Sunday, October 8, 2017

Studying and Passing the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate Test

In May 2017 I announced that I started a new company called,

Its my Drone Photography business and I have learned in the last year, that you cannot fly drones commercially without a Part 107 Remote Pilot License. 
Anyone who does, can be fined and jailed for doing so! 

So, not only did I have to learn how to pilot a very sophisticated aircraft capable of Ultra HD type videos and pictures, but I had to learn how to navigate the NAS (National Airspace System) which is governed by the FAA! 

So here is my journey on how I was able to complete my personal study and pass the exam and the steps to get my Certification, I hope you enjoy the ride!

First off, the best place to find any and all information on the Drone rules is to click on the FAA Logo above. This is the FAA site dedicated to everything drones. The top 6 documents labeled as Suggested Study Materials are exactly what you need to read and it is fairly dry reading, but its important to learn everything you can to be a safer pilot.

Before you purchase a drone, you should probably understand some of the basic rules of flight in your area. Click the link below to see the set of community guidelines for flying for fun!

So now you know where you need to go to get started flying the correct way.

Now for me it took about 2 hard weeks of studying but I was learning and reading over 5 months slowly, watching YouTube Videos, and taking practice tests to get familiar with the test materials.

So, if you are still interested in learning more about the test, then keep reading!

For me it was a great experience and I was lucky as I only needed to read 2 items to really understand what was needed to pass the Certification Exam and here is where you find them.

Click on the image above to get the Remote Pilot - sUAS Study Guide, this was the single most important document to help me learn.  The current version is from August 2016. This has everything except Airport signs and information and for that look at the next paragraph.

This is the ASA test prep guide. There are plenty of online tests, but this one explains everything and it has over 243 questions, many of which I saw on the exam! They have a newer version for 2018, and I am not sure how different it is, but mine was only $20 at my local Barnes and Noble. It also comes with 5 practice tests which were very close to the test as well. It really gets you ready to pass after you have studied the material and understand it.

For me Airspace, Weather and Weight and Balance were hardest to learn but there were plenty of Youtube Videos that I watched to learn about it.

Just type in YouTube what you having trouble with and it's there! I will tell you that one video was the best when getting close to the test. Tony hooks you up with everything you should know for the quick stuff. I watched this 2 times while studying and it was immensely helpful!

So now you have studied and you learned a lot. Now its time to schedule for the test. You must call the numbers below and then spend $150. If you fail you can't take the test for 14 days and then it will cost another $150, so know the material!!! The two closest testing centers to my home were the Dunkirk and Rochester airports as there is none in Buffalo. Click the link below to find a testing center in your state.

2-3 days before the exam, was a heavy cram for me. I spent any free time I had reading and testing myself. Writing down everything I didn't know and then studying it using my materials above, youtube and web searches. The Test is 60 questions and you can miss 18. It is all multiple choice with only 3 answers to choose from. You take it on a computer and you are given a supplement that you refer to for images, sectional charts and tables that are referenced on the test.

So after spending about $170 $($20 for the book and $150 for the exam), and about a total of 40 hours of studying, I took the test and passed with a 90!! If you can read and comprehend then you can easily pass the test without spending $200-$500 on an online flight school.

Below is my most used links to help you get the most from my searches for the best resources.

I use this site for all my pre-flight briefings!

Everything you need like -  NOTAMS, Weather Briefs/METARs/TAFs, Sectional Charts and TFR's. Critical to your pre-flight briefing.

Practice Tests

3DR has a great online test of 130 questions

Buy the book from above from Prepware, you get 5 free tests
These tests were the closest to the exam. Very helpful!!!

A bunch of users on Quizlet made flash cards!

There are several others but the 3 above were helpful to me.

Study Materials

On Facebook, Great support Group for Testing info



All of this should get you ready, but if you have any questions post a comment and I will try to give you the best answer! 

Good Luck!