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DJI Avata – Do I Need a Drone License to Fly? (Explained)

The DJI Avata is a great drone for all sorts of uses. If you already have one, I’m sure you’ve discovered that to begin with, it’s just a ton of fun to fly.

But perhaps you’re wondering if you need to get that Part 107 drone license everyone is talking about.

If you are using the DJI Avata strictly as a recreational flyer, you do not need a remote pilot certificate to fly it. But if you are using the DJI Avata for any business-related or commercial purposes, you do need Part 107 license.

Like many things in aviation, it truly depends and what you plan on doing with the drone. I used a lot of terms there, so let’s define what some of those things mean.

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Recreational flyers and the Avata

Whether you need a drone license depends specifically on whether you are going to use the Avata for your own recreational flying, or if you’re going to use it for business purposes.

If you are going to fly the Avata strictly for pleasure, then you do not need a drone license.

However, there are a few things you still need to do before you launch your brand-new drone into the air.

» MORE: How to Get a Drone License – Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

The first is, because the drone weighs over 250g, you will need to register the drone with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Any drone that weighs under 250g, or 0.55 lbs., and that is going to be used for recreational purposes only, does not need to be registered.

However, the Avata tips the scale at 410g, so it definitely needs to be registered.

But the good news is, it’s only $5, and if you continue to fly only for fun, that registration number can be used on all of your drones.

The only time that changes is if you decide to start flying for hire. In that case, each individual drone will need to be registered.

The next thing you will need to do is pass the safety test, often referred to as the TRUST test. No need to panic, though. This is entirely online and free.

» MORE: What Is the TRUST Test? (Everything You Need to Know)

You can take it as many times as you need to pass it, and it’s open book. This test simply ensures that you understand some basic principles and how to safely fly your drone, in this case, the Avata.

And finally, as we’re getting close to the fun part, where you get to fly, as a recreational flyer, you do have to operate under section 44809.

I know, that’s an extremely boring way to label the rules for recreational drone flying, but that’s what we have to work with.

This section goes over some very basic requirements to fly safely, and while we’re not going to talk about all of them, I do want to emphasize one part of that regulation.

» MORE: What Drones Can You Fly Without a License?

You need to fly under what is referred to as Community-Based Organization (CBO) guidelines.

A CBO, for short, is an aviation organization that has self-governing principles. The FAA has agreed to not overregulate recreational flying and has allowed a sort of self-policing mentality.

Although the FAA is willing to open the door to new applications, there are currently only four approved CBOs. And they are:

  • The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)
  • The First Person View Coalition
  • Flite Test Community Association
  • STEM+C Inc. 

Each CBO may have its own set of rules, as long as they don’t conflict with the FAA’s regulations, and since the AMA is among the most well-known, they will be whom we look to for our guidance in regard to our discussion today.

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The AMA has some specific rules about flying first person.

One of the major benefits of the Avata is that you can immerse yourself in the flying experience by putting on DJI goggles and creating a view as though you were looking out the window of an aircraft.

The AMA does not require licensing, but they do require you to have someone assist you, called a visual observer.

Simply put, a visual observer is someone who allows you to comply with FAA regulations, ensuring that you’re drone stays within line of sight.

This is important because when you have the goggles on, although you can see wherever you turn the drone, you do not have a truly three-dimensional view like you would in an actual aircraft.

You cannot look to the window out your right and left side to see what you might turn into. You simply see as far of an angle around as the front camera or the way you rotate the drone, allows you to see.

This being the case, it would be extremely easy to turn into somebody or something you never saw, if you don’t have an observer.

If you are only going to fly the Avata for fun, no licenses are required, but a few precautions and rules have to be met.

Next, let’s take a look at the ” yes” answer.

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Commercial pilots and the Avata

Let’s take a moment and talk about the one situation in which flying your Avata would require a license. And that is anytime you choose to fly it for non-recreational purposes.

That can be racing for money, or doing aerial photography for a fee.

And it’s important to understand that the Federal Aviation Administration does not see a monetary exchange as the defining characteristic of a commercial operation.

If you are taking pictures for any reason other than your own personal enjoyment, and that includes the furtherance of a nondrone business, then you are operating commercially.

In that case, you’ll need to get a part 107 license, which is often referred to as a Remote Pilot License.

Unlike the TRUST exam, it is not an online, free, or open book test. You will go to a specific testing center in your area and pay a little under 200 bucks to take the exam.

And if you fail, there’s a 30-day waiting period, and unfortunately, you have to pay that fee every time you test.

However, once you pass the test, you have a commercial license for drones, and although it does have to be renewed every two years, the renewal process can be done online, at no cost.

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Again, I emphasize you only need a license to fly this cool drone if you are going to use it as a tool to either make money or for some other type of non-recreational purpose.

This can include volunteer work at a fire station.

Although public organizations can work around the 107 by obtaining a certificate of authorization, many find it easier and faster to just get some volunteers licensed rather than navigate the red tape required for that certificate of authorization.

And if you choose to go this route, then in addition to your newly minted license, you also need to obtain a visual observer if you are going to fly the drone with the goggles on.

Of course, the other option, whether commercially or recreationally, is simply not to use the goggles when you fly the drone, but of course, that would negate a lot of the purpose of the DJI Avata.

In summary, we have discussed briefly whether a license is necessary to fly the DJI Avata, and when it is required, why it is so.

It is with this information we step forward into the thrill of flying with confidence and appreciation for the hobby we engage it.

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