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

Enjoying commercial or recreational expeditions with your drone in Wisconsin (and elsewhere in the country) begins with having a license.

How do you get a drone license in Wisconsin?

Here’s how to get a drone license in Wisconsin:

  • Meet the FAA’s requirements for becoming a pilot
  • Get an FTN
  • Make a PSI account and confirm your test appointment
  • Study
  • Score well on the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)
  • Send in FAA Form 8710-13

Were there more steps than you anticipated? That’s what most pilots say, actually! Don’t worry, though.

The concise steps and resources I have for you will make getting your drone license in Wisconsin easy-peasy.

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Here’s how to obtain a drone license in Wisconsin

Becoming a licensed drone pilot in Wisconsin is so exciting, especially if you choose the commercial certificate.

That’s not to knock the recreational license, but the Remote Pilot Certificate (the name for the commercial license) lets you earn money using your drone.

That’s its biggest selling point, so to speak.

However, the FAA doesn’t just hand you all that responsibility. You have to prove that you know the regulations first, which means passing a test called the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG).

Let’s take a look at all the steps required to get you to the point of holding a license in Wisconsin.

Meet the FAA’s requirements for becoming a pilot

The FAA makes the aviation rules in the United States, which means it can set the requirements for who can become a commercial drone pilot.

You have to fully understand English (in writing, reading, speaking, and comprehension), be 16 or older, and able to safely use a drone.

That’s it, just those three requirements. However, there are no loopholes, so hopefully, you can proceed in your journey to becoming a commercial drone pilot.

Get an FTN before registering for the exam

You’re now ready for the second step, entering the FAA’s system with an FAA Tracking Number or FTN.

This is your prime identifier since you don’t yet have a certificate, and even when you do, the FAA will still use your FTN to ensure you’re on the up and up with your drone flights.

How do you get an FTN? You must sign up with IACRA, or the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application.

IACRA is an FAA website primarily designed to help you apply for and eventually receive your license, but it also includes some training resources you might consider looking into.

It’s free to sign up, and you’ll be glad you did.

Here are the steps to follow to make an IACRA account.

  • Visit the IACRA website here.
  • From the homepage, navigate to the Registration link, located below the username and password sections on the top right.
  • Choose one or more roles depending on your aviation status. Applicant is a good one to click if the other roles seem too advanced, as you don’t need a Part 107 certificate to register under this role.
  • Review IACRA’s short terms of service, clicking Continue to confirm your agreement.
  • Add details under the Personal Information section, including a full name (including your middle name), email address, gender, and birthdate.
  • Browse through IACRA’s security questions and select two. Type in answers you can easily remember, as IACRA will ask you one of these questions if you forget your account credentials.
  • Create your IACRA username and password. The username can be no longer than 50 characters and must be at least six. The password must be no shorter than 12 characters and needs a mix of numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters. However, you can’t use angle brackets or ampersands.
  • Click Register.
  • IACRA will email you an account confirmation. Click the link in the email to log in.
  • Review your account information to see your FTN.

Yes, you can skip the Certificate Information section as an Applicant, but not if you choose other roles.

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Make a PSI account and confirm your test appointment

The third step of becoming a commercial drone pilot in Wisconsin is making an exam appointment.

The FAA administers the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam at Knowledge Testing Centers, in-person testing facilities nationwide.

You’ll take your exam at a Wisconsin Knowledge Testing Center, but you can’t secure your appointment without a PSI account.

PSI is a test administration service. It deals in millions of exams, not only those for commercial pilots. You can sign up on PSI for free, just as you did on IACRA.

Let’s review how.

  • Visit PSI’s FAA portal here.
  • Click the Create an Account link.
  • Verify by typing in your name and FTN, then clicking Continue.
  • After PSI verifies you, proceed with the registration. Type in your name, email address, and a new username and password. Confirm the password by typing it a second time, then click Continue.
  • As of late 2023, you must have an authenticator app that supports multifactor authentication to use PSI. Please download one.
  • PSI will email you an account confirmation message.
  • When you receive the email, log into PSI and click Find a Test Center.
  • Type your Wisconsin postal code and select United States for the country.
  • Choose a distance to a Knowledge Testing Center from the dropdown.
  • Select Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) for the Exam dropdown.
  • Click Continue.
  • Review the list of Wisconsin Knowledge Testing Centers PSI populates. Select one and schedule a testing appointment.
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The information you have tucked away in your mind will be the difference between passing and failing the Part 107 exam. It’s not only a matter of delaying your receival of the Remote Pilot Certificate.

