The great state of Kansas welcomes drone pilots to explore Wyandotte Park, Minor Park, Jacob L. Loose Park, Platte Landing Park, Longview Lake, Lake Olathe, and Charles W. Reed Flying Field.
FAA laws dictate that pilots must have a drone license, so how do you obtain one in the Sunflower State?
How to get a drone license in Kansas?
Here’s how to get a drone license in Kansas:
- Be eligible to take the drone exam
- Create an IACRA account for your FTN
- Register at your nearest FAA Knowledge Testing Center
- Study for the exam
- Take and pass the exam
- Request your certificate
It sounds straightforward enough, but registering for the commercial drone exam has a lot of steps, so I strongly recommend you check out this beginner guide for aspiring Kansas pilots.
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
Here’s how to obtain a drone license in Kansas
The FAA, which governs the skies across the United States, requires pilots to have a recreational or commercial drone license depending on their aviation activities.
You can use a hobbyist license if you only fly your UAV for fun.
Those who use their drones for commercial gain or more advanced flight situations must have a commercial license, known as the Remote Pilot Certificate or Part 107 license.
How do you get your hands on one of those? Let’s explore!
Be eligible to take the drone exam
The FAA doesn’t simply hand out drone licenses. You must showcase your knowledge of the FAA’s drone regulations by passing the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test.
However, you must meet the FAA’s eligibility criteria to take the test before you can do that.
The FAA requires aspiring pilots to be in good mental and physical condition, fully comprehend English, and be at least 16.
Create an IACRA account for your FTN
Do you check all those boxes? Great! You can now move on to the next step of obtaining your commercial drone license in Kansas: creating an account on the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application website.
Let’s rewind for a moment. You must verify your identity to take the Part 107 exam, which means having an FAA Tracking Number (FTN). The only way to do that is to make an account on IACRA’s site here.
Your FTN will stick with you throughout your aviation career, remaining your primary FAA identifier. All new pilots will obtain one, but you can skip this step if you somehow already have one.
You would need an IACRA account anyway, as that’s where pertinent information is posted throughout the process of obtaining your commercial drone license.
For example, your FTN is accessible through your IACRA account, as will your commercial drone exam results when the time comes.
You also can’t request your Remote Pilot Certificate without an IACRA account, so you can see why it’s so important.
It only takes a few minutes to register on IACRA.
Click the register link in the upper top right corner of the homepage. You will be asked to check off relevant roles. The only fitting role for you at this stage might be applicant, which is fine.
Check that off (and any other applicable roles), agree to the service terms, and you’re ready to proceed to the second page.
This is where the bulk of the registration comes in. The first section asks for your certificate information. Skip that section, as you don’t yet have an FAA certificate.
However, I recommend you go back later and add this information.
After inputting your personal information and creating two security questions, you can populate a unique username and password for your IACRA account. IACRA will email you confirming your registration.
Log into your account, and you can now access your FTN.
Register at your nearest FAA Knowledge Testing Center
Now that you can verify your identity, you’re ready to register to take the commercial drone exam.
The FAA only offers the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test in physical locations called FAA Knowledge Testing Centers.
You can find the nearest Testing Centers in your part of Kansas by making an account on PSI here.
PSI is a test administration service the FAA works with.
Clicking the above link will take you to the PSI homepage. You can click the white link on that page to create an account, but you will first have to verify your identity to proceed.
Type in your name and FTN, and you can continue with the PSI registration, following the straightforward prompts. After you register, check your inbox for an email from PSI confirming your account creation.
Log into PSI and click the link on the homepage, Find a Test Center.
Type in your closest Kansas postal code, select the United States as the country, and choose the distance you’re willing to drive to take the test.
The shortest distance is five miles, and the longest distance is 300.
Select Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) in the exam dropdown option. It’s all the way at the bottom.
Click the blue Search button to see all the FAA Knowledge Testing Centers that meet your search criteria. You can get directions to the building on PSI’s site, which is helpful.
Select the one most convenient to you, pick a date and time to take your exam, and confirm the information. You’re now one step closer to becoming a commercial drone pilot in Kansas.
Study for the exam
The Part 107 exam is no walk in the park. The FAA didn’t design it to be easy; they designed it to determine your proficiency to fly a drone commercially. You must know a lot, especially if you’re a first-time pilot learning the ropes.
