The Comprehensive Resource Guide to Part 107

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Knowledge of the Part 107 rules and restrictions has become an essential tool for commercial drone pilots. Ever since FAA enacted the Part 107 back in August 2016, thousands of drone pilots have been granted Part 107 remote pilot certificates, obliging them to abide by the Part 107 rules on commercial drone pilots.

Through the past years, we have written several guides and articles on the details of the Part 107 standards – its scope, how to apply for a drone license, and the restrictions imposed on commercial drone pilots. In this article, we consolidate all of this information to come up with a handy guide to Part 107. Whether you’re looking for tips on how to prepare for the knowledge test, or you’re a licensed drone pilot who wants clarifications on the finer details of Part 107, you will be sure to pick up valuable pieces of knowledge from this article.

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What is Part 107?

Our What is Part 107? article is a very basic introduction to Part 107. The article discusses the scope of the Part 107 rules and provides short summaries of the Part 107 restrictions and how to apply for the drone license.

Another good place to start is our guide on Everything You Need to Know about Commercial Drone Flight, which cites more specific examples of when you will be needing to fly with a Part 107 drone license. This article is a general introduction that touches on practically all aspect of the Part 107 requirements, including the qualifications for drone pilots, signing up for the knowledge test, how best to prepare, and what happens if you fail the test.

Our article on the Things You Need to Know about Part 107 answers some of the most commonly asked questions about Part 107. If you are curious about exceptions or whether there are still other rules you need to follow as a drone pilot aside from Part 107, then that article will be a very enlightening read.

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Should I get a Part 107 drone license?

A key aspect of the Part 107 rules is that they apply only to commercial drone flight. There are even particular drones that do not need to be registered with the FAA. Check out this article to know for sure if you even need to bother getting the Part 107 drone license: Do I Need a License to Fly a Drone?

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Although only somewhat related to Part 107, you may also want to check out or guide that asks Do I Need to Register My Drone? As mentioned, not all drones need to be registered with the FAA, so better make sure that your effort does not go to waste.

Before you even start the application process for a Part 107 drone license, ask yourself first if it is truly something you want to get. After all, there are pros and cons to getting a drone license. On one hand, you earn the peace of mind that you are doing commercial drone flight legally, and you get upgrades in terms of knowledge and business image. On the other hand, having a drone license costs a lot of time, money, and effort. Besides, the enforcement of the Part 107 rules has been poor for the last couple of years, invalidating the effort of drone pilots who follow the rules to the letter.

If you’re concerned about how much it would cost you to get a drone license, then check out The Costs of Getting a Drone License to get a detailed breakdown of just how much you might end up spending. There is also a lot of work and time involved, so you might want to plan ahead. Our article on ‘How Long does it Take to Get a Drone License?’ provides a nifty timeline of just how much time you will need from signing up for the knowledge test to getting your new remote pilot certificate.

For a comprehensive summary of the costs and benefits of getting a Part 107 drone license, it would be best for you read our article asking Is Getting a Part 107 Drone License Worth It? The article details the investment in terms of money and time that you will need to give to get a drone license, and contrasts them with benefits of having one. The drone license is no mere privilege – it comes with a lot of responsibilities. For a discussion of the new responsibilities you will be carrying when you get your drone license, you need to read our article on Getting a Drone License.

Prior to the release of the Part 107 rules, drone pilots were governed by the Section 333 rules of the FAA. Section 333 was much more complicated and was generally a license that was harder to secure. If you have a valid Section 333 license, find out if you still need to sign up for Part 107 in our article on Part 107 Certification vs. Section 333 Exemption.

Applying for a Part 107 remote pilot certificate

Read our guide on How to Sign Up for the Part 107 Test which gives a broad overview of all the steps you need to take to get you started in the Part 107 application process. If you are confused about where you can take the Part 107 knowledge test, then check out our article on the Part 107 Testing Centers. If you are outside of the United States and you want to take the knowledge test, then that article will probably answer all your questions.

Preparing for the Part 107 knowledge test

Preparing for the knowledge test is probably the single most time-consuming and demanding part of the whole Part 107 certification process. You can start by reading up on the topics that the knowledge test will cover (Part 107 Test Topics). Our primer on Passing the Part 107 Knowledge Test also provides details on what you need to study and what happens if you don’t pass the knowledge test. Our article that asks ‘What Score is Required to Pass Part 107?’ answers just how many questions you need to answer correctly to pass the knowledge test, and gives a brief description of what is going to happen on the day of the test.

