Are you planning to launch your drone in North Dakota, exploring cities, towns, and places like Orchard Glen Park, Champion Cottonwood, and Dill Hill?
You may have big aspirations, but before you can realize them, you need a drone license.
So, what’s required of you to obtain one?
Here’s how to get a drone license in North Dakota:
- Meet FAA eligibility standards
- Sign up for an FAA Tracking Number
- Find a North Dakota FAA Knowledge Testing Center and register
- Take the commercial drone exam and pass with flying colors
- Send Form 8710-13 to get your license
I’ll walk you through all the steps and processes, from registration to study resources and more!
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
Here’s how to obtain a drone license in North Dakota
When flying a drone in North Dakota or any other part of the country under FAA regulations, you have two licensing options.
If you’re only interested in enjoying drone flights around town without earning money, you can take the TRUST exam to earn your TRUST certification.
Most pilots want more. They want to make money from their drones, or at least have the opportunity to. In that case, the only license for you is the Remote Pilot Certificate, the FAA’s commercial drone license.
Are you ready to get your hands on a Remote Pilot Certificate, maximizing your drone opportunities in North Dakota? Here’s how you do it.
Meet FAA eligibility standards
The FAA can’t just hand out drone certificates to everyone. If they did, the skies would be far less safe.
That’s why you need to be 16 or older, mentally and physically able to operate a drone, and capable of understanding, writing, reading, and speaking English.
Oh, and you also have to pass the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam. What, you didn’t think you could skip the exam, right?
Just as you have to pass a test to get a recreational license, the same applies when going for your commercial drone certificate.
However, unlike the TRUST test, the Part 107 exam is offline, longer, and more difficult.
Don’t worry, though, as I’m going to get you fully prepared for it.
Sign up for an FAA Tracking Number
Before you start studying, there’s still more preparatory work you need to do.
For example, you need an FAA Tracking Number, a personal tracker the FAA uses to monitor your activities in the sky. You know, just to be sure you’re not doing anything illegal.
So, how do you get one of these FAA Tracking Numbers, better known as FTNs?
You need an account on the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application website.
IACRA (link here) is a free resource through the FAA. It has a lot of great information, but you’ll primarily use it for licensing purposes.
You will see your Part 107 test results posted on IACRA and can also apply for your commercial drone license through this service.
Are you ready to register? Great! Click the link above, then click where it says Register on the homepage. You’ll see the link on the upper right of the webpage near where you log in.
After that, IACRA asks you to check a role. Read through the available roles carefully, clicking any that you’re eligible for.
Read through the terms of service, and click Agree. Scroll past Certificate Information, as you have nothing to add here yet, instead furnishing the Personal Information section with your details.
Continue to the Security Questions section, selecting two unique security question replies. The last section requires a username and password, the latter of which you need to input twice. Finally, click Register.
And voila, you’re finished. Well, almost. IACRA will email you to confirm your account. When you click the link in the email and log in, you will see an FTN under your account. Now you’re finished, at least with that part.
All courses offered by Pilot Institute are taught by remote pilots, flight instructors, FAA commercial pilots, and other certified professionals.
Find a North Dakota FAA Knowledge Testing Center and register
Next, it’s time to get you set up to take the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test. Don’t worry; it’s not like you’re taking it tomorrow, but you do want to set up your date.
You won’t use IACRA for this, but PSI instead. PSI administers the Part 107 exam at FAA Knowledge Testing Centers, official testing sites.
How do you find a North Dakota FAA Knowledge Testing Center? Through PSI. You can’t do much on this site without signing up, so let’s review the steps.
Visit the PSI website here. Next, click the white button that reads Create an Account. Type your FTN and full name, as PSI has to verify your identity before proceeding. Click Continue.
If PSI verifies you, you can continue with your registration. The User Registration page requires you to input a username, password, full name, and email address. Click the Continue button to proceed.
PSI will send you an email confirming your account after you click the button. When you receive the email, click the link inside and you can log in.
After logging in, you can begin searching for North Dakota FAA Knowledge Testing Centers, including in Minot, Grand Forks, Fargo, Belfield, and Bismarck.