In fact, there’s so much to learn, you can quickly find yourself facing information overload.
Why not consider taking an online drone course for beginners? These courses neatly pack all the information you need to know for the exam into video or text lessons.
You’ll learn from expert instructors with thousands of hours of commercial flight experience. They’ll break down terms and concepts simply, so you’ll feel confident in the breadth of your knowledge.
Most online Part 107 prep courses have money-back guarantees made for your peace of mind.
You will pay for these courses, but you can get back what you paid plus the exam fee to take your second crack at the commercial drone exam for free.
Click here for Droneblog’s personal list of the best drone courses for beginners. These aren’t exclusively Part 107 courses, although many are.
If you enjoy your educational experience through the drone school and pass your exam on the first go-around, you might enroll in a course to learn more about drone photography or public safety.
All courses offered by Pilot Institute are taught by remote pilots, flight instructors, FAA commercial pilots, and other certified professionals.
Take and pass the exam
As testing day draws nearer, here are some facts on the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test to keep in mind:
- The exam consists of 60 questions in all.
- Each question is in a multiple-choice format, with three answers available.
- You will have two and a half hours to take the exam.
- You will receive testing materials when you arrive, including your test book, scratch paper, and a dry-erase marker.
- You must verify your identity with a photo ID card like a driver’s license to take the exam.
- You can use a basic calculator (that only does math functions) and a protractor on the exam, but these tools aren’t provided. You must bring them.
- You cannot bring your phone into the exam room under any circumstances.
- You will have a locker to keep your personal belongings while you take the test.
Many pilots feel the allotted test time is sufficient for answering all 60 questions. Don’t rush through the exam. Take your time, reading each question carefully and thoroughly, then selecting the answer.
How many answers can you get wrong and pass? You must score 70 percent, so you can mark up to 18 questions incorrectly and still earn your Remote Pilot Certificate.
IACRA will post your Knowledge Test Exam ID within 48 hours after taking the commercial drone exam. This is a 17-digit ID you’ll need for the next stage.
Your test results could be ready within 48 hours, but it’s not unheard of for weeks to pass before your results appear in IACRA. Be patient, but consistently check your account for updates.
Request your certificate
Woohoo! You passed the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam. Congratulations on your hard work, as what you’ve accomplished is no easy feat.
Once you’re done basking in your glory, log into IACRA. Next, you must fill out FAA Form 8710-13. This form is your official request for a temporary Remote Pilot Certificate.
Allow me to explain. The FAA is hard at work on your permanent license (once you request it, that is), but with all the processing required, you might wait weeks before you see it. That’s time you’d lose not flying if you waited for the FAA.
That’s why you can print a temporary interim license. It works the same way and should be discontinued once your permanent license arrives in your mailbox.
How do you complete Form 8710-13? Once you’ve logged into IACRA, choose Start New Application. Select the option, Pilot, then Remote Pilot. Next, click Other Path Information and Start Application.
You’ll need your Knowledge Test Exam ID as you continue through the prompts, and you’ll also have to sign the form electronically.
When you submit it, IACRA will process your request, part of which entails a TSA background check. IACRA will email your temporary license to print and download if you pass the security check.
I have my commercial drone license in Kansas – Now what?
You’ve printed out your Remote Pilot Certificate. Now you’re ready to begin exploring Kansas with your drone, right? Not so fast.
FAA laws require that all commercial pilots register their drone regardless of how much it weighs.
You will only pay $5 to register, and you don’t have to do it again for three more years unless you purchase another drone.
Kansas doesn’t have many state or local laws, but you should still familiarize yourself with them before flying.
SB 319 is the only state law prohibiting drone harassment in an environment where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
You also shouldn’t stalk someone with your drone, as you could incur fines of $300,000 or 2.5 to 11 years behind bars.
Locally, Prairie Village requires consent from the general public before you fly your drone around them.
You’re also banned from using your drone on private property without prior permission and during large events.
Wichita prohibits drone use around airports, which the FAA also does.
Your Remote Pilot Certificate expires within two years, as the FAA requires pilots to stay abreast of its rules and legislation if they want to continue flying commercially.
It’s faster and more efficient than ever to renew your license, as you can spend an afternoon at home enrolling in the Part 107 sUAS Recurrent Certificate course and taking an online exam.
Don’t miss this post for an overview of the entire process!