You can then dive right in to our primer on Preparing for the Part 107 Knowledge Test, which provides a list of the available online resources that you can use to prepare for the test. Depending on your budget, you can opt to take a paid training course or settle with free tutorials and videos. There are also a couple of e-books and mobile apps that you can use. The article concludes with a few pointers on how to best prepare for the test, such as how much time you need and which topics to focus on.

Our article on Part 107 Training Courses and Classes lists down the best free and paid online training resource that you can use to prepare for the knowledge test, while also discussing their advantages and limitations. Recognizing that there are many budding drone enthusiasts that cannot afford the high costs associated with paid training courses, we have prepared A Free Study Guide for the Part 107 Knowledge Test and a sample list of Part 107 Test Questions. If you are relying on free training resources, these articles can augment the other free materials that you can reach elsewhere in the internet.

If you are willing to spend a good amount to ensure your chances of passing the Part 107 knowledge test, then you can take a look at our article that asks What Are Drone Flight Schools and Should I Enroll in One? Aside from discussing the merits of paid training courses in recognized drone flight schools, this article also provides a list of the best and most popular drone flight schools today. Pilot Institute offers the most comprehensive Part 107 course. It’s 12.5 hours long and they guarantee that you will pass on your first try. Drone Launch Academy and Drone Pilot Ground School are alternatives. We have reviewed the Part 107 courses of these two schools (Drone Launch Academy Review and Drone Pilot Ground School Part 107 Review) to help you decide which one works best with your learning style.

We have reached out to both Drone Launch Academy and Drone Pilot Ground School to provide discounts on their Part 107 training courses for the readers of this site, and they have happily obliged. Check out our article on Part 107 Coupons and Discounts for the referral links to avail of these discounts.

Taking the Part 107 knowledge test can be an extremely high-stress situation for most. After all, it takes a serious amount of effort and dedication to study on all the topics that the test covers. If you’re not quite confident in your test-taking skills, then check out our 11 Tips for Passing the Part 107 Test. These tips cover things that you can do before the test and during the test to help your chances of passing.

Part 107 restrictions

Once you have passed the Part 107 knowledge test and applied for the drone license, then congratulations! You are now officially an FAA-licensed drone pilot. As we have mentioned, this drone license gives you the privilege of using your drone for commercial purposes, but it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. As a licensed drone pilot, you will need to adhere to the restrictions set by the Part 107 rules.

Part 107 rules have a couple of restrictions on where and when you are allowed to fly a drone. Under normal circumstances, you cannot fly a drone at night (Can I Legally Fly a Drone at Night?), from a moving vehicle (Can I Legally Fly a Drone from a Moving Vehicle?), or over a populated area (Can I Legally Fly a Drone over People?). These are seen by the FAA as inherently risky situations that can lead to significant property damage of personal injury if the drone is operated by an inexperienced pilot.

The Part 107 rules also require that you maintain visual line of contact with your drone at all times. In situations where this is not possible, you will be required to have at least one visual observer (When is a Drone Visual Observer Required). In this article, we discuss what is expected of a visual observer and give several tips on how to best establish a good pilot-visual observer rapport.

Although not explicitly stated by the Part 107 rules, it is essentially prohibited to fly a drone over national parks and forests (Can You Fly a Drone in Parks, National Forests, and Wilderness Areas). Aside from national parks, this ban also covers monuments, historic sites, biking and walking trails, and other areas run by the National Park Service. Flying a drone over these areas pose significant risk, noise pollution, and disturbance of wildlife.

Applying for a Part 107 waiver

If you really must fly in situations that are restricted under Part 107, there are a couple of ways to skirt the rules. You can choose to remove your commercial drone pilot had and fly for leisure (Do You Always Have to Fly Under Part 107 Rules?). Take note that it can be very easy to blur the line between pleasure and business when it comes to drone flight, so be careful not to overstep your boundaries.

If you are running a drone-based service business, there may be times when commercial gigs require you to fly over restricted areas. Whether it involves covering an event that goes well into the night, or a routine inspection job that will involve operating a drone from a moving car, it’s still possible to do these jobs by applying for a Part 107 waiver.

