. Yes, I know there are only 138 pages in THIS document. I reference pages in other documents below.

 

Step 4. Learn about the Airmen Certification Standards (ACS) and read over the Part 107 ACS.

 

Step 5. Start studying the material below based upon what was listed in the ACS regarding the recurrent knowledge exam.

 

Step 6. Once you are done or feel competent. Take the test of 40 sample questions. For your deficient areas, go over those particular areas in the ACS. All 40 questions are answered and explained in this document in the back. Keep in mind that some of those questions are on things that won’t be on the recurrent exam such as weather. You might want to skip those questions or take a crack at it to see if your knowledge is still good.

 

Step 7. In the final stretch of time, study Area I (the regulations) and Area II (airspace & chart reading) from the ACS since both of those areas will make up 60-80% of the test. Maybe go through the 107 regulations paid video course at Rupprecht Drones with 100+ questions?

 

The FAA compiled a list of references in the final ACS and FAA study guide. Unfortunately, they did not include everything you need or would find helpful. Below I have included the extra items that the FAA should have included, which are in the bold text.

 

I find it interesting the FAA did not note anything about Part 830 (except for one small reference in a PLT code) or the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS). Both of those programs are focused on safety while the FAA’s accident reporting requirement in Part 107 is focused on safety and enforcement.  A pilot needs to know both of these programs. I find it also interesting the FAA didn’t mention anything about the NASA ASRS which is there for the pilot’s benefit, not the FAA’s, regarding enforcement actions.  Let that sink in for a second. This shows the importance of why you need to have a good aviation attorney in your corner to look after you, as the FAA won’t. Read What Do I Do After I Crash My Drone?

 

The total number of regulations and pages is very large. I chopped it up into what pieces of material you should know in entirety and what you should pick pieces and parts of based upon the ACS.

 

The recurrent knowledge exam will be 40 questions and you will have 1.5 hours to complete it. The minimum passing score is 70% which is a maximum of 12 questions wrong or a minimum of 28 questions right.

 

If there are any errors or broken links in here, for the greater good of everyone studying, let me know so I can correct it.

 

 

Currency (Every 24 Months You Have to Prove Your Aeronautical Knowledge)

Section 107.65 says, a “person may not operate a small unmanned aircraft system unless that person has completed one of the following, within the previous 24 calendar months:

(a) Passed an initial aeronautical knowledge test covering the areas of knowledge specified in §107.73(a);

(b) Passed a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test covering the areas of knowledge specified in §107.73(b); or

(c) If a person holds a pilot certificate (other than a student pilot certificate) issued under part 61 of this chapter and meets the flight review requirements specified in §61.56, passed either an initial or recurrent training course covering the areas of knowledge specified in §107.74(a) or (b) in a manner acceptable to the Administrator.”

You need 1 of the following within the previous 24 calendar months to operate under Part 107; however, if you don’t meet this, you are grounded from flying under Part 107 but you still could fly recreationally under Part 101.

 

Does your remote pilot certificate expire?

No, you don’t lose your remote pilot certificate. It really shouldn’t be termed recertification as you are NOT getting a certificate again or having to worry about losing the certificate. You just cannot exercise the privileges of the remote pilot certificate.

Everyone typically gets confused by what I just said. I’ll give you some examples.

  • Bob passes an initial aeronautical knowledge test on September 15, 2016 and received his remote pilot certificate. This means Bob needs to do (a),(b), or (c) no later than September 30, 2018. Otherwise, he’ll have to stop flying under Part 107 until he does (a), (b), or (c).
  • Tony passed the exam with Bob on September 15, 2016.   He received his remote pilot certificate. He did not take the recurrent exam until October 10, 2018 and passed in the afternoon at 1:34PM. Tony could not fly from October 1-10 up till he passed the test around 1:33-34PM. Once he passed, he was good to go for another 24 months (October 31st, 2020 @ 11:59 PM).
  • Sam, who also passed with Bob and Tony on September 15, 2016, received his remote pilot certificate but didn’t really do much drone flying because of life circumstances. He managed to pass the recurrent knowledge exam on December 14, 2019. He is good until December 31st, 2021.

Important point.  Please note that when calculating recency, you are going off of when you did (a), (b), or (c) above, NOT when you received your remote pilot certificate or what is dated on your certificate.

 

I lost my knowledge test report. How do I figure when my currency expires?

Well, you won’t find the answer on IACRA, your remote pilot certificate, or the FAA airmen registry.  Here are some solutions:

  • Dig into your emails to see if your have a test payment or schedule confirmation with some date attached. You might want to try this email ([email protected]) if you went with CATS.
  • Another thing to do is look into your calendar and see if you put it in there.
  • If the date is fuzzy, try to at least figure out the month you took it in. Currency runs out on the last day of that month 24 months later.
  • Maybe call CATS or Lasergrade customer support and ask them when you took your previous test and while you are on the phone just book the recurrent exam.

 

How do I check if someone else is current?

You would think the FAA would have just put expiration dates on the remote pilot certificates like they do with my flight instructor certificate but no. If you search the FAA airmen registry, you’ll just see date of issue but not when currency expires.

If you are checking a person’s currency (like if you are hiring a person or if you are a police officer stopping a drone flyer) you need to ask them for:

  • Method 1: their remote pilot certificate AND initial or recurrent knowledge exam test report or
  • Method 2: their Part 61 pilot certificate (but not student pilot certificate), how they meet the flight review requirements of 61.56, AND their initial or recurrent online training course certificate.

You find the date in method 1 or 2. You add two years and then find the last day of the month. It is important to know this as there might be some scam artists out there trying to save $150 by not taking a knowledge exam and hoping people don’t check.

 

Dude are you saying I should bring along my knowledge exam with my remote pilot certificate with me when I fly?

Well, it is a good idea in case that someone you are dealing with also read my article and wondering if you really are current.

 

Now you might have noticed that you can take the initial or recurrent knowledge exams. The initial knowledge test is 60 questions over 2 hours while recurrent is 40 questions over 1.5 hours. They both require a passing score of 70% and will cost $150 to take.

 

Helpful Comparison Tables

Here is a table I created for the online video training course on Part 107 being sold over at Rupprecht Drones.

initial versus recurrent remote pilot (aka drone license) test

The percentages of questions on topics have changed also.

Let’s dive into the three areas to see what is covered.  All of Area I (Regulations) and Area II (Airspace & Requirements) are on the recurrent exam. Nothing from Area III (Weather) or Area IV (Loading & Performance) is on the exam.

Area V (Operations) is mixed.

A. Radio Communications ProceduresNOT on Test
B. Airport OperationsOn Test
C. Emergency ProceduresOn Test
D. Aeronautical Decision-MakingOn Test
E. PhysiologyNOT on Test
F. Maintenance and Inspection ProceduresOn Test

Tips For While You Are Studying

  • You will be able to take the test with the Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement for Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, and Private Pilot which is a great resource. The test center should provide you a copy. You can’t bring your own. There are two reasons why you should look over this supplement and know what is in it: (1) there are helpful legends which will be great for answering sectional map questions and (2) many questions on the test will reference some of the figures in this supplement. At the end of your studying you should skim through and ask yourself questions based upon the numbered areas on the sectional charts.
  • See a term you don’t know in the ACS? Look up the term in the index of the PHAK and/or Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) which will tell you where to find more information.
  • Hit ctrl + f and type in the word to search through the PDF rapidly.

 

 

 

TEST TAKING TIPS

  • USE THE SUPPLEMENT LEGEND! A bunch of the questions on your test will be answered right by the legend in the supplement. You CAN refer to this while in the test. Make sure the test proctor gives you the correct one that is up to date prior to going into the test. I heard of one horror story where the person had an old one so the questions didn’t match up. Make sure you have a current one!
  • Go with the “spirit of the question,” not the letter of the question. Try and figure out what the FAA is trying to test you on. When I took the test, I remember a few questions that looked like they were written by someone who was up at 2AM trying to crank out tons of questions. If you are stumped, then ask yourself, “What is the guy up at 2AM in the morning trying to test me on?”
  • Always keep in mind how the answers can answer OTHER questions. If you don’t know the answer, or eliminate the wrong ones, keep moving on. Sometimes the questions and answers further down will provide you the answers to the one you are having trouble with. When I took the test, I noticed that there were two questions that were very similar in topic. One of the questions had two really dumb answers which basically gave away the correct answer. If you knew nothing about the topic, just using common sense to eliminate the two bad answer, you could have used the correct answer to answer the first question.
  • Brain dump everything immediately onto your scrap paper when you start the test. You want to write down everything you think you will forget on the scrap piece of paper. Just dump it all out and any pictures and diagrams you have up in your head.
  • Try and answer the question BEFORE you read the answers so you don’t get tricked. The FAA likes to create answers where one is a slight “one-off” from the correct answer. By reading the answers, you can introduce doubt. For example, Federal Aviation Administration or Federal Aviation Agency? Which is it? They both seem like good answers.  Is it MSL or AGL?
  • Eliminate the wrong answers. You don’t have to always find the correct answer, just the wrong ones.
  • Read the test question AND answers carefully. I cannot over emphasize this.
  • Sleep and eat well. I would just sleep 8-10 hours. Take the test around 10AM-12PM. This way you aren’t rushed and can miss rush hour traffic as you drive there.

 

Disclaimer:  You aren’t guaranteed to pass the test based off this material.

 

 

Having Trouble Learning the Material?

I’ve been creating online training courses for the sister company Rupprecht Drones.

All the material you need to pass the remote pilot knowledge exam is in this document. Some people want to learn quicker or don’t have to read so I created online courses to meet their needs that are on Rupprecht Drones. I’m planning on creating many more online courses to help individuals quickly learn the material for the remote pilot knowledge exam so frequently check in. These courses also are great for company training and recurrent training to keep the pilots and crew proficient. The courses on Rupprecht Drones are:

Part 107 Regulations Online Training Course (test prep, waiver compliance, recurrent training, etc.)  40 videos and 35 quizzes totaling to over 100 questions for the entire course!

Night Operations Online Training Course for the Night Waiver. This is the training needed to fly under the Part 107-night waiver. It consists of 8 videos and 8 quizzes. If you pass it, you print out the certificate and keep it for your records in case the FAA audits you.

 

Reference

Title

Articles I wrote that will help you understand some of the areas you need to know for the test. (12 webpages total)
·         Part 107 (ACS) Airmen Certification Standards Explained (2 pages)

·         Part 107 Knowledge Test (41 Questions Answered & Explained) (4 pages)

·         TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) (1 page)

·         What Type of Criminal Punishment (Prison Time) or Fines can Result for a TFR Violation? (1 page)

·         8 Different TFRs – Flight Restrictions for Good Reason (1 page)

·         FAA Part 107 Waiver (COA) – What Drone Pilots Need to Know (1 page)

·         What Do I Do After I Crash My Drone? (1 page)

·         How to Fly Your Drone at Night-(Part 107 Night Waiver from 107.29)

·         More Part 107 Test Questions for Remote Pilot Knowledge Test (22 Super Hard Practice Questions)

Area I (Regulations)- Read Entirely

14 CFR Part 45 (Subpart A & C)Identification and Registration Marking
14 CFR part 47 Aircraft Registration
14 CFR part 48Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
14 CFR part 71Designation of Class A, B, C, D and E Airspace Areas; Air Traffic Service Routes; and Reporting Points
14 CFR part 73 [this should have been in there]SPECIAL USE AIRSPACE (Restricted and Prohibited Airspace).
14 CFR Part 91 Sections Referenced in Part 107.Sections:

·         91.17 Alcohol or Drugs

·         91.19 Carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances.

·         91.137 Temporary flight restrictions in the vicinity of disaster/hazard areas.

·         91.138 Temporary flight restrictions in national disaster areas in the State of Hawaii.

·         91.139 Emergency air traffic rules.

·         91.141 Flight restrictions in the proximity of the Presidential and other parties.

·         91.143 Flight limitation in the proximity of space flight operations.

·         91.144   Temporary restriction on flight operations during abnormally high barometric pressure conditions.

·         91.145 Management of aircraft operations in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations and major sporting events.

·         91.203(a)(2) Civil aircraft: Certifications required.

