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How to get your drone license 2024


person holding a drone

Introduction

Everyone in the United States is required to hold some form of Certificate to fly drones

legally. It’s imperative that people obtain their certificates before they fly so they can understand the many safety considerations and avoid any potential issues. For recreational flyers they will go through The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) which is available to everyone through a straightforward process online. For people looking for fly drones commercially, they’ll have to get their Part 107 Certificate, which is more involved than TRUST but is very important. This article will discuss the types of certificates, which one you want, and how to get your drone license.


Which one is right for me?


TRUST is for anyone just looking to fly for fun, this encompasses most hobbyists and

people who buy mini drones from box stores. However, the FAA defines a commercial operation as anyone using drones with a purpose “in furtherance of a business”. This means that you don’t necessarily have to make money to be operating under Part 107. For example, if you fly for your local food bank and they use the photos to help generate donations, that is under Part 107. It can be confusing to know if your operations fall under Part 107 so check out the info here to learn more. We encourage everyone who wants to fly seriously to get their Part 107, even if they think they might not fly for profit. Part 107 pilots can better navigate the drone industry and will be better equipped to have success in their flights.


Recreational Certification (TRUST)


Flying for fun is the core of the drone industry and it’s been made easy and accessible

for everyone to fly safely as a hobbyist. To get your TRUST certificate you will take a short

course and pass a short test, all online. It takes about 2 hours to complete and is completely

free. (P.S. you can take the test as many times as you want; you can’t fail.) Once you are done,

you’ll have your certificate to print out and keep with you while you fly.


You must take the TRUST course and exam through an FAA approved educational entity. You can find the list of them here, but we recommend Pilot Institute. They are very concise and professional and are one of the first TRUST providers established.






Commercial Certification (Part 107)


Part 107 is the common name referring to the federal law that small, unmanned aircraft

are regulated by (14 CFR Part 107.) Getting you Part 107 certificate is more involved than the

simple TRUST program, but it’s required by law to fly commercially. It’s a small investment into a huge opportunity in the commercial drone industry. It's fundamental to your drone business so take it seriously and you’ll become a knowledgeable and safe pilot.


The exam is very technical and quite involved, so having the right resource to learn and



study from is important. There are free YouTube videos on the Part 107 test, but we do not

recommend taking this route. The regulation around drones is ALWAYS CHANGING, and these videos usually don’t keep up. They also miss critical information because they cram the content into a 1–2-hour video.


Again, we recommend Pilot Institute, their Part 107 course is bullet proof. Not only is it

constantly updated, but they have gotten tens of thousands of pilots their Part 107 certificate. They have a vast array of additional resources and practice tests to help you pass the first time,and with a great score.


However, for people looking for more than just the Part 107 information and want to

learn how to create a successful drone business and turn “their passion into profit” we

recommend Drone U. They are by far the highest value of education in the drone industry. They have over 40 courses that not only get you licensed, but also teach you how to fly and create the systems of a successful business. The people from Drone U teach from experience and have a great community of industry professionals. They are also unique in the fact that they hold in-person training for those looking to accelerate their business.




How to take the test


The Part 107 exam is held at in-person testing facilities hosted by the company PSI.

You’ll register online, and then show up for the exam held at a highly secure testing facility.

What do I mean by highly secure? As someone who has taken many state exams in high school and college, those tests are child’s play compared to PSI. The PSI center I used to pass the exam had everyone sign in with a lady that made you put all belongings in a locked bag that must stay under your chair, and they check under your sleeves, pant legs, and glasses to make sure you aren’t cheating. The room is dead silent, and each computer stall has a camera overhead. The security is understandable, as I overheard multiple people there say they are taking tests for the FBI. Safe to say, there is no cheating your way through this test, so make sure you know the content before you sign up for it. Don’t let this discourage you, the exam is easy if you’re prepared. You can take the test multiple times, but it costs ~$175 each try. And you can be put on hold for further attempts if you fail too many times. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the test in the courses recommended above, and you will pass your first time if you focus and practice.


Closing

Everyone needs a certificate to fly, and for those looking to get their Part 107 it can be

challenging. But the right tools will bring you great success and there is a passionate and

vibrant community out there to help you. Make sure to check out our other articles on the drone industry and watch our videos on this topic, subscribe to the blog for the latest in the drone world!





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