More than 100,000 drone enthusiasts have obtained a Remote Pilot Certificate to fly a drone for commercial and recreational (not qualifying as “model aircraft”) use since the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) small drone rule went into effect on August 29, 2016. A small UAS includes a small unmanned aircraft, weighing less than 55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft.
Under Part 107, the person actually flying a drone – formally an “unmanned aircraft system” (UAS) – must have a Remote Pilot Certificate, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. According to the FAA, the exam success rate is 92%. The majority of drone pilots get certified by studying online materials (PDF) and then passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA approved knowledge testing center (PDF).
Remote Pilot Certificates are valid for two years from the date of issue. Anyone who earned their certificate at the end of August or in September 2016 should review the certification renewal requirements and prepare to take recurrent training or testing. You can find all the information you need to renew your certificate on the FAA’s website.