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How to Get a Drone License in Rhode Island (Explained for Beginners)

Before you start your drone adventure in Rhode Island, be sure you have a drone license. You must have one under FAA law to operate a drone, whether for fun or work.

How do you get a license in the Rhode Island?

Here’s how to get a drone license in Rhode Island:

  • Review the FAA’s eligibility guidelines
  • Get an FAA Tracking Number
  • Register at a Rhode Island FAA Knowledge Testing Center
  • Study
  • Earn a passing score on the exam
  • Request a certificate via Form 8710-13

Becoming a drone pilot is more nuanced than the bullets make it seem, but that’s what you can rely on me for.

I’ll guide you through all the registrations and instructions to secure your drone license in Rhode Island, stat!

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Here’s how to obtain a drone license in Rhode Island

Did you know the FAA issues two types of drone licenses? The commercial one is more popular, known as the Remote Pilot Certificate or the Part 107 license (the other is a hobbyist license).

Everyone wants to get their hands on that one because it’s the only cert that lets you make money from flying a drone.

You still have to land drone gigs yourself, but with that license, you’re legally allowed to make a living or an extra wage with your drone.

So, what’s required of you to become a certified Part 107 pilot in Rhode Island? I’m so glad you asked. Let’s break it down.

Review the FAA’s eligibility guidelines

Are you 16 or older? What about your English comprehension, is it good?

If you answered yes to both those questions, and you also are physically and mentally fit, then congratulations, you’re eligible to become a drone pilot if you pass the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam.

Get an FAA Tracking Number

Next, it’s time to become a certified member of the FAA’s network of pilots. The FAA needs to know what you’re doing and how to track you, and so they issue every new registrant an FAA Tracking Number.

It’s free to obtain your FTN, and you only need one over your aviation career. By chance, if you already have an FTN, please skip to the next section.

For those of you who don’t, let me explain how it’s done.

You can get an FTN through IACRA, short for the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application.

You’ll need an IACRA account sooner than later anyway, as this is where you will see your exam results and how you request your commercial pilot certificate.

You can visit the IACRA website link here to get started. Click the Register link above the fold below the username and password boxes.

Review the available roles, as IACRA gives you a few you can select from when registering. You should only choose the ones that apply to you, as the roles you choose will affect your IACRA account responsibilities.

New drone pilots can choose Applicant.

Read over IACRA’s terms of service, then continue. You can keep scrolling past the Certificate Information section, as you don’t have a drone license yet. Other roles require this information, but not yours.

Furnish the Personal Information, Security Questions, and User Name/Password sections with your details, then select Register.

IACRA will confirm your account creation via email. You can then log in and begin using the full extent of the IACRA site. Your FTN will be in your profile.

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Register at a Rhode Island FAA Knowledge Testing Center

The next step in your journey to becoming a Rhode Island commercial drone pilot is setting up an appointment at an FAA Knowledge Testing Center.

What is a Knowledge Testing Center, you ask? It’s an approved testing site for taking the Part 107 exam. The FAA currently does not offer a way to take this exam online, only in person at a testing site.

You must have a PSI account to browse testing sites near you, so click here for the link. The FAA and PSI have teamed up to facilitate an easier time preparing for the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam.

You’ll notice that when you try to create an account on PSI, you can’t until you input your FTN. You can see already why it’s important to have it.

After typing in your FTN, you can continue registering on PSI. The registration page requires your name, email address, and a username and password, the latter of which you have to type twice.

When you click the Continue button, you should check your email inbox. PSI will send you a message to verify your account. After you do that, you can log in.

Now double back to the main page and click Find a Test Center.

As you probably guessed, this page lets you search for FAA Knowledge Testing Centers throughout Rhode Island. I love how you can finetune the results based on distance.

After selecting a Knowledge Testing Center, you can choose when you want to take your test and make it official.

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Are you getting nervous yet? That’s understandable. This is a big deal, and you want to put your best foot forward, I’m sure.

The team at Droneblog has assembled a mighty list of beginner drone courses perfect for prepping for the Part 107 exam. All the big names are here, from Peltier to Altitude University and Drone Launch Academy.

You shouldn’t want for much as you review these study resources. The courses are fully comprehensive, covering all the many areas of FAA drone laws you’ll need to know to successfully take the Part 107 exam.

You can review the course information via video or text lessons, and the instruction is broken down into small modules that make it easier to retain. Practice quizzes with questions taken from real FAA exams are also super beneficial.

Enrolling in one of these courses in the month’s leadup to your exam will help you prepare in your own time. It’s unsurprising that so many of these courses have pass rates between 90 and 95 percent!

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Earn a passing grade on the exam

Testing time is here. Get to the Knowledge Testing Center with time to spare so you don’t have to stress about a late arrival.

Review your test materials one more time if you can, and make sure you don’t leave the house without your driver’s license or another form of photo ID. You will need it.

So, what are you walking into here? Well, the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test has 60 overall questions that focus on every area of FAA drone regulations and operations.

All the questions are multiple-choice, so bubble in the answer you believe to be correct.

You will have two and a half hours to answer all the questions; then you have to turn in your test booklet.

What if you don’t pass? It’s okay, you can always take the test again. You can schedule a retake within two weeks of the first test date.

However, be forewarned that you must pay a fee of $165 to take the Part 107 exam, and that fee applies for each test attempt.

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Request a certificate via Form 8710-13

Excellent job getting to this point. You should be proud of yourself for passing the Part 107 exam, as that’s no easy feat!

Now that you got the good news you were hoping for, you can log into IACRA to send a formal license application. Choose Start New Application, then Application Type. Select Pilot here, then click Certifications. Pick Remote Pilot.

Next, choose Other Path Information, then click Start Application. The application will begin, with prompts making its completion fast and efficient.

What happens after you send in your application? First, IACRA processes it, then sends your information to TSA, which does a background check.

If you pass that, you will receive a print version of your commercial drone license through email from IACRA.

The print version works the same way as a permanent Part 107 license does. The FAA sends out Remote Pilot Certificates through physical mail but must complete internal processing.

Their processing periods are a lot longer than IACRA’s, hence why you can print your license.

I have my drone license in Rhode Island – Now what?

You’ve probably planned out half a dozen locations you want to fly your drone, right? Before you launch, you need to register.

FAA law requires all drones used for commercial operations to be registered, so don’t forget.

Check out Rhode Island’s drone laws so you know what you can and can’t do when flying.

In Narragansett, you can’t use a drone 500 feet over its public facilities during events or its roads, public parks, “large venue special events,” or its beach, regardless of season.

HB 7511 is a state law backed by federal US law that gives the Rhode Island Airport Corporation the right to “regulate any object capable of flying.”

There’s also Title 250, Park and Management Area Rules and Regulations, which bar drones from flying on public reservations without written permission.

Even then, you can’t use your drone to bother wildlife or people enjoying the area.

Do you have drone insurance? You should strongly consider it as you learn the ropes of drone flight. Operating a UAV is a tricky thing, and you might make mistakes early on.

If you get embroiled in a property damage dispute or have to pay medical bills because you accidentally hurt someone with your drone, you will be glad you have insurance.

As you have lots of fun flying, don’t forget that your license will expire. The FAA makes it so your Part 107 certificate only lasts for two years so you don’t get fuzzy on your drone knowledge.

Once upon a time, the only way to keep your license current was to pay $165 every two years, study, and take the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test again.

I’m glad to report that’s no longer the case, and that today, you can certify for free by taking an online FAA exam.

Check out this awesome writeup on the whole process.