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How to Get a Drone License in South Carolina (Explained for Beginners)

South Carolina has many secrets in store, especially for drone pilots. However, before you can do that, you need a drone license.

How do you get a drone license in South Carolina?

Here’s how to get a drone license in South Carolina:

  • Meet the criteria to take the exam
  • Obtain an FTN
  • Find a South Carolina FAA Knowledge Testing Center and register
  • Study
  • Take the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam
  • Send in Form 8710-13

You’ve come to the right place if you’re eager to learn more about the requirements to earn your commercial drone license in South Carolina.

I’ll explain the entire process in an easy-to-understand fashion so you can get started right away.

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Here’s how to obtain a drone license in South Carolina

Alright, so let’s get into it. The drone license you’re likely interested in obtaining is called the Remote Pilot Certificate.

It’s the commercial drone cert, and the only way to secure yours is by taking a test called the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG), which most pilots refer to as the Part 107 exam.

If you take the TRUST test instead, that will only earn you a TRUST certificate. That’s fine if you like flying around town and don’t plan to make any money with your drone, but I’m sure you have bigger aspirations.

That’s why you need the Part 107 license. Here’s how to get it.

Meet the criteria to take the exam

First of all, be sure you can even take the aeronautic knowledge exam. The FAA has tight restrictions on who’s allowed to test, and that’s for safety reasons. You must be older than 16, for starters.

You also have to be physically and mentally healthy so you can safely operate a drone. Then, on top of that, you need perfect English proficiency.

Obtain an FAA Tracking Number

Okay, so hopefully, you’re ready to proceed to the next step. This is a biggie, as you will get your very own FAA Tracking Number.

What is that? An FTN is how the FAA identifies you and monitors your activities. You need one as a new pilot, so let’s get you signed up with IACRA.

Sorry, that’s the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application, an FAA resource that’s super helpful in the days of obtaining your license. Check out the website here and familiarize yourself a bit.

Create an account by selecting the Register link on the homepage. You’ll find it near the login area.

Next, IACRA asks you to select relevant role(s). You can check as many as are available on the first page, but you only need to choose Applicant as a first-time pilot.

And just like that, you’re ready for the second page of registration. Where new pilots often get tripped up is in the Certificate Information section. Well, here’s a bit of good news for you. You can safely skip that section and still register on IACRA.

How does that work? That section is for other types of registrants, not you.

That said, you have to add in information for the rest of the sections, including your full name, birthdate, email address, and new username and password. Oh, you also have to answer security questions.

When you register your account, you will receive a confirmation email from IACRA. When you log in, you will have an FTN.

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Find a South Carolina FAA Knowledge Testing Center and register

You can go far with your FTN, as now you can register for the Part 107 exam. This test is only offered in person at FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Centers, which you can find in all parts of South Carolina, from Clemson to Charleston.

You can begin your search by visiting the PSI website. You may have heard of PSI before, but if not, it’s a testing administration resource the FAA uses for this part of the exam process.

You’ll need an account on PSI just like you created one on IACRA. To do that, click the link above and then Create an Account.

Before you can get started, you must input your FTN, as PSI needs to verify that you’re eligible to register for the exam.

Once you pass that check, you can create an account by furnishing your full name, email address, and unique username and password information. You also have the option to select a language on the PSI website.

Click Continue, then wait for PSI to send you a confirmation email. Once you receive that, you can log into PSI and click Find a Test Center.

That menu allows you to research Knowledge Testing Centers throughout South Carolina by inputting your zip code and allowable travel distance. You must select Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) and United States under the two dropdowns to get results.

Review the list of Knowledge Testing Centers, then choose the one that’s closest to you. Set up your testing appointment, and you’re all set.

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It’s not like you only get one chance at the Part 107 exam. You get infinite chances, but with a catch. You have to pay each time you take the test, and it’s not like it’s cheap.

It costs over $150, and no, it doesn’t get less expensive for subsequent attempts. That’s what you pay each time.

Yeah, ouch, right? I know.

That’s why studying hard is the best thing you can do for yourself. And while there are a lot of ways to study, you want to do it right considering the cost of the test.

Well then, look no further than Droneblog’s list of the best courses for beginners. This exhaustive resource covers all the best Part 107 courses in a nutshell so you don’t have to research them yourself.

And trust me, drone prep courses don’t get better than this. You will learn from industry experts, some of which have worked for the FAA, so they know how drone regulations work and can explain them from a layman’s perspective.

You can take practice tests as part of your coursework, figuring out your weak points and where you need to study more. You’ll feel ultra-prepared for the Part 107 test.

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Take the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam

It’s finally time to sit down and take the commercial drone exam. Let me give you some pointers to help you prepare:

  • You must have a form of government-issued ID on you when you check in at the Knowledge Testing Center. The ID needs a photo, so a driver’s license is okay to bring.
  • The Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam has 60 multiple-choice questions. There are no trick questions, and the information will be on the most current FAA rules around drone flights and regulations.
  • You can answer 18 questions wrong and still pass, as you need a 70 percent score to earn your license.
  • You can bring some extra tools, like a calculator, for instance, or a protractor, but they’re not required.
  • The test period is two and a half hours.

My recommendation for you when taking the test? Don’t rush. You have time to answer all the questions, so read each one carefully and go with your gut.

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Send in Form 8710-13

The long waiting game begins after you take the exam. IACRA posts your results when they go live, but that’s rarely within 24 hours.

Sometimes, you get lucky and it’s only a few days, but other times, you’re waiting on pins and needles for weeks. It can’t be helped.

When you soon hear the good news you wanted, go on and celebrate a minute. You passed the Part 107 exam, a challenging feat that not all pilots achieve, especially not on their first attempt. But you did it!

So, now what? Well, you need to send a license request to IACRA via Form 8710-13. Log into IACRA to begin, clicking Start New Application. Choose Pilot for the Certifications and Application Type. Next, click Other Path Information, then select Start Application.

You’re in! The form has prompts to take you through, so it’s easy to fill out in a few minutes. Once you submit the application, it’s back to more waiting.

IACRA has to process your request, including a background check, and FAA has to do the same.

You will receive a temporary printable version of your license through email from IACRA that you can use until the FAA is done processing your information and can send the permanent license.

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I have my drone license in South Carolina – Now what?

You’re ready to begin using your drone across South Carolina, surely, but before you do, here are a few musts.

You must know South Carolina’s drone laws in addition to the federal FAA laws you studied so hard to master. SC only has one state law, Bill 176, but it’s very limiting on where drones can operate.

For example, you can’t fly a drone near a Department of Corrections facility within 250 vertical feet and 500 horizontal feet unless you have a Director’s written permission.

If you violate this law, it’s a $500 fine, 30 days in jail, and possibly both sentences. Your drone will also be taken by the Department of Corrections.

You also have to register your drone before you can legally use it. If you have several drones in your fleet, you must register them all.

You should strongly consider drone insurance, even if the state of South Carolina doesn’t require it.

Insurance will go a long way toward your peace of mind as a new drone pilot, ensuring you don’t have to pay 100 percent of the fees if you cause an injury to a passerby or property damage.

The last consideration is drone license expiration. Your license will become invalid two years after it’s issued to you. This requires you to keep brushing up on FAA laws and regulations so you can fly safely.

So, what do you do when your license expires?

You have to renew it, ideally before it’s invalid so you don’t have any lapses in your commercial cert. After all, that can cause snags if you have projects you’re in the middle of with tight deadlines.

You can complete a free online renewal course in an afternoon, courtesy of the FAA. Check out our handy writeup on the entire process here.