Flying for a Purpose
We all know that flying is fun! If you want to fly for money or beyond what the model aircraft rules allow, then you need to become a FAA certificated remote pilot. There are two ways to do that.
FAA Remote Pilot Certificate
If you are a current 14 CFR part 61 pilot, then you have the option to take the short route because you already possess certain aeronautical knowledge. You start by taking the part 107 sUAS Course on FAASafety.gov, which anyone can take for educational purposes. It’s important to save a copy of the completion certificate, which you will need to upload to the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website in order to apply for your remote pilot certificate. This document is separate from your other pilot certificate(s).
All other remote pilot applicants must first take the Remote Pilot Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center. To see the list of testing centers, go to the Airman Testing webpage under Training & Testing on faa.gov. Click on Knowledge Testing and look for the commercial testing center list in order to make an appointment to take the test. A study guide for taking the test is available on the Airman Testing page. It is called the Remote Pilot — Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide (FAA-G-8082-22). The guide also provides a list and links to additional resources.
The testing process for both types of remote pilot applicants is outlined in its own guide, which is called the Remote Pilot Knowledge Test Guide (FAA-G-8082-20). It is best found by typing the name in the search bar at faa.gov. After passing the knowledge test or completing the online course for current pilots, you must apply for your remote pilot certificate through the IACRA website.
UAS Links (Part 107)
Flying as Remote Pilot in Command
As a certificated remote pilot, you fly under the rules of 14 CFR part 107. You can find the regulations online at eCFR.gov. Select Title 14 from the dropdown menu, and then click on part 107.
Specific sections of 14 CFR part 107 may be waived, and flying in other than Class G airspace can be authorized. To do that, you need to visit the Request a Waiver/Airspace Authorization webpage. It is very important to ensure that requests are correctly completed, and that they include the purpose of operation and method by which the proposed operation can be safely conducted.
If you have an accident, you are required to report it within 10 days to the FAA if it resulted in serious injury, loss of consciousness, or more that $500 in property damage (excluding your UAS). This is accomplished on the Report an Accident (part 107) webpage or at your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).
To ensure you are operating within the appropriate rules, be sure to read Advisory Circular 107-1, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
UAS Links (Part 107)
If you have a general question, comment, or complaint about UAS, you can email UAShelp@faa.gov or call 844-FLY-MY-UA.
Photo courtesy Drone360 magazine, Drew Halverson
The FAA is working to streamline the faa.gov/uas website later this summer to enhance usability, so stay tuned — but it is still your one-stop-shop for all official UAS resources.
It may seem like we’re droning on here with a list of links, but these resources answer the majority of questions that come into the FAA. The process of earning your remote pilot “wings” is the number one concern from citizens, but as explained here, you may not need that if flying under model aircraft rules for recreational/hobbyist purposes. Our goal is to safely integrate UAS into the airspace with manned aircraft, and we want to ensure that everyone can fly in the NAS.
Paul Cianciolo is an assistant editor and the social media lead for FAA Safety Briefing. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, and a rated aircrew member and public affairs officer with Civil Air Patrol.
This article was originally published in the May/June 2017 issue of FAA Safety Briefing magazine.