14 CFR 99.7§ 99.7 Special security instructions.
14 CFR Part 101 Subpart ESubpart E—Special Rule for Model Aircraft
14 CFR Part 107Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
49 CFR Part 830Notification And Reporting Of Aircraft Accidents Or Incidents And Overdue Aircraft, And Preservation Of Aircraft Wreckage, Mail, Cargo, And Records

Area II. (Airspace Classification and Operating Requirements) & Area V (Operations)

Aeronautical Chart User’s GuideAeronautical Chart User’s Guide (21 pages)

Pages 13-44

SAFO 15010 (2 Pages)Carriage of Spare Lithium Batteries in Carry-on and Checked Baggage
SAFO 10015 (1 Page and 23 minute video)Flying in the wire environment
SAFO 10017 (3 Pages)Risks in Transporting Lithium Batteries in Cargo by Aircraft
SAFO 09013 (1 Page and a 10.5 minute Video)Fighting Fires Caused By Lithium Type Batteries in Portable Electronic Devices
AC 150/5200-32 (11 Pages)Reporting Wildlife Aircraft Strikes
AC 107-2  (53 Pages)Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)
FAA-S-ACS-10 (33 Pages)Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards
FAA-G-8082-22 (87 Pages)Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide
FAA-G-8082-20 (17 Pages)Remote Pilot Knowledge Test Guide

Things you should NOT Read in Entirety but ONLY the relevant sections I list or ctrl +f the term in the document for the relevant sections. (The AC00-06, AIM, RMH, PHAK points came from the Knowledge Test Guide Pages 12-16)

AIM Aeronautical Information Manual

·         General Airspace (3-1-1 through 3-5-10  – 26 pages)

·         Authorization for Certain Airspace

·         Airport Operations (4-3-1 through 4-3-4  –  4 pages)

·         Aeronautical Charts (9-1-1 through 9-1-4 Don’t read past Caribbean VFR aeronautical charts.  – 3 pages)

·         Traffic Patterns

·         Scanning / See and Avoid  (4−4−14 & 8−1−6   –  4 pages)

·         NOTAMs (5−1−3  –  6 pages)

·         Temporary Flight Restrictions (3−5−3 Overlap)

·         MOA (3−4−5  Overlap)

FAA-H-8083-2Risk Management Handbook

·         Situational Awareness (2 pages)

FAA-H-8083-25Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

·         Aeronautical Decision Making – Crew Resource Management (Pages 2-4 through 2-32  29 Pages)

·         Military Training Routes

·         Other Airspace Areas (15-4 through 15-7 – 4 Pages)

·         Reading a Chart

·         Aeronautical Charts (14-3, 16-2 through 16-7 – 7 pages)

·         Informational Sources (1-9 through 1-12  4 pages)

·         Hazardous Attitude (Page 2-4  through 2-6    –    4 Pages)

·         Crew Resource Management  (G-8  – 1 page)

·         Situational Awareness  (2-22  1 page)

·         Effective Scanning  (17-23   1 page)

FAA-CT-8080-2HAirman Knowledge Testing Supplement for Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, and Private Pilot

·         Know how to use the two legends. Pages 1-19. This supplement will be provided to you when you take the test. If they do not, ask for it. Read Page 7 of this FAA document for proof.

·         Know all the terms in Figure 1. (Look these terms up in the PHAK)

·         Figure 2 – Know how to use.

·         Figure 12- Decode these and study them. You should know how to read these for the real world, not just memorize these so you can pass the test.

·         Figure 13 – You should read over this and know what information is important for you as a drone pilot and what is not.

·         Figure 15 – This is important to know so you can plan operations.

·         Figure 55 – Picture 3 and 7.  This is how pilots dance at parties. After the party, if you ever have a flag and you need to hide it so it doesn’t get stolen at an airport, a great place to hide it is under the tail of an airplane. See Picture 4.

·         Study Figure 20-26, 59, 69-71, 74-76, 78, 80

·         Decode 31, 52, 63, 77, 79, 81,

 

This is Part of a Part 107 Series of Articles.


Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Ultimate Guide to the Drone License So You Can Make Money

Drone License Guide Table of Contents

 

Are you interested in obtaining your “drone license” so you can make some money or fly for your job?” If so, you are in the right place.

 

This page is the ultimate guide to obtaining your drone license which has been called all sorts of things such as a remote pilot certificate, commercial drone license, drone pilot license, etc. The correct term is a remote pilot certificate, but throughout this article, I will be referring to the remote pilot certificate and drone license interchangeably. While some call it a “commercial” drone license, you do NOT need to be commercially flying to fly under Part 107. It allows all types of operations: commercial, recreational, or government.

 

This guide is based upon my knowledge as a current FAA certificated flight instructor (CFI & CFII) and aviation attorney.

 

Background on the Drone License (a.k.a. The Commercial Drone License)

Drones have been flown for years but the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”)  really didn’t start doing much till around 2005. The FAA then published the infamous 2007 policy statement which declared “that people and companies other than modelers  might be flying UAS with the mistaken understanding that they are  legally operating under the authority of [Advisory Circular] 91-57. AC 91-57 only  applies to modelers, and thus specifically excludes its use by persons  or companies for business purposes.”

 

This essentially made legal commercial drone flying financially unreasonable because you would have to comply with all the Federal Aviation Regulations…..the ones built for manned aircraft….which would be extremely expensive. The drone industry needed something better.

 

The FAA eventually gave us some hope in September of 2014 by granting a small batch of Section 333 exemptions. These exemptions at least made it some what workable to do commercial drone flying but were still plagued with the requirement to have a sport pilot license which could cost $$$ to obtain and the requirement to stay at least 500ft away from property you don’t own and people not participating in your operation. People cried out “O can’t we just have a commercial drone license as this manned aircraft license requirement is stupid!”  Something needed to change.

 

The FAA had been working on some commercial drone regulations since 2009 but didn’t make it a priority. Eventually in 2015 a notice of proposed rule making was published and on August 29, 2016, Part 107 became law.

 

Part 107 explains how to obtain a drone license, the requirements of the drone license, and how you would exercise the privileges of this license.

 

FREE Drone Pilot License PDF Study Guide!

  • 100 + pages.
  • 41 FAA practice questions with answers.
  • 24 exclusive sample questions.
  • 6 "cram" pages.

II. General FAQ’s Surrounding the “Drone License”

1.Why do you use the term “drone license” in the title of one of your blog posts when the correct term is remote pilot certificate?

I know the correct term is remote pilot certificate; however, when writing a blog post, it is important to write a title that would be understood by new individuals.  If you were new to this area, what would you type in Google?  Drone license or remote pilot certificate? A simple search on search volume shows that “drone license” is more than twice the volume of “remote pilot certificate.” I wrote the articles for first-time pilots, not existing pilots who know how to speak “aviationese.” I also wrote the article to rank high in Google so high-quality information could be found on the drone license.

 

2. Do I Need a Pilot License’s to Fly a Drone Commercially?

Yes, but it is NOT one of the expensive manned aircraft pilot licenses most people think about. You only need the Part 107 remote pilot certificate (also known as a “commercial drone license”) to operate your drone commercially. This drone license allows you to fly your drone for profit. Keep in mind that you are not limited to profit making flights. You can fly recreationally under Part 107 or as a government employee (police, fire, etc.).

 

3. Does My Business Have to Obtain a Drone License to Use Drones?

No, only individuals can obtain the drone license. However, businesses can obtain waivers or authorizations and allow their remote pilots to fly under those. There must be a remote pilot in command for each non-recreational flight and they must possess a current drone license.

 

4. Why Is It Called a Remote Pilot Certificate and Not a Drone Pilot License?

The term “pilot license” is what is used commonly to describe FAA airmen certificates. The FAA certificates aircraft, mechanics, airmen, remote pilots, etc., they don’t license.  For non-recreational drone operators, the proper term is a remote pilot certificate. These certificates are being issued with a small unmanned aircraft rating which means the pilot could only operate a drone that is under 55 pounds. I foresee the FAA adding ratings onto the remote pilot certificate for certain types of operations such as over 55-pound operations, night, beyond visual line of sight, etc.

 

5. What Happens If I Fly the Drone Commercially Without a Drone License?

You could get fined for each regulation you are violating under Part 107. The FAA has been prosecuting drone operators. The previous fine per violation was $1,100, but it has recently gone up to $1,414 per violation. You could be violating multiple regulations per flight. If you land and then take off again, that is 2x the number of fines since you are breaking the same regulations again on the second flight. Now you understand why Skypan ended up with a $1.9 million aggregate fine. They later however settled with the FAA for $200,000.

 

6. How Can I Obtain the Drone License?

You have two ways to obtain your drone license:

(1) Pass the remote pilot initial knowledge exam, submit the information onto IACRA,  pass the TSA background check, & receive your remote pilot certificate electronically; or

(2) If you are a current manned aircraft pilot, take the free online training course from the FAA, submit your application on IACRA, receive your remote pilot certificate electronically.

Each method for obtaining the drone license has different steps from the other. Keep reading below for super detailed step-by-step instructions for EACH of these methods.

 

commercial drone pilot license7. I’m Brand New. What are the Steps to Obtaining a the Drone License?

You’ll have to take the remote pilot initial knowledge exam at a knowledge testing center. Note: if you took a test on the FAA’s website and received a certificate like what is on the right, this is NOT a Part 107 initial knowledge test for new pilots. The certificate to the right is from the online training course which is only for current manned aircraft pilots transitioning over to drones. A non-manned aircraft pilot cannot use this method to obtain the drone license.

 

8. Who Can Take the Part 107 Remote Pilot Exam?

To obtain your drone license you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet one of these requirements for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment)
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS
  • Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center

 

9. What if I Have a Manned Aircraft Pilot Certificate Already?

You still have to obtain the remote pilot certificate (“drone license”). If you have a current biannual flight review and a manned pilot certificate, other than a student pilot certificate, your instructions are located here on how to obtain it.

 

 10. Is it Harder to Obtain the Drone License than a Manned Pilot License? 

Any of the manned aircraft pilot licenses require actual flight experience while the remote pilot certificate a.k.a. “drone license” does not have any requirement for the person to have any flight experience.

 

In my article on the statistics surrounding those obtaining their drone license,  those taking their remote pilot knowledge exam had a passage rate of 88.29%  and those taking the private pilot knowledge exam had a passage rate of 89.44% for 2015. Another interesting thing was that the majority of those obtaining their drone license early on were those with manned aircraft pilot licenses. They had the ability to take a free online training course and then apply on IACRA to obtain their drone license. They had to do very little studying to pass the free online training course which explains why the high rates.

 

II. New Pilot Step-by-Step Guide to Obtain the Drone License.

 

To prevent any problems with obtaining the drone license, do these steps in the exact order of how they appear in this list:

    1. Figure out how far you need to schedule the test.
      • Take an honest inventory of the hours you have PER DAY to study for the test.
      • Multiply the hours by 5. (You are most likely going have things that pop up during the week and you’ll need a day to rest.)
      • Now you have an idea of how many hours per week you can dedicate to studying.
      • The free study guide I created has a total of 538 pages to read. 538 pages x 2 minutes = 1,076 minutes of reading (17.93 hours). Keep in mind you are not a robot so you are going to have to go back over and study certain areas to retain the information. If you can set aside 5 hours a week to study, in roughly 3.5 weeks you could have completed all of the reading. I would add on 2 additional weeks for extra studying after you have completed all of the reading to go over the areas that you are having a hard time understanding.
    2. Immediately schedule a time to take the FAA Part 107 knowledge test at one of the testing sites. There are only two companies that offer the Part 107 exam: CATS and PSI/Lasergrade.
      • Figure out which test site you want to take the test at. There are currently 696 of these centers around the world. Both PSI/Laser Grade and CATS do a $10 off discount for current AOPA members. If you want to become a current AOPA student member, you can sign up here. 
      • Find out the site ID so you know who to call. LAS = PSI/ Laser Grade  ABS = CATS
      • Test option 1: CATS is registering and taking appointments for the test!
        • CATS – call and get an appointment for a date.
          • This is their main testing number. Call 1-800-947-4228 and press 3. Monday through Friday
            5:30 AM PST to 5:00 PM PST Saturday & Sunday
            7:00 AM PST to 3:30 PM PST
      • Test option 2: PSI/Lasergrade(August 13) Is also registering people for the Part 107 initial knowledge exam
        •  Call 1-800-211-2754 or  1-800-733-9267 to register for your test.
    3. Start studying for the test. I created free 100+ page Part 107 test study guide. The study guide has the material the FAA suggested you study, but I added essential material they left out. It also comes with 41 sample Part 107 exam questions that are answered and explained. Think of it as your “personal trainer” for Part 107 to get you into a lean mean testing machine. You can read the Part 107 test study guide online or you can sign up for the free drone law newsletter and be able to download the PDF to study on the go. Keep in mind the study guide was for initial test takers. Recurrent test takers should study different based upon the percentages below.drone-license-test-subject-percentages

 

