The FAA has issued a notice to operators of small unmanned aircraft (also referred to as drones) for recreational purposes must follow the rules in 14 CFR part 107 for FAA certification and operating authority unless they follow the conditions of the Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft, discussed in the Federal Register notice. The FAA refers to individuals operating under that statutory exception as ‘‘recreational flyers.’
There are 8 requirements that must be met to be considered a Recreational Operator. Of the 8 requirements, the 7th being that operators take and pass an Aeronautical Knowledge and Safety Test.
Section 7 reads:
The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and maintains proof of test passage to be made available to the Administrator or a designee of the Administrator or law enforcement upon request. Section 44809(g) requires the FAA to develop, in consultation with stakeholders, an aeronautical knowledge and safety test that can be administered electronically. This test is intended to demonstrate a recreational flyer’s knowledge of aeronautical safety knowledge and rules for operating unmanned aircraft. The FAA currently is developing an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and plans to engage stakeholders on its development through a public process. The FAA acknowledges that satisfying this statutory condition is impossible until the FAA establishes the aeronautical knowledge and safety test. For the reasons discussed earlier in this document, the FAA has determined this condition will apply only after the FAA develops and makes available the knowledge and safety test. Accordingly, during this interim period, recreational flyers who adhere to the other seven conditions under section 44809(a), may use the exception for limited recreational unmanned aircraft operations. The FAA will provide additional guidance and notice when the aeronautical knowledge and safety test is available and the date on which adherence to this condition is required.
To become a pilot you must:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
- Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a drone
- Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam
Requirements for Remote Pilot Certificate:
- Must be easily accessible by the remote pilot during all UAS operations
- Valid for 2 years. Certificate holders must pass a recurrent knowledge test every two years
Navigating the Process to Become a Drone Pilot:
Step 2: Pass the initial Aeronautical Knowledge Test. Knowledge test topic areas include:
- Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
- Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
- Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
- Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
- Emergency procedures
- Crew resource management
- Radio communication procedures
- Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
- Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
- Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
- Airport operations
- Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures
Step 3: Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
- Register using the FAA IACRA system
- Login with username and password
- Click on “Start New Application” and 1) Application Type “Pilot”, 2) Certifications “Remote Pilot”, 3) Other Path Information, 4) Start Application
- Follow application prompts
- When prompted, enter the 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID (NOTE: it may take up to 48 hours from the test date for the knowledge test to appear in IACRA)
- Sign the application electronically and submit for processing.
Step 4: A confirmation email will be sent when an applicant has completed the TSA security background check. This email will provide instructions for printing a copy of the temporary remote pilot certificate from IACRA.
Step 5: A permanent remote pilot certificate will be sent via mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete.
Step 6: Have your Remote Pilot Certificate available whenever you fly your UAS.