Our article on How to Apply for a Part 107 Waiver details the circumstances where you’ll need to request for a waiver, the steps you need to take, and tips on how to improve the chances of your waiver application getting approved. Take note that most of the waivers that the FAA has approved are for flying at night. Most of the approved waivers were also filed by service-based organizations rather than individual pilots.

Getting a job as a commercial drone pilot

Having applied for a Part 107 drone license, you are probably considering making a profitable career using your drone flight skills. Our article on How to Make Money with Your Drone is a good primer on the types of services that you can offer as a drone pilot and describes how much you can potentially earn with a  drone-based business.

Getting a steady stream of good drone-based jobs starts with throwing your name out there and convincing potential clients that you’re the right drone pilot for the job. For a list of the best websites to start marketing your services, check our article ‘How Do I Get a Job as a Commercial Drone Pilot?’.

Hiring a Part 107-licensed drone pilot

Perhaps you are interested in running a drone-based business, but you are not a drone pilot yourself. It’s also possible for you to have reached a point that you need to expand your existing business, and you’ll need the services of other drone pilots. If these are familiar situations, then perhaps you should check out our article on How to Hire a Drone Pilot which enumerates the qualities you should be looking for in a drone pilot, and provides a few websites where you can look for candidates.

Renewing your Part 107 drone license

If you have already earned your Part 107 drone license, then you probably already know that it is valid for only 2 years. After the 2-year period, you will need to take and pass the recurrent knowledge test to renew your license. The recurrent knowledge test is a shorter version of the original Part 107 knowledge test with a smaller scope of topics. With a little preparation, passing the recurrent knowledge test should not be a problem for you. For the detailed guide, check out our article on Renewing your Part 107 Drone License.

Starting a drone business

For many people, the entire point of applying for a Part 107 drone license is so that they can start their own drone-based service business. One of the first decisions you need to make is which drone to buy. This decision will depend on the budget you are working with, as well as the specific service you intend to offer. For the best list of the newest models of professional drones, you can use our buying guide for the 15 Best Professional Drones of 2018 as a preliminary guide.

Aside from getting a Part 107 remote pilot certificate and buying a drone, one of the first steps you need to make as a budding drone entrepreneur is to get drone and liability insurance. These two types of insurance protect you from financial burden should you run into an accident while out on a commercial gig. The loss of your drone, significant property damage, and harm to a non-participating person, can spell the end of your business. To avoid such a situation, be sure to read our guide on How to Insure Your Drone.

Having done the steps needed to prepare for a drone-based business, it’s time to settle on a particular industry. The most common drone business is drone photography. It requires the very best camera drones and requires that you market yourself using an online portfolio. For similar tips, check out our article on How to Start a Drone Photography Business.

Real estate photography is also another branch of drone-based service that has been on the rise in the last couple of year. Using drone photography, real estate agents are able to show off their property to potential clients in ways that were not possible before. No longer do buyers need to look at low-resolution satellite images – the photos and videos taken by high-grade camera drones show an exceptional level of detail that is sure to help any aspiring homeowner to decide which property to buy. If this sounds like it’s right up your alley, then check out our Beginner’s Guide to Using Drones in Real Estate.

One aspect of running a drone-based business that new commercial drone pilots find difficult is setting a price for their services. After all, the drone-based service industry is still very young and does not yet have standards. To help you out in this matter, we have prepared a guide on How to Price your Drone Services. It basically involves summing up all your initial and recurring costs and offering your services at a markup. You will also need to consider how much your competitors are charging and adjust accordingly.

Final thoughts

As with starting any new endeavor, getting into the drone-based service industry can be daunting and a little overwhelming. In its second year of implementation, the Part 107 rules have been mostly successful in setting a standard for the level of knowledge and the best practices for commercial drone pilots. There are still a couple of gray areas, and enforcement definitely seems to be lacking, but we expect the FAA to improve on these in the coming years.

With the guides we have prepared here, we hope to help you beyond just securing your Part 107 remote pilot certificate. We want to see your drone-based careers and businesses thrive so that more and more people and organizations recognize how much potential this technology has. Figuratively and literally, the sky is the limit for drone technology.