  1. Now that you know what the rules are, make a business plan for operations under Part 107 once you obtain the drone license. Go back and skim over the Part 107 Summary and read about Part 107 waivers (COAs). You might want to branch out into non-107 types of operations.
  2. Once you have figured out what types of industries and operations you plan on doing, you should spend this time:
    • Building or updating your website.
    • Buying the aircraft or practicing flying your current aircraft.
    • Obtaining drone insurance for the aircraft that will perform the operations.
    • Finding an attorney for each of the particular areas of law listed below. You may not need the lawyer right away but you have time to calmly make decisions now as opposed to rapidly making decisions in the future when your business is growing. You won’t have time in the future as you do now. Put their numbers in your phone. Ideally, you should have a retainer/ billing relationship set up to get answers rapidly.
      • Business / tax – (Preferably both)
      • Aviation
      • Criminal – (in case you get arrested because of some drone ordinance you stumbled upon).
  1. Take and pass the Part 107 knowledge test.
  2. Complete FAA Form 8710-13:
    1. By filling out the paper-based version of FAA Form 8710-13 and mailing it off  OR  
    2. Online for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA).
        • Login to IACRA with your username and password. If you don’t remember them, follow the “Forgot Username or Password” link.
        • Applicant Console
          • From the Applicant Console, you can start new applications and view any existing applications. Click Start New Application
          • Select ‘Pilot’ from the Application Type drop-down list. This will now show the different types of pilot certificates IACRA has available.
          • Click on Remote Pilot. Starting a Remote Pilot Application
        • The Application Process page will open, and the Personal Information section will be open. This section will be prepopulated with the information you entered when you registered. If no changes are needed, click the green Save & Continue button at the bottom of this section.
        • The Supplementary Data section will open. Answer the English Language and Drug Conviction questions. If you would like to add comments to your application, you can do so here. Click Save & Continue.
        • The Basis of Issuance section will open.
          • Enter all the information related to your photo ID. A US passport or US driver’s license is preferred.
          • Enter the knowledge test ID in the Search box. PLEASE NOTE: It can take up to 72 hours after you take your knowledge test before it is available in IACRA. When you find the test, click the green Associate Test button. Now click Save & Continue.
        • The Review and Submit section will open.
          • Answer the Denied Certificate question.
          • Summary information info will be displayed.
          • You must view the Pilots Bill of Rights, Privacy Act and Review your application before you can continue.
        • Sign and Complete
          • You should now sign the Pilots Bill of Rights Acknowledgement form.
          • Sign and complete your application.
          • Your application is now complete and will be automatically sent to the Airman Registry.
          • After 2-4 days, your temporary certificate will be available in IACRA. You will also receive an email reminder.
          • Your permanent certificate (“drone license”) will arrive by mail.

III. New Pilot FAQ About the Drone License

1. If I pass this Part 107 remote pilot exam, can I charge for the flight?

Yes, provided you fly within the requirements of Part 107 and have your drone license.

 

2. Do model aircraft individuals have to get a 107 exam?

No, Section 107.1 says Part 107 does not apply to “Any aircraft subject to the provisions of part 101 of this chapter[.]” Part 101 is the section for model aircraft. You are going to have to meet the criteria of Part 101 or you will be forced to fly under Part 107. One area that has not been fully clarified is whether FPV racing will be allowed to fly under Part 101 since FPV racing does not fully comply with the FAA’s 2014 Model Aircraft Interpretation which said FPV could not be used to see and avoid other aircraft. The preamble to Part 107 in Pages 73-77 said they will issue a final interpretation on the 2014 interpretation sometime coming up but they did NOT address the interpretation in Part 107. Interestingly, Part 107 DOES allow for FPV provided you use a visual observer.

 

3. Part 107 isn’t for model aircraft people but just commercial people, right?

Part 107 has incorrectly been understood to be for commercial flyers.  It isn’t. It is for everyone that can fly under its operational parameters. It is just that non-model aircraft flyers can only fly in Part 107 which lead to everyone incorrectly thinking Part 101 is for recreational while Part 107 is for commercial. This caused confusion because some entities are not recreational or commercial! Non-profit environmental organizations or fire departments are two good situations where they aren’t charging for the flight and cannot fall into model aircraft operations yet they aren’t commercial. Commercial, recreational, government employees, non-profits, etc. can all fly under Part 107.

 

4. How much does the remote pilot initial knowledge exam cost?

First time pilots have to take the initial knowledge exam which is estimated at $150.[1] Current manned pilots can either take the initial knowledge exam for $150 or take an initial online training course for free. Either of those are pre-requisites to submitting an application to obtain the drone license.

 

5. When does Part 107 go into effect?

August 29, 2016.

 

6. Where can I take the 107 knowledge exam?

You take it at a knowledge exam testing center. A complete list is located here.

 

7. How can I Study for the Part 107 Knowledge Test to Get My Drone License?

I created a FREE 100+ page Part 107 test study guide which includes all the information you need to pass the exam. Let me repeat. ALL the information needed to pass the test is in this study guide. Additionally, the study guide comes with  6 “cram” summary pages, 41 sample Part 107 exam questions that are answered and explained, and 24 super hard brand-new practice questions NO ONE ELSE HAS.

 

I have been creating online paid video courses which are being sold through a separate company called Rupprecht Drones.

 

There are many paid training sources out there. But I do not know of any of them that are FAA certificated flight instructors AND also practicing aviation attorneys. Be skeptical of most of the 107 courses out there as some of them had to hire FAA certificated flight instructors to teach the material. This implicitly means they do NOT know the subject. Did the flight instructor they hire edit the material or just merely be recorded. In other words, what quality assurance do you have that the paid 107-course creators didn’t botch something up in the post-production?

 

Additionally, here is a list of Part 107 articles for you to study further:

8. How Long Does It Take to Receive My Drone License After I Submit on IACRA?

If you have a pilot certificate and took the initial knowledge exam, you have already passed a TSA security threat assessment background check when you obtained your manned aircraft pilot certificate. This means you will have your drone license faster than someone brand new going through the process.

If you are brand-new, I canNOT estimate because (1) the TSA’s backlog of pending IACRA applications seems to be growing and (2) I don’t know all the factors the FAA and TSA are looking at now.

 


9. I saw some link on the Facebook forums about a Part 107 test. I took it and received a certificate like what is on the right. Is this my drone license?

drone pilot licenseThat online test is NOT the Part 107 initial knowledge exam you need to take to obtain your drone license. That test is ONLY for the current manned aircraft pilots who wish to obtain their drone license. That online test by itself isn’t ALL they need to do to obtain the drone license. They still need to do a few additional things.  See Current Manned Aircraft Pilots Step-by-Step Instructions to Obtain the Drone License for more information.

 

10. How many different exams are there?

The current manned aircraft pilots can take either the initial online training course or the Part 107 initial knowledge exam while the first time pilots can ONLY take the initial Part 107 knowledge exam. After you receive your drone license, you’ll have to pass a recurrent exam within 24 calendar-months of passing either an initial or recurrent aeronautical knowledge test.

 


11. I read some people on Facebook telling me about the law and the drone license……

Let me stop you right there. Getting aviation law advice off Facebook forums is like getting medical help off Craigslist – it’s dumb. Yes, I know there are a few good attorneys online that do help, but there are also a ton of posers. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk or get aviation law info off Facebook. It is stupid to get advice on the internet. If the person on the internet goofs up, what happens is your drone license is on the line and potentially a fine or arrest. They have little downside while you could lose your ability to make money from your drone license.

 

On top of this, some of the people on these Facebook groups are committing the unlicensed practice of law by picking up clients for legal work but are too ignorant of their own criminal laws to know they are breaking these laws. Offering to help you be compliant with the law – while breaking the law themselves.

 

12. What happens if I fail the Part 107 initial knowledge test? Am I forever prevented from obtaining the drone license? 

The FAA’s Advisory Circular says on page 27, “Retaking the UAS knowledge test after a failure:

  • 14 CFR part 107, section 107.71 specifies that an applicant who fails the knowledge test may not retake the knowledge test for 14 calendar days from the date of the previous failure.
  • An applicant retesting after failure is required to submit the applicable AKTR indicating failure to the testing center prior to retesting.
  • No instructor endorsement or other form of written authorization is required to retest after failure.
  • The original failed AKTR must be retained by the proctor and attached to the applicable daily log.”

 

IV. The TSA Background Check for the Drone License Questions

 

1. I Made Some Mistakes in My Past. What Do the TSA and FAA Look For? What Disqualified me from Receiving a Drone License?

I don’t know all the factors. I can say the FAA really does not like alcohol and drug related crimes.  They also don’t like a breath refusal.

 

§107.57   Offenses involving alcohol or drugs.

(a) A conviction for the violation of any Federal or State statute relating to the growing, processing, manufacture, sale, disposition, possession, transportation, or importation of narcotic drugs, marijuana, or depressant or stimulant drugs or substances is grounds for:

(1) Denial of an application for a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating for a period of up to 1 year after the date of final conviction; or

(2) Suspension or revocation of a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.

(b) Committing an act prohibited by §91.17(a) or §91.19(a) of this chapter is grounds for:

(1) Denial of an application for a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating for a period of up to 1 year after the date of that act; or

(2) Suspension or revocation of a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.

§107.59   Refusal to submit to an alcohol test or to furnish test results.

A refusal to submit to a test to indicate the percentage by weight of alcohol in the blood, when requested by a law enforcement officer in accordance with §91.17(c) of this chapter, or a refusal to furnish or authorize the release of the test results requested by the Administrator in accordance with §91.17(c) or (d) of this chapter, is grounds for:

(a) Denial of an application for a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating for a period of up to 1 year after the date of that refusal; or

(b) Suspension or revocation of a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.

 

2. I’m a new pilot, does TSA pre-check or global entry count? I want to get my drone license as quick as possible.

Don’t know.

 

3. I’m a  part 61 pilot trying to obtain my remote pilot certificate, do I have to get TSA background checked?

No, you already had your check when you obtained your Part 61 certificate.

 

4. I’m a fire fighter, law enforcement officer, government agency employee, etc……can I get my 107 certificate and then go do government stuff?  

Sure. But keep in mind that sometimes it might be beneficial to get a Public COA to accomplish the mission as there are certain restrictions with Part 107. However, there are Part 107 waivers that can be obtained. Contact me as each situation is different. See my article on public COA vs Part 107. 

 

5. I did a drone certification course with some company, does that count? Is that the same as a drone license?

No, your “certification” is worth nothing. A bunch of these drone courses popped up being taught by unqualified individuals who were far more proficient at WordPress and Mailchimp than they were at teaching weather and manuals. Only the FAA can certify you.

 

6. Do you have to have a pilot’s license to fly a drone?

It depends. If you are flying recreationally according to Part 101, you do NOT need to have a pilot license. If you are flying non-recreationally (commercial, etc.), then you would need a pilot certificate.

 

 

V. Current Manned Aircraft Pilots Step-by-Step Instructions to Obtain the Drone License

You may be either a sport, recreational, private, commercial, or air transport pilot. You CANNOT be a student pilot. Additionally, the pilot must be current according to 14 C.F.R. § 61.56. This can be done multiple ways but the most popular is they have a sign off in their logbook saying they have completed their bi-annual flight review (BFR).

 

For some, getting a BFR can be much more expensive than taking the Part 107 initial knowledge exam which costs $150. You can be a non-current pilot and take the initial knowledge exam, then submit your application on IACRA. You’ll receive your temporary drone pilot license (remote pilot certificate) electronically so many days later. If this is your situation, then do the “first-time pilot” steps above.

 

Flight Plan for a Current Manned Aircraft Pilot to Obtain the Drone License:

  1. Read the 3-page Part 107 Summary.
  2. Go and read Part 107 regulations. Anytime you have a question about something, make a note and keep reading.
  3. Read the Advisory Circular to Part 107.  Notice that the advisory circular has parts that parallel the parts in Part 107 to help answer any questions you have about the regulations.
  4. Do the remote pilot certificate application process below.

