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Part 107 FAA Drone Commercial Licence

ULTIMATE Guide for 2021
part-107-faa-commercial-license-guide

So you’re looking to make money off your drone in the US and found out you need a drone commercial license for that.

To start your drone business, you’ll need to pass the Part 107 FAA test, get the license, and then register your drone (or drones).

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about this entire process and how you can get a guaranteed passing for the test!

When do I need a commercial drone license?

If you’re looking to fly a drone for hire or as a part of your job, or really for any non-recreational activity then you must get a remote pilot certificate from the FAA(Federal Aviation Administration) under the part 107 regulations.

So basically if you’re making money with your drone inside the US, you’re going to need it.

Are there more than one type of drone license in the US?

No, there is only one type of drone license you can get in the States(unlike Europe) and there aren’t different classes of drones (like with car driving licenses).

What’s the part 107 Test & How long does it take?

The part 107 FAA test is a test intended to give you the final certification for commercial flight with any drone under 55 lbs.

The test comprises 60 multiple-choice questions and you need to score at least 70% to successfully pass.

From the moment you begin studying for the test to receiving your FAA remote pilot certification it usually takes between 4 and 6 weeks.

What is the drone commercial license cost in the US?

There is a test center fee of $160 for taking the test to the commercial drone licence.However some test centers are owned by PSI (test provider) and charge $109. The test is scheduled and paid for online and there are about 800 test center locations in the US.

Do you need a license for recreational use?

No, you don’t need a license for recreational use, but if your drone exceeds 250 grams (0.55 lbs) then you need to pay $5 and register it online.

How to get the FAA Drone commercial license

steps-to-get-the-drone-commercial-license

 In this section we’ll go more in depth with all the steps you need to take to get your Part 107 FAA drone license. It’s not an easy test, but It’s quite simple if you know where to learn from.

Step 1 - Take an online study course

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Study with a complete online course made specifically for passing this FAA part 107 test, because just learning from the internet isn’t going to cut it.

The test itself is quite difficult and requires a lot of specific knowledge.

Step 2 - Pass the Exam

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Next, you need to take the actual FAA exam and pass it. 

You get 2 hours to answer the 60-question, multiple-choice test and you’ll find out if pass or fail right on the spot.

Step 3 - Get your license

remote-pilot-certificate

After passing your test, complete a 15 minute application online and you’ll get your temporary certificate in 4-6 business days and you’re able to fly commercially after that!

Do I have to take the FAA exam in person or online?

You can only take the FAA part 107 test in person by going to a local test center in your area.You can schedule an appointment with a FAA-approved Knowledge Testing center here.

However, while the initial test must be taken in person, and as mentioned previously, there is recurring training once every 2 years, but that training is online

How hard is the drone license test?

The FAA Part 107 test is quite difficult and in no way you should just base your luck on general knowledge to successfully pass it.

Do you need to take a recurring Drone License test?

Until 2021 you had to take a recurring test in person once every 2 years, but now you don’t have to take it anymore, instead just need to follow an online recurrent training and just keep proof that you took that training with you when you’re flying.

STEP 1 - Find the best Part 107 online training course

online-course-part

The Part 107 FAA test is quite complex and it requires you to learn over 120 concepts, with more being added along the way.

The Part 107 FAA test is quite complex and it requires you to learn over 120 concepts, with more being added along the way.

The best way to make sure you have high chance of passing it is by following an online course that is frequently updated and has a high pass rate.

My Part 107 course recommendation

My main recommendation is the Drone Launch Academy Drone License course.

If you follow that link, you’ll get a $59 discount and pay considerably less than pretty much everything I could find online.

However, don’t get it wrong, this is a very complete exam prep course with everything you need to learn to pass the Part 107 test with flying colors.

However, don’t get it wrong, this is a very complete exam prep course with everything you need to learn to pass the Part 107 test with flying colors.

Here are a few advantages that it has:

  • 99.54% pass rate
  • Money-Back if you fail
  • Testing Center Fees Reimbursement (if you fail)
  • Video courses
  • Practice tests after each learning session
  • 75 page ebook

Getting a course like this that guarantees to reimburse your money from the testing center means that you don’t risk failing the exam and pay the $160 (approx) for the testing fee again and again, which is pretty great.

STEP 2 - Taking the Part 107 test

in-person-part-107-test

In the course you’ll be guided step by step, but just in case, I’ll give you all the information you might need in this article.

After you finish the learning course, you can register for the exam and schedule an appointment with a Testing Center near you. You can find more information on the faa site.

What’s on the FAA drone exam?

Let’s have a quick look at what the commercial license exam comprises.

The test is structured in the following way:

  1. It has 60 multiple-choice questions
  2. 2 hours to complete the test
  3. 70% or higher to pass

What do you need to learn to pass the test?

You need to learn the US Airman Certification Standards which has over 120 different concepts to learn.

