A Guide to Becoming a Drone Pilot

February 19, 2019

 

It is no secret that I have passed my FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot exam. That’s a big title, I know. Let’s just refer to it as the Drone Test for all the non-pilots out there. 

 

With such a long title, the test must have been incredibly hard and taken years of preparation, right? 

Wrong! It was honestly a simple process and probably would’ve been done a lot quicker if good ole Donnie boy didn’t shut down the government (side note the FAA is a government agency so Donnie messed with me and I personally resent him because of it).

As a teacher speaking to his/her/its class, I will now give you the steps necessary to pass your drone test so you too can command the sky. Just do not go into real estate photography, because you will be forced to compete with AP and we don’t like competition. 

 

Step 1. Buy a Drone. This is a big step and probably the most important one. Get comfortable with that sucker in the sky. Fly it around your “personal residence” and understand the way it works. The AP setup is the DJI Spark with the wing guards (duh) and a remote controller. We also purchased 3 batteries and a charging strip because the battery life is 16 minutes tops. All in roughly $600.

 

Step 2. Purchase a Drone test exam prep class. This is an absolute necessity if I am being honest. They pretty much guarantee you will pass on the first try and let me tell you, they were right. For anyone interested, we used Drone Launch Academy. The class was $200 but well worth the money. Then study study study. Realistically, you could run through this whole course in a week and be ready to go. 

Step 3. After you have completed the course and passed the practice exam, you are going to want to find your nearest FAA approved testing center and schedule your exam. The price is $150 to take the exam and if you don’t pass, you have to pay the full amount again. That’s why the exam course is worth it. We used DCT Aviation in Waterford for our testing center. 

 

As you drive to the place and pass the private jets it starts to hit you… Could I really be a pilot? Could this next step in the AP Boys future afford us one of those beautiful private jets? Stay focused though, you have a test to pass. 

Step 4. Take the test. The test is 60 multiple choice questions that go over all of the topics covered in your exam prep. They give you 2 hours to complete the exam (I did it in just over an hour.. no big deal). Congratulations, you passed (with an 87% basically an A). 

Step 5. Register through the FAA and submit an application. It takes roughly 48 hours for your test results to get into the FAA’s system so sit back, celebrate with a couple pops and know you are basically a pilot now. Once you submit an application the FAA will run a background check and hopefully approve your license. A temporary one is sent in 7 days and boom! You are licensed to fly a drone for commercial purposes. 

Step 6. Register your Drone through the FAA. This one is simple and cheap. Go onto the FAA’s website by typing register my drone into google. You pay $5 for a 3 year registration. Once you get that number, slap it onto your drone and you are 100% legit! 

If you follow these detailed steps, there is no doubt in my mind you too could join the prestigious ranks of elite drone pilots. 

 

-BP

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