Drone License Application Process:

  1. Complete the online training course “Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) ALC-451” available on the FAA FAASTeam website.
  2. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for a remote pilot certificate)
    1. Figure out if you want to do it online at IACRA or by paper (the paper form you print out is located here).
    2. Either way, you are going to need to validate applicant identity on IACRA or 8710-13.
      • Contact an FSDO, an FAA-designated pilot examiner (DPE), an airman certification representative (ACR), or an FAA-certificated flight instructor (CFI) to make an appointment to validate your identity. I would suggest doing this with the FSDO because the inspector can give you a temporary certificate at the same time! Look up your local FSDO and make an appointment. Note: FSDO’s almost always do not take walk-ins.  You can also go to a DPE but I think it is better to meet your local FSDO employees because they are the ones that will be doing the investigations in your area.
      • Present the completed FAA Form 8710-13 along with the online course completion certificate or knowledge test report (as applicable) and proof of a current flight review.
      • The completed FAA Form 8710-13 application will be signed by the applicant after the FSDO, DPE, ACR, or CFI examines the applicant’s photo identification and verifies the applicant’s identity. If you are using a CFI to help you process your application, make sure you and they read FAA article below called Tips for CFIs Processing Remote Pilot & Student Pilot Applications. 
        • The identification presented must include a photograph of the applicant, the applicant’s signature, and the applicant’s actual residential address (if different from the mailing address). This information may be presented in more than one form of identification.
        • Acceptable methods of identification include, but are not limited to U.S. drivers’ licenses, government identification cards, passports, and military identification cards (see AC 61-65 Certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors)
    3. The FAA representative will then sign the application.
  1. An appropriate FSDO representative, a FAA designated pilot examiner (DPE), or an airman certification representative (ACR) will issue the applicant a temporary airman certificate (a CFI is not authorized to issue a temporary certificate; they can process applications for applicants who do not want a temporary certificate). The CFI will submit the information on IACRA and you’ll receive your temporary electronically so many days later.
  2. A permanent remote pilot certificate (drone pilot license) will be sent via mail once all other FAA internal processing is complete.

 

If you need legal services or want to set up enterprise operations to get all your in-house pilots certified, fleet and pilot management, or crew training, contact me at to help with those needs. I work with many other certified aviation professionals to help large companies integrate drones into their operations to be profitable and legal. When looking for aviation law help, don’t hire a poser – hire an attorney who is a pilot. 

 

VI. Current Pilot FAQs Regarding the Drone License

1. How long does my temporary certificate last? 

Section 107.64(a) says, “A temporary remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating is issued for up to 120 calendar days, at which time a permanent certificate will be issued to a person whom the Administrator finds qualified under this part.”

 

2. Do I Have to Get Another Medical Exam Before I fly Under My Drone License?

No, a remote pilot certificate does NOT require a medical certificate. However, section 107.17 says, “No person may manipulate the flight controls of a small unmanned aircraft system or act as a remote pilot in command, visual observer, or direct participant in the operation of the small unmanned aircraft if he or she knows or has reason to know that he or she has a physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of the small unmanned aircraft system.”

 

3. I’m a current part 61 pilot trying to obtain my remote pilot certificate, do I have to get TSA background checked?

No, you already had your check when you obtained your Part 61 certificate. This means you’ll receive your remote pilot certificate faster than a new pilot.

 

VII. Currency (Every 24 Months You Have to Prove Your Aeronautical Knowledge) 

Section 107.65 says, a “person may not operate a small unmanned aircraft system unless that person has completed one of the following, within the previous 24 calendar months:

(a) Passed an initial aeronautical knowledge test covering the areas of knowledge specified in §107.73(a);

(b) Passed a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test covering the areas of knowledge specified in §107.73(b); or

(c) If a person holds a pilot certificate (other than a student pilot certificate) issued under part 61 of this chapter and meets the flight review requirements specified in §61.56, passed either an initial or recurrent training course covering the areas of knowledge specified in §107.74(a) or (b) in a manner acceptable to the Administrator.”

You need 1 of the following within the previous 24 calendar months to operate under Part 107; however, if you don’t meet this, you are grounded from flying under Part 107 but you still could fly recreationally under Part 101.

 

 

Does your remote pilot certificate expire?

No, you don’t lose your remote pilot certificate. It really shouldn’t be termed recertification as you are NOT getting a certificate again or have to worry about losing the certificate. You just cannot exercise the privileges of the remote pilot certificate.

Everyone typically gets confused by what I just said. I’ll give you some examples.

  • Bob passes an initial aeronautical knowledge test on September 15, 2016 and received his remote pilot certificate. This means Bob needs to do (a),(b), or (c) no later than September 30, 2018. Otherwise, he’ll have to stop flying under Part 107 until he does (a), (b), or (c).
  • Tony passed the exam with Bob on September 15, 2016.   He received his remote pilot certificate. He did not take the recurrent exam until October 10, 2018 and passed in the afternoon at 1:34PM. Tony could not fly from October 1-10 up till he passed the test around 1:33-34PM. Once he passed, he was good to go for another 24 months (October 31st, 2020 @ 11:59 PM).
  • Sam, who also passed with Bob and Tony on September 15, 2016, received his remote pilot certificate but didn’t really do much drone flying because of life circumstances. He managed to pass the recurrent knowledge exam on December 14, 2019. He is good until December 31st, 2021.

Important point.  Please note that when calculating recency, you are going off of when you did (a), (b), or (c) above, NOT when you received your remote pilot certificate or what is dated on your certificate.

 

I lost my knowledge test report. How do I figure out when my currency expires?

Well, you won’t find the answer on IACRA, your remote pilot certificate, or the FAA airmen registry.  Here are some solutions:

  • Dig into your emails to see if your have a test payment or schedule confirmation with some date attached. You might want to try this email ([email protected]) if you went with CATS.
  • Another thing to do is look into your calendar and see if you put it in there.
  • If the date is fuzzy, try to at least figure out the month you took it in. Currency runs out on the last day of that month 24 months later.
  • Maybe call CATS or Lasergrade customer support and ask them when you took your previous test and while you are on the phone just book the recurrent exam.

 

How do I check if someone else is current?

You would think the FAA would have just put expiration dates on the remote pilot certificates like they do with my flight instructor certificate but no. If you search the FAA airmen registry, you’ll just see date of issue but not when currency expires.

 

If you are checking a person’s currency (like if you are hiring a person or if you are a police officer stopping a drone flyer) you need to ask them for:

  • Method 1: their remote pilot certificate AND initial or recurrent knowledge exam test report or
  • Method 2: their Part 61 pilot certificate (but not student pilot certificate), how they meet the flight review requirements of 61.56, AND their initial or recurrent online training course certificate.

 

You find the date in method 1 or 2. You add two years and then find the last day of the month. It is important to know this as there might be some scam artists out there trying to save $150 by not taking a knowledge exam and hoping people don’t check.

 

Dude, are you saying I should bring along my knowledge exam with my remote pilot certificate with me when I fly?

Well, it is a good idea in case that someone you are dealing with also read my article and wonders if you really are current. 😊

Additionally, the FAA said this, “The FAA does not specify the method by which the certificate holder stores and displays his or her knowledge test report or course completion certificate; however, the certificate holder must provide the documents to the FAA upon request.” So a second reason to keep it with you is in case the FAA stops you.

Now you might have noticed that you can take the initial or recurrent knowledge exams. The initial knowledge test is 60 questions over 2 hours while recurrent is 40 questions over 1.5 hours. They both require a passing score of 70% and will cost $150 to take.

 

Here is a table I created for the online video training course on Part 107 Regulations being sold over at Rupprecht Drones.

initial versus recurrent remote pilot (aka drone license) test

 

The percentages of questions on topics have changed also.

drone-license-test-subject-percentages

This means if you are going for a recurrent knowledge exam, you should beef up your Part 107 regulations knowledge and your airspace knowledge as those two areas make up 60-80% of the exam.

 

Guess what, I have already created a paid Part 107 Regulations online video course over at Rupprecht Drones (separate business) that has 100+ questions and 40 videos.  And the second course I’m working on is going to cover airspace and charts. :)

 

Yes, I understand that times can be tough. Please keep in mind that hiring me or purchasing courses helps me to keep creating free material for you guys to enjoy. The big difference between the two solutions is the Part 107 Regulations course has all the key important parts of the 107 database, 100+ questions created by me, the videos can be listened to while being time efficient (dishes, exercising, etc.), and can be done quicker than reading all the 107 regulations pages in the database. Just try it out.  You can sign up for a free trial and watch some of the videos of the 107 Regulations video course.

 

Ok ok. So you still want the free stuff.

 

You have two methods:

(1) Click here to be taken to the free recurrent knowledge test study guide with everything located in it.

(2) Sign up below and check your email for the PDF study guide. :)

 

VIII. Want to Continue Learning About Part 107? Need Drone License Study Material?

You can use these articles to study for your drone license or use them to brush up on the material so you can stay proficient and safe.

IX. FAA Safety Notice: Tips for CFIs Processing Remote Pilot & Student Pilot Applications
Notice Number: NOTC7141

“While tens of thousands of applications for these certificates have been successfully processed by recommending officials during the past year, a significant number of applications have had to be returned to CFIs for needed corrections. This delayed the issuance and delivery of the certificates and sadly resulted in having some of our applicants waiting for certificates longer than they and we would have liked. Points below emphasize what you as a CFI can do to keep the certification system working efficiently.

 

Be certain the applicant uses his or her legal name. Advise applicant to use the same legal name on his or her application for any knowledge test and all subsequent certificate applications. When there is a mismatch in names between an application and a knowledge test or a mismatch between a current and previous application, the current application is rejected. The applicant may have to visit a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) in order to effect a name change.

 

IACRA allows an applicant to change his or her name in the user profile. If the applicant’s name is not his or her full legal name (limited to 50 characters), then you should tell the applicant to amend his or her name in the IACRA user profile and start a new application. It’s very important to get this right on the applicant’s first application submitted—the student pilot or remote pilot application that is submitted to the FAA Airman Registry as a legal document. The address the applicant uses must be a residential address, and not a business address. If a business address is detected, the application will also be rejected for correction by the registry.

 

Don’t forget to send all paper applications to the local FSDO for review.  About a third of the rejected remote pilot certificate applications in the past year were paper applications that were mistakenly sent directly to AFS-760 by the recommending CFI. Remember to include the FAA Course Completion Certificate for an existing pilot’s remote pilot certificate application.

 

Consider that IACRA helps to ensure a complete and correct application and instantly submits the application to AFS-760. Although the Airmen Certification Branch, AFS-760, will accept a paper application using a paper FAA Form 8710-1 (for a student pilot certificate application) or FAA paper Form 8710-13 (for a remote pilot certificate and/or rating application), the chance of a return for correction is lower when IACRA is used by the CFI and the IACRA process is much faster.

 

Note that whenever the CFI acts as a recommending official, the applicant must be in the same room as the CFI during the application process. The CFI can’t accept an application for a student or remote pilot certificate through the mail, over the phone, by fax, or even by messenger service.  This ensures that there is proper vetting of the applicant’s ID and that the applicant is the rightful bearer of the documents presented. The IACRA process gives the CFI a checklist.  As part of the process the CFI logs off and the applicant must log on to the same console to complete the application process. So, never use anyone else’s user id and password for the system for the sake of convenience since it could lead to some serious issues down the road for those involved. Always check the applicant’s identity carefully and in person.

 

It’s also a great idea to include the applicant’s email and telephone number on an application in case contact for correction is necessary. As a CFI, you can write in your own phone number in the comment section of an application as a courtesy to FAA personnel who may need to contact you about the application. Otherwise, they will have to contact you by mail using your address on file.

 

For questions or to learn more please email [email protected]

 


Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Section 107.79 Voluntary surrender of certificate. (2018)

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Section 107.79 Voluntary surrender of certificate.

(a) The holder of a certificate issued under this subpart may voluntarily surrender it for cancellation.

(b) Any request made under paragraph (a) of this section must include the following signed statement or its equivalent: “I voluntarily surrender my remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating for cancellation. This request is made for my own reasons, with full knowledge that my certificate will not be reissued to me unless I again complete the requirements specified in §§107.61 and 107.63.”

My Commentary on Section 107.79 Voluntary surrender of certificate.

This comes in handy for a defense attorney who wants to negotiate with a prosecutor for a better deal.

Advisory Circular 107-2 on Section 107.79 Voluntary surrender of certificate.

None

 

FAA’s Discussion on Section 107.79 Voluntary surrender of certificate.from the Final Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule

Section 107.79 will allow the holder of a remote pilot certificate with a small UASrating to voluntarily surrender it to the FAA for cancellation. However, the FAA emphasizes that cancelling the certificate pursuant to § 107.79 will mean that the certificate no longer exists, and the individual who surrendered the certificate will need to again go through the entire certification process if he or she subsequently changes his or her mind. For individuals who are not part 61 pilot certificate holders, this includes passing the initial aeronautical knowledge test. Accordingly, § 107.79(b) will require the individual surrendering the certificate to include the following signed statement (or an equivalent) in his or her cancellation request:

I voluntarily surrender my remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating for cancellation. This request is made for my own reasons with full knowledge that my certificate will not be reissued to me unless I again complete the requirements specified in § 107.61 and § 107.63.

The FAA did not receive any adverse comments on this provision when it was proposed in the NPRM.

