What Does Having a Part 107 Drone License Mean?

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With a Part 107 drone license, you can now legally make money with your drone. If you want to sell your amazing aerial pictures and videos you must be certified. Say you’re a realtor and you have a DJI Mavic Pro, with a Part 107 certificate you can take pictures of the property and use the pictures and videos as marketing material. The same thing goes for if you are a ‘YouTuber’ and your channel is monetized. If you are in any way making money off your drone content, you need one of these. Offical FAA operating requirements can be found here, it includes rules for max flight speed, take-off weight, and other flight restrictions. The goal of the Part 107 is to ensure that people who are flying drones for business are doing so with an educated background of drone (UAV) and airspace safety.

What is on the Part 107 certificate test?

The 14 CFR part 107  FAA pilot license test is a 60 question multiple choice test. First, you must make an appointment at a registered FAA testing center. On the day of, you will go to the testing center and pay the testing fee. Online it does say $150, however at the Van Nuys airport, California testing center (where I took mine) it was $170. After you pay they will take you to a small room with a few computers in it and hand you a booklet with sectional charts in it. The test questions on the computer will reference different figures and diagrams in the booklet. The test is done on the computer so the results are immediate once you end the test. The test asks questions about regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft limitations, flight operation, airspace classification, operating requirements, aviation weather sources, effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance, emergency procedures, crew resource management, physiological effects of drugs while operating a drone, aeronautical decision-making, airport operations, maintenance and preflight inspection procedures. A great practice test is found here, it goes over very similar questions (even some of the same?) and it is even in the same format as the real deal. This test is challenging if you are not very familiar with aeronautical language, make sure you are ready! Once you pass the test, you will receive a physical part 107 license in the mail within the next month.

Where can I fly my drone?

Sectional chart of the Los Angeles area

As part of the Part 107 certificate test, you must be able to read and understand sectional charts. These are basically maps of airspace, they show ground features, airports, flight paths, and other important national airspace information. However, if you are not used to reading one of these it can be very confusing to find out where exactly you can fly your drone. This is why the FAA is making it easy by producing website tools and smartphone apps so that drone users have no excuse. The FAA’s visualize it map makes it really easy to see where you can and cannot fly.

Visualize it FAA UAS data map of the Los Angeles area

It even goes a step further by showing the different flight ceilings in regard to airspace. So instead of having to read a sectional chart before flying now all that data is overlayed on an easy to follow quadrant by quadrant map. Let’s do an example. Say you are visiting the Santa Monica beach this summer and you are bringing your DJI Phantom Drone but are unsure if you can fly it there. With this map you can see the different flight ceilings by quadrant, as you can see the flight ceiling is 50 feet. This is important to note as the Santa Monica Airport, helicopter pads, and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are all nearby.

B4UFLY mobile app interface

What if there are flight restrictions?

NOTAMS (notices to airmen) and TFRs (Temporary Flight Restrictions) are issued out for many reasons such as air shows, rocket launches, parachute jumps, military exercises, and flights by the president. The FAA has made a smartphone application called B4UFLY which helps drone (UAV) operators determine if there are any restrictions in effect at the drone flight location. This makes it easy to stay up to date with current air traffic restrictions and no-fly zones. This is important because if these restrictions are not followed it can lead to heavy fines and even jail time. Fly Safely!

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