Skip to page content

Become a Drone Pilot

In order to fly your drone under the FAA's Small UAS Rule (Part 107), you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. This certificate demonstrates that you understand the regulations, operating requirements, and procedures for safely flying drones.

Are you a first time pilot or an existing Part 61 Certificate holder?

Do you need to renew your certificate?

First-Time Pilots

Eligibility

To become a pilot you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a drone
  • Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam

Requirements for Remote Pilot Certificate:

  • Must be easily accessible by the remote pilot during all UAS operations
  • Valid for 2 years. Certificate holders must pass a recurrent knowledge test every two years

Navigating the Process to Become a Drone Pilot:

Step 1: Schedule an appointment with a Knowledge Testing Center (PDF) which administer initial and recurrent FAA knowledge exams. Be sure to bring a government-issued photo ID to your test.

Step 2: Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge test. Knowledge test topic areas include:

  • Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
  • Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
  • Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
  • Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
  • Emergency procedures
  • Crew resource management
  • Radio communication procedures
  • Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
  • Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
  • Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
  • Airport operations
  • Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures

Step 3: Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*

  1. Register using the FAA IACRA system
  2. Login with username and password
  3. Click on "Start New Application" and 1) Application Type "Pilot", 2) Certifications "Remote Pilot", 3) Other Path Information, 4) Start Application
  4. Follow application prompts
  5. When prompted, enter the 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID (NOTE: it may take up to 48 hours from the test date for the knowledge test to appear in IACRA)
  6. Sign the application electronically and submit for processing.

Step 4: A confirmation email will be sent when an applicant has completed the TSA security background check. This email will provide instructions for printing a copy of the temporary remote pilot certificate from IACRA.

Step 5: A permanent remote pilot certificate will be sent via mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete.

Step 6: Have your Remote Pilot Certificate available whenever you fly your UAS.

Existing Part 61 Certificate Holders

Eligibility:

  • Must hold a pilot certificate issued under 14 CFR part 61
  • Must have completed a flight review within the previous 24 months

Requirements for Remote Pilot Certificate:

  • Must be easily accessible by the remote pilot during all UAS operations
  • Valid for 2 years. Certificate holders must pass a recurrent knowledge test every two years

Navigating the Process to Become a Drone Pilot:

Step 1: Create an account, or log into your existing account, on the FAA FAASTeam website.

Step 2: Complete the online training course on the FAASTeam website: "Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems ALC-451." The test will cover these areas:

  • Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
  • Effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
  • Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
  • Emergency procedures
  • Crew resource management
  • Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
  • Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures

Step 3: Create an account, or log into your existing account, in IACRA.

Step 4: Complete Form 8710-13 in IACRA.

  1. Login with your username and password
  2. Select "Start New Application"
    1. Application Type – "Pilot"
    2. Certifications – "Remote Pilot"
    3. "Other Path Information"
    4. "Start Application"
  3. Follow application prompts
  4. When asked, enter your 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID
    1. NOTE: it may take up to 48 hours from your test date for your results to appear in IACRA
  5. Sign the application electronically

Step 5: Make an appointment with one of the following entities to validate your identity. Bring your completed Form 8710-13, proof of your current flight review, photo ID, and your online course completion certificate.

Please note: * CFIs cannot issue temporary certificates. They can process applications for applicants who do not want a temporary certificate.

Step 6: The representative will sign your application and issue you a temporary airman certificate.

  • You'll receive your permanent certificate via U.S. mail within several weeks.

Step 7: Have your Remote Pilot Certificate available whenever you fly your UAS.

Renewing Your Certificate

It's important for all pilots, including Certified Remote Pilots, to stay current and keep their knowledge up to date. That's why the FAA requires you to renew your Remote Pilot Certificate every 2 years. Learn how to renew your certificate.

Page last modified:

This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/become_a_drone_pilot/