Previous RegulationBack to Drone Regulations DirectoryNext Regulation


Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Section 107.77 Change of name or address. (2018)

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Section 107.77 Change of name or address.

(a) Change of name. An application to change the name on a certificate issued under this subpart must be accompanied by the applicant’s:

(1) Remote pilot certificate with small UAS rating; and

(2) A copy of the marriage license, court order, or other document verifying the name change.

(b) The documents in paragraph (a) of this section will be returned to the applicant after inspection.

(c) Change of address. The holder of a remote pilot certificate with small UAS rating issued under this subpart who has made a change in permanent mailing address may not, after 30 days from that date, exercise the privileges of the certificate unless the holder has notified the FAA of the change in address using one of the following methods:

(1) By letter to the FAA Airman Certification Branch, P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125 providing the new permanent mailing address, or if the permanent mailing address includes a post office box number, then the holder’s current residential address; or

(2) By using the FAA Web site portal at www.faa.gov providing the new permanent mailing address, or if the permanent mailing address includes a post office box number, then the holder’s current residential address.

My Commentary on Section 107.77 Change of name or address.

It’s important that you give the FAA your correct address because if they need to mail you something, like a certificate revocation, they fine you if you don’t turn over your certificate timely.

Advisory Circular 107-2 on Section 107.77 Change of name or address.

None

 

FAA’s Discussion on Section 107.77 Change of name or address from the Final Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule

This rule will extend the existing change-of-mailing-address requirement of part 61 to holders of a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating. Specifically § 107.77(c) will require a certificate holder who has made a change in permanent mailing address to notify the FAA within 30 days of making the address change. Failure to do so will prohibit the certificate holder from exercising the privileges of the airman certificate until he or she has notified the FAA of the changed address. This regulatory provision will help ensure that the FAA is able to contact airman certificate holders. The FAA did not receive any adverse comments on this provision when it was proposed in the NPRM.

Previous RegulationBack to Drone Regulations DirectoryNext Regulation


Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Section 107.74 Initial and recurrent training courses. (2018)

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Section 107.74 Initial and recurrent training courses.

(a) An initial training course covers the following areas of knowledge:

(1) Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation;

(2) Effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance;

(3) Small unmanned aircraft loading;

(4) Emergency procedures;

(5) Crew resource management;

(6) Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft; and

(7) Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures.

(b) A recurrent training course covers the following areas of knowledge:

(1) Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation;

(2) Emergency procedures;

(3) Crew resource management; and

(4) Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures.

My Commentary on Section 107.74 Initial and recurrent training courses.

Aeronautical Knowledge Tests (Initial and Recurrent). It is important to have and retain the knowledge necessary to operate a small UA in the NAS. This aeronautical knowledge can be obtained through self-study, taking an online training course, taking an in-person training course, or any combination thereof. The FAA has published the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standard (https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/acs/) that provides the necessary reference material. Note: The below information regarding initial and recurrent knowledge tests apply to persons who do not hold a current part 61 airman certificate. 6.6.1 Initial Test. As described in paragraph 6.4, a person applying for remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating must pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test given by an FAA-approved KTC. The initial knowledge test will cover the aeronautical knowledge areas listed below: 1. Applicable regulations relating to sUAS rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation; 2. Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small UA operation; 3. Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small UA performance; 4. Small UA loading and performance; 5. Emergency procedures; 6. Crew Resource Management (CRM); 7. Radio communication procedures; 8. Determining the performance of small UA; 9. Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol; 10. Aeronautical decision-making (ADM) and judgment; 11. Airport operations; and 12. Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures. 6.6.1.1 A part 61 certificate holder who has completed a flight review within the previous 24 calendar-months may complete an initial online training course instead of taking the knowledge test (see paragraph 6.7). 6/21/16 AC 107-2 6-5 6.6.1.2 Additional information on some of the knowledge areas listed above can be found in Appendix B. 6.6.2 Recurrent Test. After a person receives a remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating, that person must retain and periodically update the required aeronautical knowledge to continue to operate a small UA in the NAS. To continue exercising the privileges of a remote pilot certificate, the certificate holder must pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test within 24 calendar-months of passing either an initial or recurrent aeronautical knowledge test. A part 61 pilot certificate holder who has completed a flight review within the previous 24 calendar-months may complete a recurrent online training course instead of taking the knowledge test.

Advisory Circular 107-2 on Section 107.74 Initial and recurrent training courses.

Aeronautical Knowledge Training Course (Initial and Recurrent). This section is applicable only to persons who hold a part 61 airman certificate, other than a student pilot certificate, and have a current flight review.

6.7.1 Initial Training Course. As described in paragraph 6.4, a pilot applying for a remote pilot certificate may complete an initial training course instead of the knowledge test. The training course can be taken online at www.faasafety.gov. The initial training course will cover the aeronautical knowledge areas listed below:

1. Applicable regulations relating to sUAS rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation;
2. Effects of weather on small UA performance;
3. Small UA loading and performance;
4. Emergency procedures;
5. CRM;
6. Determining the performance of small UA; and
7. Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures.

Note: Additional information on some of the knowledge areas listed above can be found in Appendix B.

6.7.2 Recurrent Training Course. After a pilot receives a remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating, that person must retain and periodically update the required aeronautical knowledge to continue to operate a small UA in the NAS. As a renewal process, the remote pilot must complete either a recurrent training course or a recurrent knowledge test within 24 calendar-months of passing either an initial or recurrent aeronautical knowledge test. Figure 6-2, Recurrent Training Course Cycle Examples, illustrates an individual’s possible renewal cycles.

6.7.2.1 The recurrent training course areas are as follows:
1. Applicable regulations relating to sUAS rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation;
2. Emergency procedures;
3. CRM; and
4. Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures.

FAA’s Discussion on Section 107.74 Initial and recurrent training courses from the Final Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule

For the reasons discussed below, this rule will allow part 61 pilot certificate holders (other than the holders of a student pilot certificate) with current flight reviews139 to substitute an online training course for the aeronautical knowledge testing required by this rule.

Airborne Law Enforcement Association and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, suggested requiring only the recurrent knowledge test for part-61-certificated pilots. Numerous commenters also suggested that holders of part 61 airman certificates should be required to take only the recurrent knowledge test, not the initial knowledge test, or should be exempted entirely from knowledge-testing requirements. One commenter suggested that the holders of private, commercial, and ATP certificates who have operated UAS under exemptions be exempted from the initial knowledge test requirement. Another commented that non-military COA pilots should be permitted to take just the recurrent test, since the applicants will usually hold at least a private pilot certificate. One commenter stated that those applicants who hold part 61 pilot certificates should be required only to complete UAS-specific modules as part of the existing FAA Wings program. Another commenter stated that there should be a provision to enable existing small UAS pilots with a certain amount of logged PIC time to fly a small UAS without having to take a knowledge test.

The FAA agrees with commenters who suggested that requiring part-61-certificated pilots who satisfy the flight-review requirements of § 61.56 to take an initial or recurrent knowledge test is unduly burdensome. Through initial certification and subsequent flight reviews, a part-61-certificated airman is required to demonstrate knowledge of many of the topic areas tested on the UAS knowledge test. These areas include: airspace classification and operating requirements, aviation weather sources, radio communication procedures, physiological effects of drugs and alcohol, aeronautical decision-making and judgment, and airport operations. Because a part 61 pilot certificate holder is evaluated on these areas of knowledge in the course of the part 61 certification and flight review process, reevaluating these areas of knowledge on the initial and recurrent knowledge tests conducted under part 107 would be needlessly duplicative.

However, there are UAS-specific areas of knowledge (discussed in section III.F.2.j of this preamble) that a part-61-certificated pilot may not be familiar with. Accordingly, instead of requiring part-61-certificated pilots who are current on their flight reviews to take the initial and recurrent knowledge tests, this rule will provide those pilots with the option to take an online training course focusing on UAS-specific areas of knowledge. Just as there is an initial and recurrent knowledge test, there will also be an initial and recurrent training course available to part 61 pilot certificate holders. Those certificate holders will be able to substitute the initial training course for the initial knowledge test and the recurrent training course for the recurrent knowledge test. To ensure that a certificate holder’s UAS-specific knowledge does not become stale, this rule will include the requirement that a part 61 pilot certificate holder must pass either the recurrent training course or the recurrent knowledge test every 24 months.

The FAA emphasizes that the online training course option in lieu of taking the knowledge test will be available only to those part 61 pilot certificate holders who satisfy the flight review required by § 61.56. This is to ensure that the certificate holder’s knowledge of general aeronautical concepts that are not included on the training course does not become stale. Part 61 pilot certificate holders who do not meet the flight review requirements of § 61.56 will be unable to substitute the online training course for the required aeronautical knowledge test. Thus, under § 107.63(a)(2), a part 61 pilot certificate holder seeking to substitute completion of the initial training course for the initial aeronautical knowledge test will have to present his or her logbook upon application for a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating to demonstrate that he or she has satisfied this requirement. The applicant will also have to present a certificate of completion showing that he or she has completed the initial online training course.

The FAA also notes that the above discussion does not apply to holders of a part 61 student pilot certificate. A person is not required to pass an aeronautical knowledge test, pass a practical (skills) test, or otherwise demonstrate aeronautical knowledge in order to obtain a student pilot certificate. Further, student pilot certificate holders who have received an endorsement for solo flight under § 61.87(b) are only required to demonstrate limited knowledge associated with conducting a specific solo flight. For these reasons, the option to take an online training course instead of an aeronautical knowledge test will not extend to student pilot certificate holders.

j. Areas of Knowledge on the Aeronautical Knowledge Tests and Training Courses for Part  61 Pilot Certificate Holders
The NPRM proposed that the initial aeronautical knowledge test would test the following areas of knowledge: (1) regulations applicable to small UAS operations; (2) airspace classification and operating requirements, obstacle clearance requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation; (3) official sources of weather and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance; (4) small UAS 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; and (11) airport operations. The NPRM also proposed the following areas of knowledge for the recurrent knowledge test: (1) regulations applicable to small UAS operations; (2) airspace classification and operating requirements, obstacle clearance requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation; (3) official sources of weather; (4) emergency procedures; (5) crew resource management; (6) aeronautical decision-making and judgment; and (7) airport operations.

For the reasons discussed below, this rule will remove obstacle clearance requirements and add maintenance and inspection procedures as areas of knowledge that will be tested on both the initial and recurrent aeronautical knowledge tests. Further, aviation weather sources will be removed from the recurrent aeronautical knowledge tests. Except for these changes, this rule will finalize all other areas of knowledge as proposed in the NPRM.

With regard to the initial and recurrent training courses for part 61 pilot certificate holders, those courses will only cover UAS-specific areas of knowledge that are not included in the training and testing required for a part 61 pilot certificate. Thus, the initial training course will cover: (1) regulations applicable to small UAS operations; (2) small UAS loading and performance; (3) emergency procedures; (4) crew resource management; (5) determining the performance of the small unmanned aircraft; and (6) maintenance and inspection procedures. The recurrent training course will cover: (1) regulations applicable to small UAS operations; (2) emergency procedures; (3) crew resource management; and (4) maintenance and inspection procedures.

i. Regulations Applicable to Small UAS
The NPRM proposed to include an area of knowledge on both the initial and recurrent knowledge tests that determines whether the test taker knows the regulations applicable to small UAS. By testing the applicant for an airman certificate on knowledge of applicable regulations, the initial and recurrent knowledge tests would ensure that the applicant understands what those regulations require and does not violate them due to ignorance.

The FAA did not receive any adverse comments on this aspect of its proposal, and as such, this rule will include regulations applicable to small UAS as an area of knowledge that is tested on both initial and recurrent aeronautical knowledge tests. This area of knowledge will also be included on the initial and recurrent training courses that can be taken by part 61 pilot certificate holders instead of a knowledge test because regulations applicable to a small UAS are a UAS-specific area of knowledge that is not included in the training and testing required for a part 61 pilot certificate.

ii. Airspace Classifications and Operating Requirements, and Flight
Restrictions Affecting Small Unmanned Aircraft Operation The NPRM also proposed testing (on both the initial and recurrent knowledge tests) knowledge of airspace classification and operating requirements, as well as knowledge of flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation. The NPRM explained that part 107 would include airspace operating requirements, such as the requirement to obtain ATC permission prior to operating in controlled airspace, and in order to comply with those requirements, an airman would need to know how to determine the classification of the airspace in which he or she would like to operate. The NPRM also proposed to test knowledge of how to determine which areas of airspace are prohibited, restricted, or subject to a TFR.

