Aeronautical Knowledge and Safety Test

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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.

Become a Drone Pilot

In order to fly your drone under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule (Part 107), you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. This certificate demonstrates that you understand the regulations, operating requirements, and procedures for safely flying drones.

First-Time Pilots


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 1: Study for the Aeronautical Knowledge and Safety Test.

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)*

  1. Register using the FAA IACRA system
  2. Login with username and password
  3. Click on “Start New Application” and 1) Application Type “Pilot”, 2) Certifications “Remote Pilot”, 3) Other Path Information, 4) Start Application
  4. Follow application prompts
  5. 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)
  6. 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.

35 Comments on “Aeronautical Knowledge and Safety Test”

  1. Has anyone provided for those of us that fly, but are disabled and are not able to roam the Wilderness Areas? Handicapped or not I am Flying. I will demand my rights and pursue Legal Remedies for failure to comply.

    1. The recreational pilot test is being developed and is not yet a requirement for the hobby pilot. However, the FAA still mandates that you must abide by the rules of drone flight – register, label etc. before flight.

    2. The recreational pilot test is being developed and is not yet a requirement for the hobby pilot. However, the FAA still mandates that you must abide by the rules of drone flight – register, label, etc. before flight.

  2. I have a drone that weighs 80g including the battery, when calculating the weight to determine if it meets the .55 gram threshold, must I include the weight of the battery?

  3. How do you sign up for an FAA notification for when the test is ready, do you have a link? It’s hard to find anything concrete online, some sites say the test came out in May? Some say its not out yet.

    1. We do not know of any specific signup notification for when the aeronautical knowledge and safety test for hobby fliers will be released. There will be an announcement and press release when this has changed.

  4. I registered with the FAA and registered my drone, are you saying that as of now, I am allowed to fly without passing the test, since it’s yet to be developed? I just want to know if I’m okay to fly in the beaches of Maui, Hawaii.

    thanks for your time.

  5. I have registered my drone with FAA. To fly for recreational purposes, am I required to take the pilot test?

  6. First Time Pilots, Eligibility, TSA security background check requirement.

    If available, suggest that applicant be permitted to utilize their individual TSA Known Traveler Number as a substitute for required TSA background check.

    Such an option would meet federal paperwork reduction requirements.

  7. I am a registered Drone Hobby pilot. I wish to take the Knowledge Test when available so that I may continue to fly my drone as a legal hobbyist pilot. My drone is marked on the exterior with the FAA issued certificate number as required and I carry my Registration card on my person. My card was issued in 2017 and expires this year 2020. Please inform me as soon as possible of my requirements so as to be up to date and legal. Thank you.

    1. Thomas, the Aeronautical Knowledge and Safety Test has yet to be finalized. Please check back often for updates. I can assure you they are coming.

  8. Hello, I have been an FAA registered recreational drone pilot since 12/21/2015 as well as an RC aircraft flyer for years and have just renewed my Drone registration. As a retired FAA Aviation Safety employee, I have always observed all published safety guidelines for recreational flyers from the AMA and FAA since, except the latest exception for recreational flyers: Passing an aeronautical knowledge and safety test. I do not see availability of the test as of 6/19/2020 but I eagerly await it’s release and assume registered recreational flyers will be notified at that time through the FAA’s current registration information on file. I look forward to taking test and remaining a safety conscious recreational flyer. Thank you!

  9. It is now December 3, 2020. Is the aeronautical knowledge and safety test available yet? How will you let us know?

  10. Hello. Has the online aeronautical knowledge and safety test for recreational drone pilots been released yet? I’m having a hard time finding it. Thank you.

  11. It has been over a year since the FAA was required to develop an aeronautical knowledge and safety test for recreational drone pilots. What is the status of the test development?

  12. Although much of the same principles and rules may apply, there are inherent differences between drone flight and commercial airplane flight. And therefore, when the test is released, you will more than likely need to also stay current on the drone aeronautical and safety as well.

  13. I know from reading the previous comments that the test for recreational drone fliers hasn’t been implemented yet, but can I get a notice of even approximately when it might be?

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