Here’s a list of the sections that you’ll need to cover when learning for the FAA part 107 test:

  • Drone Laws & FAA REgulations
  • Airspace classification and operating requirements (NAS)
  • Reading Sectional Charts
  • Airport Operations
  • Weather & Micrometeorology
  • Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
  • Emergency procedures
  • Crew Resource Management
  • Radio Communication Procedures
  • Physiological Effects of Drugs & Alcohol
  • Night time operations (added in 2021)

All these bullet points have additional subsections with intricate details that you must know to pass the test.

STEP 3 - Get the remote pilot certificate

get-the-remote-pilot-permanent-certificate

Let's see how you can actually get the necessary documents after completing the test successfully and when can you start flying as a commercial drone pilot.

1. Complete the FAA Form

After you successfully passed the part 107 test you’ll need to complete the FAA FORM 8710-13 to get your certificate.

a.Log in with your username and password (same as when you registered for the course)

b.Click “start new application” and choose the following:

  • Application Type - Pilot
  • Certiciations - Remote Pilot
  • Other Path Information
  • Start Application

c.Enter the 17-digit Exam ID (you might get it up to 48 hours after passing the test)

d.Sign the application electronically and submit

2. Confirmation email

You’ll get a confirmation email with instructions for printing a temporary remote pilot certificate.

At this point you have full clearance to fly with your drone commercially (if you already registered the drone too).

3.Permanent certificate

After FAA processes it, you’ll get a permanent remote pilot certificate via mail, so make sure you send them your actual correct physical address.

From this point on you can take your permanent pilot certificate with you when flying and you'll be all good.

4. Retake a course once every 2 years

Once every 2 years you NEED to complete the Free online training course from FAA. Until 2021 it was the case that you actually need to show up in person at some testing center and take the test AGAIN, but fortunately things have changed and now you can simply take a free online course with no tests at the end.

Do I need to know how to fly a drone to take the FAA Drone licence test?

Weirdly enough, the FAA doesn’t require that you demonstrate your ability to fly a drone to get your drone license. However, even with the advanced GPS systems and obstacle avoidance sensors in today's drones, you definitely should learn the basics of how to fly a drone.

Do you need to register your drone if you passed the commercial FAA drone test?

Yes, you do need to register your drone for commercial use no matter the weight.

Normally, for recreational use, you don’t have to register drones under 250 grams like the DJi mini 2.

You also need to be 13 or older to do that and it costs just $5 and the process is quite simple. You can register your drone in the US by following the link to the official FAA Drone Zone.

Frequently asked questions

Let's see some more details you should know before you go and learn more about the part 107 test.

Where can I fly with the part 107 license?

Having the part 107 commercial license you can fly in all 50 US states, but it is not valid outside of the US.

Can the FAA track your drone?

No, the FAA cannot track your drone for now, at least until a few years from now when a new technology will be required for registered drones called remote ID, which basically reports the drone position at all times while in the air.

 What is Remote ID?

Remote Id is a way for drones to broadcast the operator’s location and unique identification number, like a digital license plate. The rules for Remote ID official will take effect in 2023, so we can all fly without this worry until then.

The remote ID capability has to be implemented by drone manufacturers in the following years if they want to be adopted at a larger scale. And of course this implies some potential privacy issues that people aren’t really fond of.

What size of drone can I fly with Part 107 license?

You can fly any drone under 55 lbs in total take-off weight if you successfully passed the part 107 license. If you want to fly anything heavier than that you’ll require additional clearance.

What’s the difference between commercial and recreational drone use?

Recreational Drone use:

  • You fly a model aircraft at the local aircraft club
  • Take photos for personal use
  • Take photos and videos for someone else for free
  • Use a drone to check your field crops and if they need water

Commercial use

  • Receive money for shooting a wedding (photos or videos)
  • Real estate ( you got hired by a real estate person to photograph or film a property)
  • Deliver packages for a fee
  • Use it for commercial farming operations where you’re being paid.

Can non-US citizen foreigners get the Part 107 license?

Yes, non-US citizens can fly commercially in the U.S., assuming you hold the correct visa.

Is there a drug test required?

No drug test needed for taking the part 107 commercial license test, but you’ll need to learn in the curriculum about the effect of drugs and alcohol on piloting drones (will be a part of the test).

Do you need a commercial drone license if you’re taking pictures and video?

If you’re taking pictures for someone or yourself and you’re not getting payed in exchange, then you do not need a commercial drone license.

Do you need a license to make money with a drone?

Yes, you need a commercial license from the FAA to make money with your drone in the US.

Is there a drone photography license?

No, you can use your FAA drone pilot license to take photos and videos commercially and sell them. If you’re taking photos for yourself or without financial compensation there is no license required.

If you’re a wedding photographer or videographer you need a commercial license.

Is there a database to check if someone has the FAA commercial license?

Yes, there is a database for checking that but you’ll have to submit information about yourself. It’s a great tool if you want to check if someone who’s working for you has a certificate and won’t get you into any trouble.

Conclusion

In conclusion, getting the commercial license for flying in the US is necessary if you want to start making money with your drone, and passing the Part 107 test can be quite simple if you have the right courses to learn from.


paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.

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