Under the NPRM, this area of knowledge would also be included in the recurrent knowledge test because: (1) airspace that the airman is familiar with could become reclassified over time; (2) the location of existing flight restrictions could change over time; and (3) some airmen may not regularly encounter these issues in their operations. For the reasons discussed below, this rule will include knowledge of airspace classification and operating requirements and knowledge of flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation as an area of knowledge tested on both the initial and recurrent knowledge tests.

The California Agricultural Aircraft Association supported testing on how the airspace is managed, what the rules and regulations are, and how manned aircraft operate in the airspace. Aerius suggested that the knowledge test should include special use airspace, right-of-way rules, visual scanning, aeromedical factors (e.g., the limitations of the human eye), and accident reporting. On the other hand, the Electronic Frontier Foundation asserted that airspace classification is not relevant for low altitude micro UAS flights far away from airports and should not be tested for airmen seeking to operate micro UAS. The FAA declines to eliminate airspace classification as an area of knowledge tested for small UAS operations. As an initial matter, the FAA notes that this rule will not prohibit any small UAS (including micro UAS) from operating near airports. For UAS not operating near an airport, the FAA notes that controlled airspace can extend a significant distance away from an airport. For example, the surface area of Class B airspace can extend up to 8 nautical miles away from an airport. Additionally, airspace classification may change over time; uncontrolled (Class G) airspace may be changed to controlled airspace and vice versa. A remote pilot of any small UAS will need to have the ability to determine what class of airspace his or her small UAS operation will take place in to ensure that the operation complies with the airspace rules of part 107.

In response to Aerius, the FAA notes that special-use airspace will be covered under knowledge of flight restrictions, which will determine the test taker’s knowledge of regulatory restrictions on small UAS flight imposed through means such as prohibited airspace or a TFR. Right-of-way rules, visual scanning, and accident reporting will be covered by the knowledge area of regulations applicable to small UAS operations because all of these concepts are codified in the operational regulations of part 107. Aeromedical factors will not specifically be included on the knowledge test, but the FAA may publish further guidance to remote pilots on topics such as aeromedical factors and visual scanning techniques.

AUVSI recommended that the FAA require more extensive knowledge testing than what was proposed for an operator desiring to fly in Class B, C, D, or E airspace, operate small UAS for commercial purposes, or operate small UAS beyond visual line of sight with risk-based approval. The commenter did not, however, specify what should be included in this more extensive testing, and as such, the FAA is unable to evaluate AUVSI’s suggestion.

iii. Obstacle Clearance Requirements
The NPRM proposed to include obstacle clearance requirements as an area of knowledge to be tested on the initial knowledge test to ensure that an applicant for a remote pilot certificate knows how to avoid creating a collision hazard with a ground structure. One commenter suggested removing this area of knowledge from the knowledge test because, according to the commenter, there are no obstacle clearance requirements in part 107, and therefore, there should be nothing to test. The FAA agrees with this comment and has removed obstacle clearance requirements as an area of knowledge to be tested on the initial knowledge test.

The FAA notes that although the test taker will not be tested on knowledge of obstacle clearance requirements, they will be tested for knowledge of regulations applicable to small UAS, including the requirements of §§ 107.19(c) and 107.23(a), which: (1) prohibit operating a small unmanned aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another; and (2) require the remote pilot in command to ensure that the small unmanned aircraft will pose no undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property in the event of loss of control of the aircraft. A small unmanned aircraft flown in a manner that creates a collision hazard with a ground structure may violate one or both of these regulations, especially if there are people near the ground structure who may be hurt as a result of the collision.

iv. Aviation Weather Sources and Effects of Weather on Small Unmanned

Aircraft Performance The NPRM proposed to test, on the initial and recurrent knowledge test, knowledge of official sources of weather. The NPRM also proposed to test on the initial knowledge test whether the applicant understands the effects of weather and micrometeorology (weather on a localized and small scale) on a small unmanned aircraft operation. The NPRM explained that knowledge of weather is necessary for the safe operation of a small unmanned aircraft because, due to the light weight of the small unmanned aircraft, weather could have a significant impact on the flight of the aircraft.

One commenter recommended the removal of “official” from “official weather sources,” saying that operation of a UAS calls for assessment of “local” weather conditions, and, furthermore, that there are no clearly identified “official sources of weather.” Aviation Management suggested that official sources of weather be excluded from the recurrent knowledge test.

The FAA agrees with the commenter that there are no specific “official sources of weather,” and has removed that terminology from this rule. However, the FAA emphasizes that there are several sources of aviation weather useful to remote pilots. Accordingly, remote pilots will be required to be familiar with aviation weather products such as the ones provided by the National Weather Service through Flight Service Stations, Direct User Access Terminal Systems (DUATS), and/or Flight Information Services-Broadcast (FIS-B).140 While this rule does not require the use of those sources of weather for planning flights, aviation weather sources could be a valuable resource for remote pilots that choose to use them. For example, a remote pilot conducting an operation in an area with quickly changing weather may wish to access weather information from an aviation weather source for the most up-to-date weather data to ensure that the small UAS operation will comply with the minimum visibility and cloud clearance requirements of § 107.51. The FAA notes that aviation weather sources include weather data that can be used to evaluate local weather conditions.141 Because there is no requirement for remote pilots to use aviation weather products on an ongoing basis, the FAA has removed this area of knowledge from the recurrent aeronautical knowledge test.

Accordingly, this rule will include knowledge of aviation weather sources and the effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance on the initial knowledge test. Additionally, this rule will include knowledge of the effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance as an area of knowledge on the initial training course available to part 61 pilot certificate holders because this is a UAS-specific area of knowledge that is not included in the training and testing required for a part 61 pilot certificate. The training course will not include knowledge of aviation weather sources because that is not a UASspecific area of knowledge.

v. Small UAS Loading and Performance
The NPRM proposed to include weight and balance as an area of knowledge to be tested on the initial knowledge test to ensure that an applicant for a remote pilot certificate knows how to calculate the weight and balance of a small unmanned aircraft to determine impacts on performance. The NPRM noted that in order to operate safely, operators need an understanding of some fundamental aircraft performance issues, including load balancing and weight distribution as well as available power for the operation. University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture suggested that the FAA’s proposal suggests a lack of understanding by the FAA of these lightweight aircraft. The commenter added that when they place a battery or camera on their aircraft, it is immediately obvious if something is not balanced.

While the FAA agrees that in some circumstances the effect certain loads may have on the weight, balance, and performance of the aircraft may be obvious—such as adding a five pound weight to one side of a 0.5 pound small unmanned aircraft—other weight distributions and how they affect the balance of the aircraft may be more difficult to surmise. For example, it may not be intuitive for a remote pilot to determine the effect a half-pound battery will have when added to a forty-pound aircraft. Additionally, a remote pilot needs to understand the effect that the added weight will have on the aircraft’s operation over time. For example, while a small unmanned aircraft may be balanced for the first few flights after a weight is added, that weight may influence the aircraft over time
such that during later flights the aircraft is no longer balanced and no longer flying safely. For these reasons, the FAA will include a section on the initial knowledge test ensuring that a remote pilot applicant understands how to calculate the weight and balance of a small unmanned aircraft and the resulting impacts on performance. Because small unmanned aircraft loading is a UAS-specific area of knowledge, the FAA will also include it on the initial training course that part 61 pilot certificate holders can take in place of the knowledge test.

vi. Emergency Procedures
The NPRM noted that a small UAS airman may have to deal with an emergency situation during a small UAS operation. As such, the NPRM proposed to include an area of knowledge on the initial knowledge test that would determine whether the applicant knows how to properly respond to an emergency. The NPRM also proposed to include knowledge of emergency procedures on the recurrent knowledge test because emergency situations will likely be infrequent and as such, a certificate holder’s knowledge of emergency procedures may become stale over time. The FAA did not receive adverse comments on including emergency procedures on the initial knowledge test, and as such, this area of knowledge will be included on the initial knowledge test.

Turning to the recurrent knowledge test, Aviation Management recommended that the FAA remove emergency procedures as an area of knowledge covered on that test. The FAA declines to remove emergency procedures from the recurrent knowledge test. As discussed in the NPRM, emergency situations will likely arise infrequently, and as such, a remote pilot’s knowledge of emergency procedures may become stale over time. Accordingly, including this area of knowledge on the recurrent knowledge test will ensure that the remote pilot retains the knowledge of how to properly respond to an emergency. Because this area of knowledge is UAS-specific, it will also be included on the initial and recurrent training courses that can be taken by part 61 pilot certificate holders instead of an initial or recurrent knowledge test.

vii. Crew Resource Management
The NPRM proposed to include crew resource management as an area of knowledge to be tested on the initial and recurrent knowledge tests to ensure that an applicant for a remote pilot certificate knows how to function in a team environment, such as when visual observers are used to assist a remote pilot. In those circumstances, the remote pilot would be in charge of those observers and therefore need an understanding of crew resource management.

Several commenters, including the Small UAV Coalition, Princeton University, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argued that crew resource management may not be relevant for all small UAS operations and, as such, should be removed from the knowledge test. Princeton University added that crew resource management would be an irrelevant area of knowledge for student operators who will be operating the aircraft at a low altitude, for a limited distance, on university property, and under the direct supervision of a faculty member. Electronic Frontier Foundation stated that this area of knowledge is irrelevant for micro UAS operations.

One commenter suggested removal of crew resource management stating it is “overkill” and is really just referring to possible communications between the pilot and the visual observer. If kept, the commenter suggested modifying it to “Crew resource management as it may pertain to operation of a small unmanned aircraft system.” The FAA acknowledges that not all small UAS operations will utilize a visual observer or more than one manipulator of the controls of the small unmanned aircraft. However, the FAA anticipates that many remote pilots operating under part 107 will likely use a visual observer or oversee other individuals that may manipulate the controls of the small unmanned aircraft. In order to allow flexibility for certificated remote pilots to determine whether or not to use a visual observer or oversee other individuals manipulating the controls of the small unmanned aircraft, the FAA must ensure that an applicant for a remote pilot certificate is able to function in a team environment and maximize team performance. This includes situational awareness, proper allocation of tasks to individuals, avoidance of work overloads in self and in others, and effectively communicating with other members of the crew such as visual observers and individuals manipulating the controls of a small UAS.

The scenario Princeton University provided in its comment is precisely the type of scenario that would require a certificated remote pilot in command to have an understanding of crew resource management. The remote pilot in command in Princeton University’s scenario would be supervising a student who is manipulating the controls of the small unmanned aircraft. Therefore, the remote pilot in command in that scenario would need to know how to effectively communicate and guide his or her crew (the student). In response to Electronic Frontier Foundation, the FAA notes that even remote pilots operating smaller UAS may choose to use a visual observer or supervise other manipulators of the controls.

It is not necessary to change the title of this area of knowledge because crew resource management correctly captures what this area of knowledge will cover. The FAA also notes that this rule will include crew resource management as an area of knowledge on the initial and recurrent training courses available to part 61 pilot certificate holders because this is a UAS-specific area of knowledge.

viii. Determining the Performance of the Small Unmanned Aircraft
The NPRM proposed to include an area of knowledge on the initial aeronautical knowledge test to ensure that an applicant knows how to determine the performance of the small unmanned aircraft. Aviation Management suggested that this area of knowledge be excluded from the initial knowledge test because, the commenter argued, this knowledge is unnecessary for all small UAS operations.

The FAA will retain determining the performance of the small unmanned aircraft as an area of knowledge on the initial knowledge test. As discussed in section III.E.6.a.i of this preamble, the remote pilot in command will be required to conduct a preflight assessment of the area of operation and ensure that the small unmanned aircraft will pose no undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property if there is a loss of positive control. In order to be able to do that, the remote pilot in command will need to be able to assess how a small unmanned aircraft will perform in a given operating environment. This area of knowledge will determine whether an applicant for a remote pilot certificate has acquired the knowledge necessary to conduct this assessment.

This rule will also include this area of knowledge on the initial training course that can be taken by part 61 pilot certificate holders instead of an initial knowledge test because it is a UAS-specific area of knowledge.

ix. Physiological Effects Of Drugs and Alcohol
The NPRM proposed to include the physiological effects of drugs and alcohol as an area of knowledge covered by the initial knowledge test. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argued that knowledge of the effects of drugs and alcohol is irrelevant for micro UAS operations and should not be tested for pilots of a micro UAS. The FAA disagrees. As explained in the NPRM, there are many prescription and over-the-counter medications that can significantly reduce an individual’s cognitive ability to process and react to events that are happening around him or her. This can lead to impaired decision-making, which could adversely affect the safety of any small UAS operation. Accordingly, the initial aeronautical knowledge test will include an area of knowledge to determine whether the applicant understands how drugs and alcohol can impact his or her ability to safely operate a small UAS.

x. Aeronautical Decision-Making and Judgment
The NPRM proposed to include aeronautical decision-making and judgment as an area of knowledge tested on the initial and recurrent knowledge tests. Aviation Management suggested that this area of knowledge be excluded from the knowledge tests because this knowledge is unnecessary for all small UAS operations.

