Most people will attempt to get their remote pilot certificate via the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (“IACRA”); however, that is NOT the only way. FAA form 8710-13 is the paper form you fill out instead of using IACRA when you are either (1) a current Part 61 certificated pilot who wants to pick up a temporary remote pilot certificate quickly or (2) you are a first time pilot and don’t want to do IACRA.
Why Is FAA Form 8710-13 Valuable?
It allows already existing, and current, Part 61 pilots to obtain their remote pilot certificate the same day as they apply for it at the local FSDO. This is very valuable if you have a job that needs to be done ASAP. It will NOT allow new first-time pilots to obtain their remote pilot certificate that day. New pilots will have to pass a TSA background check.
This route is for current pilots meaning they have a biannual flight review in their logbook and took the online training exam (different than the initial knowledge exam). Non-current pilots will have to take the online training exam and get current with a BFR or have to pass an initial knowledge exam.
It is still unclear whether non-current Part 61 pilots who have passed the initial knowledge exam are also eligible to pick up their temporary remote pilot certificate in person using the 8710-13 in person at the FSDO instead of getting their biannual flight review. The FAA has said the non-current pilots with the initial knowledge exams can do the IACRA route, but I don’t know how long the turn around times on that will be.
Why Would A Non-Current Pilot Want To Do The Initial Knowledge Exam?
Yes, the Part 61 pilots have the option of doing the free online training course BUT they also need to be current. An initial knowledge exam costs $150. If doing your BFR will cost more than $150, it might be more beneficial to only do the initial knowledge exam route. For example, take a Cessna 152 running at $95/hr wet and an instructor at $40. For most people, they will need a minimum of 1 hour of ground and 1 hour of air time with that instructor. The cheapest it will be for most people is 2 hours of instructor at ($40) + ($95)= $175.
Why Don’t The Part 61 Pilots Have To Do A TSA Background Check?
“The FAA notes that after initial vetting, TSA conducts recurrent or daily vetting to ensure that certificate holders do not subsequently become a security threat. All FAA certificate holders are subject to this recurrent vetting, which serves to identify any certificate holder that may later become a security threat.”
How Can A Current Part 61 Pilot Get His Remote Pilot Certificate?
- Complete the online training course “Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) ALC-451” available on the FAA FAASTeam website.
- Complete FAA Form 8710-13 (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for a remote pilot certificate)
- Online at IACRA or print out a paper copy.
- Validate applicant identity on IACRA.
- Contact a FSDO, a FAA-designated pilot examiner (DPE), an airman certification representative (ACR), or a 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 where your local FSDO is located and make an appointment. Note: FSDOs 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.
- 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)
- The FAA representative will then sign the application.
- 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).
- A permanent remote pilot certificate will be sent via mail once all other FAA internal processing is complete.
- Start thinking about what types of waivers from Part 107 you will need so you can remain competitive and profitable since you are now up and running. Do you need a night waiver, certain types of airspace waivers, etc.?
This article is part of an overall Part 107 series of articles. Make sure you check the other articles out!
- Free Part 107 Test Study Guide
- FAA’s New Part 107 Drone Regulations- What Drone Operators Need to Know
- How to Get Your FAA Drone Pilot License (For First-Time and Current Pilots)
- Part 107 Waiver (COA) – What Drone Pilots Need to Know
- Part 107 Airmen Certification Standards Explained
- Part 107 Knowledge Test (65 Questions Answered & Explained)
- More Part 107 Test Questions for Remote Pilot Knowledge Test
- How to Fly Your Drone at Night-(Part 107 Night Waiver from 107.29)