Tips for passing sUAS part 107 test
Getting your FAA certificate to fly drones commercially requires a series of steps and study.
If you study hard for a few weeks you can pass this test without paying for expensive training.
Below you will find processes, resources and notes I used during my study.
This guide is intended to be ancillary to your main studies.
The test itself costs $150 which you are required to pay when you register for the test. You must be 16 years old and have a proper ID (driver's license works).
You must renew your certification every 2 years. The TSA will run a background check on you.
Steps to follow.
You will be issued a temporary certificate. You can then register your drone for commercial use (https://registermyuas.faa.gov/) and begin flying. It can take months to receive official license from the FAA.
The FAA provides an official study guide for this test. It’s not perfect but it’s the most important free resource you have. Print it out. Read it entirely. Highlight things you don’t understand or know. Go back to them and reread until you understand.
FAA study guide
Here’s an additional small course online to help as well
Once you feel you fully understand all the material in the study guide go through the sample questions that the FAA provides
It is extremely important that you do not just memorize answers. You must understand exactly why you got the answer wrong as the questions on the test will be similar but not exactly the same.
Airport communications/weather reports are one of the trickier things to learn for the test. You can download apps to listen to local air traffic control communications. This can be valuable to test your understanding
This section contains notes I used to study. It's by no means the entire list of what you need to know but should help.
- Must have FAA certification to fly commercially
- Must register any small UAS that is greater than 0.55 lbs (about 2 sticks of butter) with the FAA($5)
- Must have registration number on visible or easily accessible area of craft
- If the owner is less than 13 years of age, UAS must be registered by a person who is at least 13 years of age.
- UAS must weigh less than 55 (with any cargo)
- Cannot fly above 400 ft
- Must notify airports if within a 5 mile radius
- Check for any flight restrictions before flying
- Can not flying directly above people not involved in the operation
- Remote PIC (Pilot in Command) must ensure that the small UAS is in a condition for safe operation prior to flight.
- Always have a plan in place. Especially if you are relying on automations
Certain personality/behavior types create risk during flight.
- Macho - “Hey watch this” is a red flag
- Resignation - Belief that they aren’t in control of their actions. Outcomes only happen because of luck(good or bad). May say yes just to be nice or please a customer even if it’s unsafe
May cause you to reduce drone weight
- High density altitude conditions
- High elevations
- High air temperatures
- High humidity
- Runway/launch area length
- Surface wind
- Presence of obstacles
- Load factor increases very rapidly after a bank has reached 45° or 50°.
- Increased load factor can affect the aircraft’s structural integrity and increase in stall speed.
- As bank angle increases angle of attack needs to increase to maintain a level flight, however there is a critical angle of attack which is when stalls occur
Factors that affect risk management & sUAS performance:
- Atmospheric pressure and stability
- Wind and currents
- Uneven surface heating
- Visibility and cloud clearance
Effects of structures
- Winds blowing towards a building may cause updrafts(sUAS may “balloon”)
- Winds blowing over the building from the other side can cause downdrafts(sUAS may “sink”)
- Vegetation, forests and water generally absorb heat. This can create downdrafts.
- Exposed ground, recently plowed areas, sand, barren land gives off heat which can cause updrafts.
- If flying during twilight, must use anti-collision lights.
- Lights must be visible for 3 statute miles.
- may reduce the intensity of the lighting for safety reasons
- twilight is sunset until 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise until sunrise
- Flying at night requires a waiver
Misc. Operating Limitations.
- Must have visibility of at least 3 statute miles
- Must be at least 500 feet below clouds and at least 2000 feet away from the cloud horizontally.
- Binoculars/Visual aids may only be used very briefly to enhance situational awareness. Think safety(avoiding other aircraft, flying over people etc)
- Cannot fly faster than 100 miles per hour(87 knots)
- Must stay under 400 feet above ground level.
- Unless you are within 400 foot of a structure. In doing so you cannot fly more than 400 feet higher than the highest point on that structure.
- Class G airspace - no need for permission or authorization.
- Class B,C and D - Need authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC)
Temporary Flight Restrictions
- No flying if TFR in place in your area
- Check Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) every time before flying.
- Some Common TFRs:
- Emergency response
- Standing TFRs that are only in effect sometimes such as major sporting events.
Drones and Transportation
- You can control UAS from moving vehicle or boat if area is sparsely populated.
- If in moving vehicle you can’t be the driver and operating your drone.
- If transporting property via UAS for compensation, you may not operate from a moving vehicle.
- If transporting cargo with your UAS
- Weight must be under 55lbs
- Cannot cross state lines
- Cannot create hazards to people or property because of dropping objects
- Cannot operate from moving vehicle or boat
Drugs and alcohol
- Cannot operate if had any alcoholic within 8 hours
- Cannot operate if blood alcohol level is .04 or higher
- Cannot operate if on any drug that affects physical or mental state
- Can apply for waivers for exceptions to the rules.
- Must be submitted 90 days or more prior to use.
- Common Waivers
- Operation at night
- Line of sight requirement
- Operating over people
- Operating multiple drones
- Operating in normally disallowed airspace
- If an emergency situation you may deviate from rules.
- Lithium batteries are highly flammable and can self-ignite.
- Can experience thermal runway
- Protect batteries and prevent short circuits by storing them individually
- Must report any flying incidents within 10 days
- Can report electronically
- Can report by phone to “FAA Regional Operations Center” or the nearest “Flight Standards District Office(FSDO)”
- Damage over $500 has to be reported
- Have to report any “Serious Injury” - Some examples include
- Head Trauma
- Broken Bones
- Injury requiring stitches
- You are responsible for complying with state and local laws not just the FAAs
- “Stable air” can have poor surface visibility
- Small flags on maps are a VFR checkpoint. Expect high amounts of air traffic
- Line of latitude = degrees north and south from equator
Common sense rules
- Notify neighbors
- Check Wind/Weather before flying
- Checklists for everything
- Research local, county/state rules on drones
Thank you and good luck!