In this guide, we’ll describe how to obtain a droe operator’s license within the United States. By completing the FAA’s drone certification process, you can start a career as an experienced drone operator and enter a fascinating (and lucrative) business. You must first get a Part 107 Certificate from the FAA for labor or business purposes. Therefore, that is what we will cover on this page.
We’ll just be concentrating on the regulations for aerial drones in the United States, but keep in mind that every country governs its airspace differently.
Drone License: Recreational Vs Commercial Use
The Part 107 laws distinguish between two situations in which a UAV license is necessary:
- You must have a license when using a drone for labor, company, or commercial purposes.
- You do not require a license if you only use your drone for recreational purposes, such as for enjoyment or as a pastime.
Despite these specified use cases, there’s still frequently misunderstanding about when a drone license is necessary. It is significant to note that while commercial pilots are still permitted to fly for leisure, recreational pilots are not permitted to fly commercial drones.
Recreational / Hobbyist Rules — Flying For Fun
If you’re a recreational operator, the laws related to your operation are listed below under the FAA’s model aircraft regulations.
- The FAA requires that you pass the Recreation UAS Safety Test (TRUST).
- You may only fly for fun or as a pastime (no side jobs or in-kind work allowed).
- You must use the FAADroneZone website to register a UAV with the FAA.
- You have to fly in your line of sight.
- You must fly by the policies of a national community-based organization (CBO), such as the AMA, and adhere to community-based safety regulations.
- A drone must weigh less than 55 pounds to be flown unless you have a certificate from a local nonprofit.
- Never fly close to other planes.
- Flying in Class G air is required. You must submit an airspace authorization request if you need to fly in Class B, C, D, or E-controlled airspace. To learn more about the LAANC authorization procedure, see a LAANC authorization guide from dronepilotgroundschool.com.
- Never fly in the vicinity of an emergency response operation.
For more information about all recreational regulations, see this page from the FAA.
Part 107 — For Commercial Use
The rules that relate to your operation, if you are a commercial operator, are outlined in the FAA’s Part 107 Medium Unmanned Aircraft Regulation, which is available below.
- To fly commercially, you need a Remote Pilot Certification from the FAA.
- You must use the FAADroneZone website to register your UAV with FAA.
- Your UAV’s takeoff weight must be less than 55 pounds, including payload.
- Flying in Class G airspace is required.*
- You must employ anti-collision lights when flying during civil twilight or evening hours.
- Maintain visual line-of-sight
- Fly at or below 400 feet
- Fly at or below 100 mph
- Piloted aircraft have the right of way. Thus you must surrender.
- A moving vehicle cannot be flown from unless it is in a thinly populated region.
*The restrictions listed above can be waived if you apply for and are granted a Part 107 exemption from the FAA, except for the weight minimum and the restriction to fly in Class G airspace.
Part 61 Certificate — The Exception To The Rule
There is no requirement for a training program or the Part 107 exam if you currently hold a manned aircraft pilot license.
Pilots of manned aircraft must pass the “Part 107 tiny Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) ALC-451” online training course, which is available on the FAA FAASTeam website. You may get more details about the processes and procedures here.
Your local FSDO, an FAA-designated pilot examiner (DPE), an airman certification spokesperson (ACR), or an FAA-certified flight instructor (CFI) must sign your FAA Form 8710-13 (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for a pilot training certificate) in person after you complete the course.
How To Get An FAA Drone License
Let’s return to the main reason you came here.
You must do the following actions to obtain a drone delivery license from the FAA:
- Age of sixteen or older.
- Be successful on the aeronautical knowledge test. Every FAA-approved knowledge testing facility is where you can sign up to take the test.
- Apply for a Remote Pilots Certificate and get one. Online paperwork takes 10–15 minutes to complete.
- Administration (this vetting happens automatically during your application process).
After receiving your drone licence, you must also:
- Keep your drone registered every 36 months, and carry your registration card whenever you fly.
- Every 24 months, you must pass a periodic aeronautical knowledge test to keep your license active.