Each time you fail, you’re out $175, as that’s how much it costs to take the commercial exam.

That’s why I recommend cutting straight to the chase. Here are Droneblog’s top resources for beginners looking to learn about Part 107 rules.

The courses are taught by the biggest experts in drones, such as Pilot Institute, Drone Launch Academy, and Altex Academy.

The instructors, often current and former FAA pilots, understand the nuances of drone regulations and explain them clearly and concisely.

The modules are short but packed full of information, and many structure their courses with practice quizzes after each module.

The practice quizzes give you a preview of what the real FAA exam will be like, as the questions on it are taken from past tests.

These courses have pass rates of more than 90 percent. If so many students can become commercial drone pilots by passing the FAA exam, so can you!

Granted, you will have to pay for a course, but you won’t waste a cent. You can rest assured that the Part 107 courses will refund you the $175 you spent on your exam and the course costs if you don’t pass.

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Score well on the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam

The time has come to take the commercial drone exam to get your license. It’s an exciting and anxiety-inducing time but try not to panic. You could blank on what you know.

I recommend getting a good night’s rest, eating something nutritious and filling, and leaving early for your local Knowledge Testing Center. This way, you don’t have to stress about possibly arriving late.

You will also need a valid form of government-issued identification with a photo. Please don’t forget that, or you won’t be able to take the exam.

The Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test is presented in multiple-choice format, with 60 questions to answer overall.

You will have two and a half hours and can use aids like protractors and a math calculator. However, these items aren’t required and won’t be provided to you.

One item you can’t have on your person when taking the test is your smartphone or other mobile device. You must stash them in your locker.

You must answer 42 questions correctly for a score of exactly 70 percent, which the FAA requires to pass the exam.

I know you’ll be waiting on pins and needles for IACRA to post your results, but it can take a few days, sometimes a couple of weeks. It’s an agonizing wait, I get it, so try to busy yourself with other projects in the meantime.

Remember, if you don’t pass, this isn’t your only attempt. Let yourself feel bad, then pick yourself up by the bootstraps, reregister, and study harder. You can take the exam again two weeks after your first attempt.

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Send in FAA Form 8710-13

When you score that sweet passing grade, you can send in FAA Form 8710-13 to officially request your Remote Pilot Certificate.

This form is available on IACRA and is free to access and complete.

Find it under the Start New Application menu. You will next have to choose an Application Type.

Here, select Pilot, then choose Remote Pilot under the Certifications section. Click Other Path Information, then Start Application, and file the form.

IACRA will send your information to TSA for a background check.

When you pass, IACRA will issue a confirmation email that includes a printable version of the Part 107 license, with instructions for downloading, printing, and using.

The long and short of it is that this license is a stand-in for until the FAA sends your true Part 107 license in the mail.

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I have my drone license in Wisconsin – Now what?

Good work completing all the training and registrations necessary to get your commercial drone license. You can almost fly freely in Wisconsin (within FAA regulations, of course), but there are a few more things to do.

For example, you must register your drone. The FAA requires all commercial drones undergo registration, so that will be another $3 for each drone in your fleet.

You should also buy drone insurance, which you can often tack onto an existing policy.

The reason I always push so passionately for insurance for first-time pilots is because accidents happen. Insurance is like a safety net that prevents you from bleeding your finances dry in the aftermath.

You should also check out Wisconsin’s state and local drone laws so you know your stuff when you fly.

Here are the local laws to learn:

  • Greenfield prohibits drone use outside of a pilot’s line of sight. You also can’t fly an automatic drone or use a UAV within 500 feet of a gathering of more than 100 people, an active emergency vehicle, a school during classes or events, or any municipal lockup facility.
  • Chetek has a municipal law to keep drone pilots away from Chetek Municipal Airport.
  • Outagamie County also prohibits drones near airports.
  • Green Bay doesn’t allow pilots to fly below 400 feet of the famous Lambeau Field during events, including Packers games.

Statewide, 941.292 makes it illegal to weaponize your drone, while 942.10 prohibits pilots from violating the privacy of others. You could be hit with major misdemeanor charges for either crime.

Oh, and last but certainly not least is the matter of renewing your drone license, a task you must do every two years if you want to continue flying commercially.

You no longer have to take the Part 107 exam; instead, the FAA offers a free online test for renewal. Learn more here.