Taking the Part 107 knowledge test is one of the more important steps mandated by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) before a commercial drone pilot is given a remote pilot certificate.
More commonly known as a drone license, a Part 107 remote pilot certificate is a requirement for pilots who are involved in commercial drone operations. Commercial drone applications refer to drone operations done to make money or to further a business, such as professional drone photography, constructions surveys, or land surveillance.
Before you can take the Part 107 knowledge test, you will have to make an appointment with either one of 2 companies that administer the test: Computer Assisted Training Service (CATS) or PSI (formerly LaserGrade).
Make sure to satisfy the basic requirements when you sign up: you will need to be at least 16 years of age, be able to read, write, speak, and understand English, and you must have a valid government-issued ID which bears you name, photo, birthday, address, and signature. You will also need to pay the test fee of $150.
Choosing a testing center
One thing you have to consider before you even sign up for the test is where you intend to take the test. You must take and pass the knowledge test in FAA-authorized testing center to be compliant with the Part 107 regulations.
Fortunately, the FAA has made it very easy to take the knowledge test at a nearby testing center. If you’re in the USA, there is bound to be a testing center conveniently located near you. Based on the FAA’s list as of the end of October 2017, there are 699 testing centers scattered across different states in the US. Even distant states such as Alaska and Hawaii have several testing centers.
I have chosen a testing center. How do I sign up?
Keep in mind that not all testing centers are served by both test administration companies, so you will have to pick one based on the testing center of your choice. You can make an appointment by calling, sending an email, or using their online request forms. The contact details of each company are listed below:
Computer Assisted Training Service (CATS)
Contact Number: 1-800-947-4428 / (844) 704-1487
Office hours: Monday to Friday, 5:30 AM to 5 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 7AM to 3:30 PM
PSI (formerly LaserGrade)
Contact Number: 1-800-211-2753
Email: [email protected]
Office hours: Monday to Friday, 5AM to 5PM; Saturday 5AM to 2PM
If this all sounds confusing, you can always just call the testing center of your choice and start from there. They can probably help you pick the company to call to set your appointment. Contact details for each testing center are conveniently provided in the list of testing centers maintained by the FAA.
But I’m outside the US. Can I take the test?
If you are outside the US, the only place that has an FAA-authorized testing center is the US territory of Guam. Unfortunately, there are no testing centers located outside US territories that are authorized by the FAA.
Do take note that the Part 107 drone license is recognized by the FAA and works only in the USA. Conversely, the FAA also does not recognize any foreign remote pilot certificate, as global drone flight certification standards are yet to be set.
A foreigner who wishes to secure an FAA-issued remote pilot certificate for commercial drone use will have to submit an application for foreign air carrier economic licensing by e-mail to the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of International Aviation, Foreign Air Carrier Licensing Division.
For further information concerning commercial drone operations by non –US citizens, it is best to consult the DOT’s Foreign Air Carrier Licensing Division.