- Make the small UAS, along with any supporting records or papers required to be preserved following the proposed rule, available to the FAA for inspection or testing upon request.
- Report any accidents to the FAA within ten days of any operation resulting in property damage or injury exceeding $500.
- Conduct a preflight examination before each flight to ensure the small UAS is safe to operate, paying particular attention to the aircraft & control station equipment.
How Much Does It Cost To Get An FAA Drone License?
An FAA-approved testing facility must be visited to take the Part 107 exam. The testing charge is a set of $175, which must be paid in full to the testing facility where you make your appointment.
Commercial drone pilot start-up expenses are relatively modest. Your drone must be registered, which costs $5 per three years and the exam fee. Commercial drone operators must register to operate. Create an account on the FAADroneZone website, then choose “Fly sUAS under Part 107” to register your drone.
Here are some additional charges to consider if you want to launch a business.
- A Limited Liability Company (LLC) can be formed for an average cost of $150 to $200.
- Drone Insurance: Businesses that provide on-demand insurance, like SkyWatch, are a popular option to insure your drone activities.
How Long Does It Take To Get An FAA Drone License?
Fortunately for drone pilots, certification is not as demanding and time-consuming as getting a pilot’s license for manned aircraft. Your first priority is how much time you’ll spend studying and getting ready for the Aircraft Knowledge Test.
You have many options when it comes to Part 107 exam preparation. You may purchase practice questions through $5 apps, $20 textbooks from Amazon, and online classes like Drone Pilot Ground School.
Additionally, the FAA offers free study material on its website and several excellent YouTube videos that people use to pass the test.
Although we may be partial because we created Drone Pilot Ground School, we firmly feel that we provide the best fitness product (and corporate support) in the drone market. Yes, we are biased because we made it.
15 to 20 hours were reportedly spent studying by our students. Although you are not required to take a preparatory study course, our students’ over 99 per cent pass record speaks volumes about the importance of studying before your test.
The FAA estimates that it will take six to eight weeks to mail you a permanent remote pilot certificate once you have passed the aeronautical knowledge test.
A temporary pilot training certificate is provided in around ten business days to expedite the process. The temporary Remote Pilot Certificate permits the holder to use all of the certificate’s benefits.
Are you still unsure of where to go?
Start with a place like Drone Pilot Ground School – view their video here:
The course consists of 70 lessons covering a range of subjects, such as:
- Flight Operations for Drones
- Small UAS Performance
- Loading in the National Airspace Network (NAS)
- Drone Regulations & Laws
- Climate and Micrometeorology
What Do People Use Their Drone License For?
A drone is a strong and useful tool for many different sectors. Real estate is the most obvious use for a certified drone operator, with a steady demand for aerial video and still photography of real estate properties. However, an increasing number of sectors worldwide are using drones.
Just a few of them are as follows:
- Public safety
- Construction Filmmaking
Are you looking for other industries where you may job as a drone pilot? Our Drone Jobs Guide highlights over ten industries where drone usage is rising.
How Much Money Can I Make With An FAA Drone License?
Because the drone industry is also still relatively new, it can be difficult to accurately determine compensation for the entire sector.
However, we went into great detail on this topic in our piece about the pay for drone pilots; we’ll just review the main points here. Salaried full-time positions are in high demand. Salary ranges from $33K to $79K annually, depending on the job and organization.
Using drone pilot directories like Droners.io or Dronebase, you can find freelance and client-based employment as another option to earn money with a drone. The typical range for residential construction projects is $200 to $300. However, this can also change based on how you decide to charge for your drone services.
Profits will depend on the costs of operating your business and the services you provide if you intend to start your own drone-related business, such as an inspection and aerial services company.
You’re Ready To Get Your Part 107 Drone License
You are certainly quite committed to becoming a Parts 107 Remote Pilot if you have read this far! So what are the following actions?
You are not penalized if you study individually. Still, as a beginner in aviation, we advise choosing a training program and support system so you can comprehend the material rather than just memorize it for the test.
Beyond passing the test, a certified drone pilot has additional responsibilities. It will be possible for you to operate safely, legally, and competently if you truly comprehend the material.