Just go back to the PSI homepage, choose Find a Test Center, and input your postal code and country. You must choose Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) from the Exam dropdown.
Okay, great! Your Part 107 exam date is officially locked in, and now you’re beginning to get nervous. There’s no need to be, especially when you choose well-known testing resources to study.
The problem is finding them, right? Well, it usually is, but not anymore! Our team at Droneblog painstakingly put together the top list of Part 107 prep courses.
These beginner courses feature some of the best names in drones instructing you on all the knowledge you need to pass the exam.
You’ll learn pre-flight protocols, the difference between controlled and uncontrolled airspace, and radio communications.
The courses include text and video lessons that make the information easy to digest and retain, and practice quizzes will drive home what you learned.
I think the best part of these online beginner drone courses is how you have nothing to lose.
If you don’t pass the aeronautic knowledge exam–which 90+ percent of enrollees do–the schools will pay for you to take the Part 107 test again. You’ll also receive a full course refund.
Why not enroll? Sure, it’s an additional expense on top of what you’re spending for the commercial drone exam, but it’s money well spent!
Take the commercial drone exam and pass with flying colors
The culmination of all your preparation and hard work comes down to this, the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam.
The test is in multiple-choice format, so you don’t have to worry about open-ended questions.
There are only 60 questions, and you have two and a half hours to answer them. You can get 18 wrong and still pass, as you only need a score of 70 percent to earn your drone license.
Make sure you have your driver’s license or another form of government ID that includes a photo when taking the Part 107 exam.
The proctor will ask for it when you check in, and if you don’t have it, you can’t take the test.
You can bring your phone with you to the FAA Knowledge Testing Center, but be prepared to leave it in a locker, as you can’t have it with you while you take the exam. That would be cheating.
As I discussed before, your results will appear on IACRA when available. Sometimes, it takes days for your results to be ready, and other times, weeks. Yes, weeks.
It’s a nerve-wracking wait for sure, so try to distract your mind as best you can in the meantime.
Send in Form 8710-13 to get your license
IACRA will eventually let you know your results are ready. I sincerely hope it’s good news, but if it isn’t, don’t despair.
You can always take the test again within the next two weeks. You do have to pay to take the exam each time.
Once you pass, you’re ready for the final stage of obtaining your Part 107 license, and that’s completing FAA Form 8710-13.
It’s back into IACRA to begin this form. Log in if you haven’t already, then navigate to Start New Application. Select Pilot for the Application Type. Next, pick Remote Pilot for Certifications.
Click Other Path Information, then Start New Application to begin the application wizard. Follow the prompts, add your electronic signature, and click Submit.
After IACRA receives your application, it’s processing time. They need to review your request, send your information to the TSA for a background check, and forward your application to the FAA to continue its processing.
In the meantime, IACRA will send you a temporary version of your commercial drone license you can use.
FAA will issue your permanent license in the mail, but it’s usually a lengthy process. The temporary version, which you can print, works just as well.
I have my drone license in North Dakota – Now what?
Alright, excellent! You have a commercial drone license in North Dakota. And while it would be great if that was all you had to do, it’s not quite.
You have to register your drone(s) as a commercial pilot, which is true in North Dakota as it is in the rest of the country.
While the Flickertail State doesn’t require you to obtain insurance before you fly, I think it’s a good idea.
You never know if you’re going to cause an accident or be involved in one, and having drone insurance can prevent you from having to pay catastrophic out-of-pocket expenses.
You should also supplement your federal drone law knowledge with North Dakota state and local drone laws.
Statewide, HB 1328 affects police operation of drones, something to keep in mind if you use yours for law enforcement (or plan to).
Last, but certainly not least, you must prepare for license expiry. Yes, your Part 107 license is not forever, which the FAA does intentionally to keep you and your fellow drone pilots sharp.
Up until several years ago, every time you wanted to renew your commercial license, you had to study and pay to take the commercial drone exam. It was a regular headache.
Lucky for you, that’s not how it is anymore. These days, you can reactivate your license by passing a free online test through the FAA.