The FAA disagrees. As discussed in the NPRM, even though small unmanned aircraft will be limited to a relatively low altitude by the provisions of this rule, they will still share the airspace with some manned-aircraft operations. To safely share the airspace, a remote pilot in command will need to understand the aeronautical decision-making and judgment that manned aircraft pilots engage in so that he or she can anticipate how a manned aircraft will react to the small unmanned aircraft. Accordingly, this rule will retain aeronautical decision-making and judgment as an area of knowledge covered on the initial and recurrent knowledge tests.

xi. Airport Operations
Noting that some small UAS operations could be conducted near an airport, the NPRM proposed to include airport operations as an area of knowledge tested on the initial and recurrent knowledge tests.

Several commenters, including the Small UAV Coalition, Princeton University, and Predessa, argued that airport operations may not be relevant to all small UAS operations, and as such, should be removed from the knowledge tests. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argued that this area of knowledge is “clearly irrelevant” for micro UAS flights conducted far away from airports.

There are over 5,000 public use airports in the United States. As such, the FAA expects that a number of small UAS operations may take place near an airport. The FAA also expects that there could be instances where a small unmanned aircraft unexpectedly ends up flying near an airport due to adverse conditions, such as unexpectedly strong winds that carry the aircraft toward the airport. In those instances, the remote pilot in command will need to have an understanding of airport operations so that he or she knows what actions to take to ensure that the small unmanned aircraft does not interfere with airport operations or traffic patterns. Accordingly, this rule will retain airport operations as an area of knowledge tested on the initial and recurrent knowledge tests.

xii. Radio Communication Procedures
Finally, the NPRM proposed to include radio communication procedures as an area of knowledge covered on the initial aeronautical knowledge test.

Several commenters, including Princeton University, Predesa, and Aviation Management, argued that radio communications may not be relevant for all small UAS operations and as such, should be removed from the knowledge test. Predesa suggested that the FAA design a new “Class G-only unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating” that, among other things, does not include radio communication procedures as an area of knowledge that is tested on the knowledge test. One commenter recommended removal of “radio communication procedures” because there is no requirement for radio communications of any sort with small UAS operations.

As discussed earlier, the FAA expects that a number of small UAS operations will take place near an airport. That is why § 107.43 prohibits a small unmanned aircraft from interfering with airport operations or traffic patterns. Understanding radio communication procedures will assist a remote pilot in command operating near a Class G airport in complying with this requirement. Understanding radio communication procedures will assist a remote pilot in command operating near a Class G airport in complying with this requirement if that pilot chooses to use a radio to aid in his or her situational awareness of manned aircraft operating nearby. As described in section 4-1-9 of the Aeronautical Information Manual, manned-aircraft pilots may broadcast their position or intended flight activity or ground operation on the designated Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). This procedure is used primarily at airports that do not have an airport traffic control tower, or have a control tower that is not in operation. Pilots of radio-equipped aircraft use standard phraseology to announce their identification, location, altitude, and intended course of action. Self-announcing for arriving aircraft generally begins within 10 nautical miles of the airport and continues until the aircraft is clear of runways and taxiways. Aircraft on the ground intending to depart will begin to make position reports prior to entry of the runway or taxiway and continue until departing the traffic pattern. Aircraft remaining in the pattern make position reports on each leg of the traffic pattern. Thus, knowledge of radio communication procedures will provide a remote pilot in command with the ability to utilize a valuable resource, CTAF, to help determine the position of nearby manned aircraft. As such, this rule will retain this area of knowledge on the initial aeronautical knowledge test.

xiii. Other Areas of Knowledge Suggested by The Commenters
The NPRM invited comment on whether additional areas of knowledge should be tested on the initial and recurrent knowledge tests. In response, the FAA received comments listing additional areas of knowledge that commenters would like to see on the knowledge tests. For the reasons discussed below, the FAA will add a section on maintenance and inspection to the initial and recurrent knowledge tests and the online training courses. The FAA will not add any other areas of knowledge to the knowledge tests or training courses.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) suggested that the test content should include awareness of lost-link failsafe procedures, operator development, use of maintenance and inspection steps and guides, and the characteristics and proper handling of lithium batteries. The NTSB referred to an April 2006 accident involving a U.S. Customs and Border Protection unmanned aircraft and encouraged the FAA to review its recommendations and supporting information stemming from that accident for potential lessons learned when developing guidance material and specific content for the written knowledge tests outlined in proposed part 107.

The FAA notes that topics associated with lost-link failsafe procedures will be covered by the area of knowledge testing an applicant’s understanding of the applicable small UAS regulations. With regard to maintenance and inspection, the FAA has taken action by adding maintenance and inspection knowledge test topic area requirements to the initial and recurrent knowledge tests. The addition of maintenance and inspection knowledge test topics will consist of small UAS basic maintenance and inspection knowledge that is common to all small UAS regardless of complexity. An understanding of maintenance and inspection issues will ensure that remote pilots are familiar with how to identify when a small unmanned aircraft is not safe to operate, and how to maintain a small
unmanned aircraft to mitigate the possibility of aircraft failure during flight. Although this area of knowledge will not cover every possible inspection and maintenance method, it will
provide a baseline of knowledge that will be useful to all small UAS remote pilots. The FAA disagrees with NTSB’s recommendation that the knowledge test include a topic on the characteristics and proper handling of lithium batteries. Under § 107.36, small  UAS are prohibited from carriage of hazardous materials. When installed in the aircraft for use as a power source (as opposed to carriage of spares or cargo), lithium batteries are not considered hazardous material.

NOAA suggested that the knowledge test include questions relating to protecting and operating in the context of wildlife. The Ventura Audubon Society also suggested that the FAA test an applicant’s understanding of Federal and State wildlife protection laws. The FAA is required by statute to issue an airman certificate to an individual when the Administrator finds that the individual is qualified and physically able to safely perform the duties authorized by the certificate. See 49 U.S.C. 44703(a) (stating that the Administrator “shall issue” an airman certificate to an individual who is qualified and physically capable). Therefore, the FAA cannot deny or delay the issuance of an airman certificate if an applicant has demonstrated that he or she is qualified and physically able to safely perform the duties authorized by the certificate. In this case, a remote pilot certificate with small UAS rating authorizes the holder to operate a small UAS safely in the NAS. Thus, under § 44703(a), the FAA is required to issue an airman certificate to an individual who has demonstrated an ability to safely operate a small UAS, and may not require that individual to also demonstrate an understanding of Federal and State wildlife protection laws.

The FAA emphasizes, however, that a small UAS operation may be subject to other legal requirements independently of this rule. A remote pilot in command is responsible for complying with all of his or her legal obligations and should thus have a proper understanding of wildlife protection laws in order to comply with the pertinent statutes and regulations.

Drone User Group Network suggested the following topics for the knowledge test: the concepts of lift, weight, thrust and drag, Bernoulli’s principle, weight and balance, weather, situational awareness, safety in preflight, in flight and post flight, battery theory, radio frequency theory, electrical theory, understanding flight modes, fail-safes, and aircraft types and limitations

The FAA notes that weight and balance, weather, and preflight requirements will be tested under § 107.73. The FAA agrees with the commenter that technical topics such as principles of flight, aerodynamics, and electrical theory may enhance the knowledge and technical understanding of the remote pilot. However, these topics are not critical subject areas for safe operation of small UAS. The FAA includes many of these topics in the curriculum of part 61 knowledge testing because they are critical knowledge areas for persons operating an aircraft with passengers over populated areas that may need to respond to an emergency resulting from engine failure, unexpected weather, or onboard fire. Conversely, small UAS operations take place in a contained area in a light-weight aircraft that has no people onboard, so these topics are not applicable to the same extent as they are to a manned-aircraft operation. However, the remote pilot in command should familiarize him or herself with all of the necessary information to be able to fly the unmanned aircraft without causing damage to the aircraft.

Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association encouraged the FAA to require that operators be knowledgeable about Safety Management Systems (SMS) and the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), which could be used to collect data to support a risk managed growth of the industry and the integration into the NAS. The FAA disagrees that SMS and ASRS systems should be covered on the knowledge tests. Participation in a formal SMS program is currently required only for part 121 operations, which are the largest and most complex manned-aircraft operations regulated by the FAA. Requiring small UAS to participate in this program would not be justified considering the fact that the FAA does not require non-part-121 manned-aircraft operations to have an SMS. Similarly, the FAA will not require testing on ASRS knowledge because ASRS is not currently required knowledge for part 61 pilot certificate holders.

k. Administration of the Knowledge Tests and Training Courses
This section discusses how the initial and recurrent knowledge tests and online training courses will be administered under this rule. Specifically, this section addresses: (1) the location at which a knowledge test can be taken; (2) the prohibition on cheating and engaging in unauthorized conduct during a knowledge test; (3) the identification of the test taker; and (4) retesting after failing a knowledge test.

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Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Section 107.73 Initial and recurrent knowledge tests. (2018)

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Section 107.73 Initial and recurrent knowledge tests.

(a) An initial aeronautical knowledge test covers the following areas of knowledge:

(1) Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation;

(2) Airspace classification, 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;

(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; and

(12) Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures.

(b) A recurrent aeronautical knowledge test covers the following areas of knowledge:

(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) Emergency procedures;

(4) Crew resource management;

(5) Aeronautical decision-making and judgment;

(6) Airport operations; and

(7) Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures.

My Commentary on Section 107.73 Initial and recurrent knowledge tests.

Aeronautical Knowledge Tests (Initial and Recurrent). It is important to have and retain the knowledge necessary to operate a small UA in the NAS. This aeronautical knowledge can be obtained through self-study, taking an online training course, taking an in-person training course, or any combination thereof. The FAA has published the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standard (https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/acs/) that provides the necessary reference material. Note: The below information regarding initial and recurrent knowledge tests apply to persons who do not hold a current part 61 airman certificate. 6.6.1 Initial Test. As described in paragraph 6.4, a person applying for remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating must pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test given by an FAA-approved KTC. The initial knowledge test will cover the aeronautical knowledge areas listed below: 1. Applicable regulations relating to sUAS rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation; 2. Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small UA operation; 3. Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small UA performance; 4. Small UA loading and performance; 5. Emergency procedures; 6. Crew Resource Management (CRM); 7. Radio communication procedures; 8. Determining the performance of small UA; 9. Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol; 10. Aeronautical decision-making (ADM) and judgment; 11. Airport operations; and 12. Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures. 6.6.1.1 A part 61 certificate holder who has completed a flight review within the previous 24 calendar-months may complete an initial online training course instead of taking the knowledge test (see paragraph 6.7). 6/21/16 AC 107-2 6-5 6.6.1.2 Additional information on some of the knowledge areas listed above can be found in Appendix B. 6.6.2 Recurrent Test. After a person receives a remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating, that person must retain and periodically update the required aeronautical knowledge to continue to operate a small UA in the NAS. To continue exercising the privileges of a remote pilot certificate, the certificate holder must pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test within 24 calendar-months of passing either an initial or recurrent aeronautical knowledge test. A part 61 pilot certificate holder who has completed a flight review within the previous 24 calendar-months may complete a recurrent online training course instead of taking the knowledge test.

Advisory Circular 107-2 on Section 107.73 Initial and recurrent knowledge tests.

Aeronautical Knowledge Tests (Initial and Recurrent). It is important to have and retain the knowledge necessary to operate a small UA in the NAS. This aeronautical knowledge can be obtained through self-study, taking an online training course, taking an in-person training course, or any combination thereof. The FAA has published the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standard (https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/acs/) that provides the necessary reference material.

Note: The below information regarding initial and recurrent knowledge tests apply to persons who do not hold a current part 61 airman certificate.

6.6.1 Initial Test. As described in paragraph 6.4, a person applying for remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating must pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test given by an FAA-approved KTC. The initial knowledge test will cover the aeronautical knowledge areas listed below:
1. Applicable regulations relating to sUAS rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation;
2. Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small UA operation;
3. Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small UA performance;
4. Small UA loading and performance;
5. Emergency procedures;
6. Crew Resource Management (CRM);
7. Radio communication procedures;
8. Determining the performance of small UA;
9. Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol;
10. Aeronautical decision-making (ADM) and judgment;
11. Airport operations; and
12. Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures.

