Ten Challenges Getting Your Part 107 Drone License

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Getting your FAA Part 107 Drone license can be easy if you don’t mind reading and studying. The problem is with the massive array of websites, jargon and material that must be found, organized and processed. When I prepared for my test, I searched the internet for information about the Part 107. I easily found the FAA Study Guide and was able to download it, but quickly realized it was written back in 2016 and didn’t contain important new information which I knew would be on my test!

As I continued my quest, I was surprised to find a good number of broken links, even on the FAA websites which made the process even more frustrating. When it was all over and I received my Commercial Drone License, I felt like I should put together some kind of notes that might help other people navigate the process and that’s where The Drone Guild came from.

Ten Challenging Issues

Beyond getting all of the websites and information gathered so you can begin your journey there are a number of issues which people find challenging. Let me tell you what they are and provide a little bit of guidance.

1 – FAA Regulations

Without question, the FAA has a crazy amount of regulations you must be familiar with. This is the area of study where you will do the bulk of your reading. Here’s a little trick that might help you understand things better. Keep all of this regulatory information in a 30,000 foot perspective. What I mean is that the FAA Regulations are there for a reason and that reason will be focused largely on safety. That’s the big picture. With this perspective, you can see how all the pieces fit together and why a particular regulation might exist. Regulations lead to rules, rules lead to laws and all that can be a bit dry to read and process. Asking, “Why does this regulation exist?” Can make the learning process more like a game and maybe even add a little fun to the pursuit.

2 – Technical Jargon

Wow! There is so much jargon used in the aviation industry. There are tons of acronyms like ATC, ATIS, sUAS, etc. This fact, alone is enough to drive a person stark raving mad! But it doesn’t have to. Mastering the lingo actually comes easier with use. Just immerse yourself in the industry and the language will come automatically. I have a grammar cheat sheet on my website that you can download and use to help you through the pain points. Beyond the grammar of the aviation industry, you will need to be familiar with airspace classifications, meteorology, and other aeronautical concepts.

3 – Aeronautical Concepts

After the jargon come the things named by the jargon. You will learn a ton about aviation materials that are available planning your drone operations. Things like Airspace Charts (Sectionals), TFR’s (Temporary Flight Restrictions), and NOTAMs (Notices to Airman) are just some of the things you will want to be using as you plan your preflight and fly your missions. All of these are available in digital format. You will need to know where to go and how to find them.

4 – Weather

Across all aspects of aviation, including drone operations, weather plays a critical role. You can’t fly if the winds are too high or the visibility is too low. It’s better to know before you go. With that in mind, you need to know how to read weather charts and advisories and where to find them online. Once again, having these things at your fingertips is always helpful. Learn to love bookmarks.

5 – Flight Operations

For the FAA Part 107 Test, you will be required to demonstrate solid knowledge of how to handle all aspects of flight operations including emergencies, and malfunctions. You will need to know what your responsibilities are for flying over crowds, moving vehicles, and flying at night. The good news is that most of this is common sense. If you continue to remember that safety is paramount, you can always err on the side of caution.

6 – Airspace

Understanding the airspace in the United States can seem complicated at first, but once you get it, you got it. You may be familiar with the metaphor of an upside down wedding cake when learning about airspace. Understanding the “why” will help it make sense. (The further away from an airport you are, the higher the area of control needs to be.) I have a set of tools to help you remember what airspace is available for what operations. In certain types of airspace, you are required to get approval from ATC (Air Traffic Control). You need to learn how to identify airspace and when it is appropriate to get authorizations to fly in that airspace.

7 – Bookkeeping

As a professional drone pilot, you will be expected to keep logs of your drone flight times, pre-flight, checks, and maintenance. My subscribers have access to my log sheets available for download, so they don’t have to re-create the wheel.

8 – Communications

While we are not supposed to contact an airport via their radio frequency, we can listen to the Control Tower or other airport traffic channel. The best way to get local weather before your flight is to dial into the ATIS Service (Automated Terminal Information Service). At first these weather forecasts may seem like some more confusing jargon, but learning how to decode them is pretty cool. This is where that phonetic alphabet comes in. (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie….). Listening to plane to plane and plane to ground communications can be hard at first but eventually becomes second nature.

9 – Technical Skills

Flying a drone not only requires mental and physical skills, it also requires technical skills. While you might become a super good drone pilot, you will also need some pretty solid technical skills too. You need to be able to organize battery charging and rotation, simple maintenance on drones, and organization of all your paperwork. Small repairs such as propeller replacement and camera settings are all part of the program. Computer skills are a must! You will be learning about firmware, the software that controls the drone, website logins and more.

10 – Taking the Test

Are you a good test taker? The FAA part 107 Drone test is not a particularly hard test… if you have studied. The test is given in multiple-choice format with one answer typically obviously wrong. In preparation for this test, that prep will include two or three sample tests. These are provided to help you understand what the real test will be like. Make sure you take advantage of those practice tests. Doing this will give you a lot of confidence when you go into the real test.

My experience preparing for the Part 107 Drone Pilot Test.

In retrospect, the overall learning of the material was not terribly hard or difficult; it was just getting all of the materials and links together so that I could learn it. There are excellent online training courses available for free or for paid. I’ve never seen a bad one. While The Drone Guild does not directly provide training, the Step-by-Step information presented in “The Path” will save you hours of time as you navigate the most difficult part of this process — pulling all the information together.

Click the button below to visit “The Path.” There you will see that I have reduced everything to a point and click operation that’s going to have you flying legally in quick order.






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