6.6.1.1 A part 61 certificate holder who has completed a flight review within the previous 24 calendar-months may complete an initial online training course instead of taking the knowledge test (see paragraph 6.7).

6.6.1.2 Additional information on some of the knowledge areas listed above can be found in Appendix B.

6.6.2 Recurrent Test. After a person receives a remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating, that person must retain and periodically update the required aeronautical knowledge to continue to operate a small UA in the NAS. To continue exercising the privileges of a remote pilot certificate, the certificate holder must pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test within 24 calendar-months of passing either an initial or recurrent aeronautical knowledge test. A part 61 pilot certificate holder who has completed a flight review within the previous 24 calendar-months may complete a recurrent online training course instead of taking the knowledge test.

FAA’s Discussion on Section 107.73 Initial and recurrent knowledge tests from the Final Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule

The FAA notes that weight and balance, weather, and preflight requirements will be tested under § 107.73. The FAA agrees with the commenter that technical topics such as principles of flight, aerodynamics, and electrical theory may enhance the knowledge and technical understanding of the remote pilot. However, these topics are not critical subject areas for safe operation of small UAS. The FAA includes many of these topics in the curriculum of part 61 knowledge testing because they are critical knowledge areas for persons operating an aircraft with passengers over populated areas that may need to respond to an emergency resulting from engine failure, unexpected weather, or onboard fire. Conversely, small UAS operations take place in a contained area in a light-weight aircraft that has no people onboard, so these topics are not applicable to the same extent as they are to a manned-aircraft operation. However, the remote pilot in command should familiarize him or herself with all of the necessary information to be able to fly the unmanned aircraft without causing damage to the aircraft.

………………..

The NPRM proposed requiring applicants for a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating to pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test to demonstrate that they have sufficient aeronautical knowledge to safely operate a small UAS. The FAA adopts the provisions as proposed with three changes. First, as discussed in III.F.2.i below, the FAA exempts part 61 pilot certificate holders from the requirement to complete an initial knowledge test as long as they satisfy the flight review requirements of their part 61 pilot certificate and complete an online training course within the preceding 24 months. Second, as discussed in III.F.2.h below, the FAA will require that pilots with military experience operating unmanned aircraft pass an initial knowledge test in order to obtain a remote pilot certificate with small UAS rating, and pass a recurrent knowledge test every 24 months subsequent in order to continue to exercise the privileges of that certificate.

Many commenters, including National Association of State Aviation Officials, NAAA, ALPA, and NAMIC, supported the FAA’s proposal to require an initial aeronautical knowledge test in order to operate a small UAS. Conversely, several commenters opposed the initial aeronautical knowledge test. Commenters argued that initial testing is “overkill” and the FAA should treat small UAS pilots like part 103 ultralight vehicle pilots and not require airman certification or testing. The commenters further argued that all testing is unnecessary and inappropriate.

The FAA disagrees with the commenters who asked that the knowledge test be abolished. Title 49 U.S.C. 44703 requires the FAA to ensure that an airman certificate applicant is qualified and able to perform the duties related to the position to be authorized by the certificate.

Here, in order to meet its statutory obligation to determine that an applicant for a remote pilot certificate possesses the knowledge necessary to safely operate in the NAS, the FAA is requiring that those persons pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test. Knowledge testing is the most flexible and efficient means for ensuring that a remote pilot possesses the requisite knowledge to operate in the NAS because it allows the applicant to acquire the pertinent knowledge in whatever manner works best for him or her. The applicant can then take and pass the aeronautical knowledge test to verify that he or she has indeed acquired the pertinent areas of knowledge.

NAFI recommended that an applicant should be required to obtain an instructor endorsement to take the initial aeronautical knowledge test. SkyView Strategies suggested that to protect the public from a poorly prepared UAS operator who receives a passing grade but gets important questions wrong, the UAS operator should be required to present to a flight training instructor his or her written test results, noting areas where knowledge is lacking.

The FAA disagrees with the recommendation that an applicant should be required to obtain an instructor endorsement to take the initial aeronautical knowledge test. While an instructor endorsement is generally required for part 61 pilot certificates, the significantly reduced risk associated with small UAS operations conducted under part 107 would make this framework unduly burdensome in this case. Instead, a stand-alone knowledge test is sufficient to verify the qualification of the remote pilot certificate applicant.

Because the aeronautical knowledge test will determine whether an applicant possesses the knowledge needed to safely operate a small UAS, a separate flight instructor endorsement should not be required to take the knowledge test. The FAA also notes that the costs associated with failing and having to retake the knowledge test will provide an incentive to applicants to pick a method of study that maximizes the chance of them passing the aeronautical knowledge test on the first try.

The FAA also does not agree that a certificate applicant should be required to present to a flight instructor his or her knowledge test results for remedial training. The FAA maintains that if a candidate is “poorly prepared,” then that person is unlikely to pass the knowledge test.

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture suggested that a more appropriate “aeronautical knowledge exam” needs to be developed with input from UAS users. It further suggested that the FAA should periodically revisit the scope of the aeronautical knowledge test as operational experience data increases. FAA knowledge test banks are continuously updated to address changes to the industry, safety, and special emphasis areas. While the FAA responds to industry and user community feedback, the small UAS knowledge test bank is developed internally within the agency to protect the integrity of test.

g. General Requirement for Recurrent Aeronautical Knowledge Test
The FAA proposed that a certificated remote pilot must also pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months. Like the flight review requirement specified in § 61.56, the recurrent knowledge test provides the opportunity for a remote pilot’s aeronautical knowledge to be reevaluated on a periodic basis. The FAA adopts this provision as proposed, with one change. As discussed in III.F.2.i, the FAA exempts part 61 pilot certificate holders from the requirement to complete recurrent knowledge tests as long as they satisfy the flight review requirements of § 61.56 and complete an online training course every 24 months .

ALPA, AOPA, AUVSI and several other commenters supported the requirement for a recurrent knowledge test. Conversely, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and a few individual commenters argued that a recurrent knowledge test is unnecessary. The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association explained that small UAS operations present a substantially reduced risk as compared to manned-aircraft operations. Therefore, the commenter argued, it is appropriate to impose different, and in some instances lesser, operational requirements.

The FAA disagrees with the notion that no periodic reevaluation of knowledge is necessary. Knowledge of rules, regulations, and operating principles erodes over time, particularly if the remote pilot is not required to recall such information on a frequent basis. This is a fundamental principle of airman certification, and it applies to all FAA- certificated airmen. For part 61 pilot certificate holders, the flight review, conducted under § 61.56, specifically requires “[a] review of the current general operating and flight rules of part 91” in addition to maneuvers necessary to safely exercise the privileges of the certificate. Likewise, the FAA considers a recurrent knowledge test to be an effective means of evaluating a remote pilot’s retention of knowledge necessary to safely operate small unmanned aircraft in the NAS. Because of the reduced risk posed by small UAS, the FAA is not requiring remote pilots to demonstrate a minimum level of flight proficiency to a specific standard or recency of flight experience in order to exercise the privileges of their airman certificate.

Drone Labs suggested extending the time period between recurrent tests to 5 years, and/or making the test available online to ease recertification. Kansas Farm Bureau recommended a 6-year interval between recurrent tests, similar to the interval for renewal of a driver’s license.

The FAA does not agree that the recurrent testing interval should be longer than two years. Unlike the privileges afforded by a driver’s license, which are exercised on a frequent basis by most drivers, many holders of remote pilot certificates may only exercise their privileges occasionally or may not regularly conduct operations that apply all of the concepts tested on the aeronautical knowledge test. For example, a remote pilot in command may spend years never operating outside of Class G airspace, and then may move to a different location that requires him or her to begin conducting small UAS operations in Class D airspace. Based on experience with manned pilots, those persons who exercise the privileges of their certificate on an infrequent basis are likely to retain the knowledge for a shorter period of time than those who exercise the privileges of their certificate on a regular basis.

Further, as unmanned aircraft operations increase in the NAS, the FAA anticipates the possibility of further changes to rules and regulations. By requiring evaluation on a two-year cycle, the FAA is able to ensure that remote pilots are aware of the most recent changes to regulations affecting their operations.

The FAA acknowledges, however, the burden associated with in-person testing every two years. As such, the FAA intends to look at (in the Operations of Small Unmanned Aircraft Over People rule) alternative methods to further reduce this burden without sacrificing the safety benefits afforded by a two-year recurrent knowledge check.

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Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Section 107.71 Retesting after failure. (2018)

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Section 107.71 Retesting after failure.


An applicant for a knowledge test who fails that test may not reapply for the test for 14 calendar days after failing the test.

My Commentary on Section 107.71 Retesting after failure.

So on top of this regulation forcing you to wait 14 days, you have to pay another $150 to take the test again.

Advisory Circular 107-2 on Section 107.71 Retesting after failure.

None

FAA’s Discussion on Section 107.71 Retesting after failure from the Final Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule

The NPRM noted that some applicants may fail the initial aeronautical knowledge test the first time that they take it. To ensure that those applicants take the time to do additional studying and/or training (rather than simply take the test over and over again), the NPRM proposed to require that a person who fails the aeronautical knowledge test must wait 14 calendar days before retaking it. For the reasons discussed below, this rule will finalize this provision as proposed in the NPRM. 14 CFR 107.71.

One commenter suggested that an applicant who fails the knowledge test should be required to receive additional training in the area(s) of deficiency and receive an endorsement from a flight instructor in order to retake the test. The commenter rationalized that this would be consistent with current policy for pilot applicants with regards to failure and retesting, and will enhance safety by ensuring some level of oversight in the training process.

A person who fails the aeronautical knowledge test will receive a knowledge test report pointing out the areas of knowledge on which he or she did not test well. That person will then have 14 days to conduct additional study or training in those areas of knowledge prior to retaking the knowledge test. Specifying a prescriptive method of study is not necessary in this rule. Instead, the applicant will be incentivized to select the method of study that works best for him or her.

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Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.

Section 107.69 Knowledge tests: Cheating or other unauthorized conduct.

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Section 107.69 Knowledge tests: Cheating or other unauthorized conduct.

(a) An applicant for a knowledge test may not:

(1) Copy or intentionally remove any knowledge test;

(2) Give to another applicant or receive from another applicant any part or copy of a knowledge test;

(3) Give or receive assistance on a knowledge test during the period that test is being given;

(4) Take any part of a knowledge test on behalf of another person;

(5) Be represented by, or represent, another person for a knowledge test;

(6) Use any material or aid during the period that the test is being given, unless specifically authorized to do so by the Administrator; and

(7) Intentionally cause, assist, or participate in any act prohibited by this paragraph.

(b) An applicant who the Administrator finds has committed an act prohibited by paragraph (a) of this section is prohibited, for 1 year after the date of committing that act, from:

(1) Applying for any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this chapter; and

(2) Applying for and taking any test under this chapter.

(c) Any certificate or rating held by an applicant may be suspended or revoked if the Administrator finds that person has committed an act prohibited by paragraph (a) of this section.

My Commentary on Section 107.69 Knowledge tests: Cheating or other unauthorized conduct.

Seriously, don’t mess around with cheating. This is really bad because it spills over onto all certificates, ratings, or authorizations issued under the chapter. This means manned, and unmanned, certificates, Airspace authorizations, etc. On top of that, if you are manned aircraft pilot, you could have your certificate revoked.

Advisory Circular 107-2 on Section 107.69 Knowledge tests: Cheating or other unauthorized conduct.

None

FAA’s Discussion on Section 107.69 Knowledge tests: Cheating or other unauthorized conduct from the Final Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule

To ensure that the aeronautical knowledge test is properly administered, the NPRM proposed to prohibit an applicant from cheating or engaging in other unauthorized conduct during the knowledge test. This would include: (1) copying or intentionally removing a knowledge test; (2) giving a copy of a knowledge test to another applicant or receiving a copy of the knowledge test from another applicant; (3) giving or receiving unauthorized assistance while the knowledge test is being administered; (4) taking any part of a knowledge test on behalf of another person; (5) being represented by or representing another person for a knowledge test; and (6) using any material not specifically authorized by the FAA while taking a knowledge test. Cheating or engaging in unauthorized conduct during a knowledge test would be grounds for suspending or revoking the certificate or denying an application for a certificate. In addition, a person who engages in unauthorized conduct would be prohibited from applying for a certificate or taking a knowledge test for a period of one year after the date of the unauthorized conduct.

The FAA did not receive any adverse comments on this component of the proposed rule. Accordingly, this rule will finalize the cheating or engaging-in-unauthorized-conduct provisions of the NPRM as proposed. 14 CFR 107.69

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