The Process to Successfully Passing FAA Part 107 Drone Testing

The Process to Successfully Passing FAA Part 107 Drone Testing

I certainly didn’t set out on this process fully understanding what I would need to do in order to fly my new drone on the golf course and even now being able to do that seems a bit hazy at best.

I started out purchasing a drone. I am certainly of the opinion that you get what you pay for and so while many times I buy the more expensive I feel in the long run it tends to save me money. After looking at all the available options I selected the Inspire one from DJI. While expensive I also wanted to have the technology needed to avoid my drone getting taken away in the wind, taking some hard crash landings (could still happen), but also I loved the video quality and image stability in many of the videos I looked at before deciding.

Being someone that typically researches everything before he buys there was one thing I missed. Our golf course happens to be in a no fly zone.

    Disney No Fly Zone

Which in this case means 2 things you need a waiver both from the FAA and authorization from Disney to fly in the airspace. Also if you are flying your drone for work or commercially you are required to pass Part 107 . So having purchased the drone and being determined to get it in the air I set myself on the path. In addition we were working on also implementing the Agronomic Drone from Greensight Agronomics. Our plan, being very data driven, was to utilize their drone to help dial in our wet and dry areas around the course which can be easily quantified into cost savings and during the time using it determine it’s other uses and potential savings to help justify it’s long term viability at our operation. However, again enter the issue of the no fly zone. While regulations continue to get changed and updated regarding this it has complicated even Greensight’s program. While they fly the drone remotely the FAA still requires there be a Remote PIC on the ground which also required one of us pass part 107.

I am a visual person and reading a bunch of text regarding charts, maps, airspace and regulations is tough for me. For one I am not trying to be a pilot and so reading the stuff is of very little interest so retaining it is even tougher. So I enrolled in King Schools (I recommend it). The course was self paced (took me about a month) that walked through each area of the exams via video explanations as well as a practice test at the end of each section. One that required you to get all the answers correct before moving on. It cost $99 but also guarantees you pass the exam or you get a refund. I went through the entire course and then after completing it spent a week utilizing Prepware’s Remote Pilot App (thanks to Thomas Bastis at California Club for suggesting this one). The app asks exam questions, random, and gives you a score after you have taken all 60. I went through all 60 2 -3 times per day the week before the exam. Then I looked for material to study on the areas I was having a tough time understanding (air space for me).  During the week I was scoring about 75% average on the app toward the beginning of the week and toward the end was at around 90%. In order to pass the test you have to score 70% or better.

I went online to locate test sites where I could take the test and you will want to schedule this as soon as you finish the King Schools classes because you will want all the info fresh in your mind. Once you get to the school you need 2 forms of ID (drivers license and I brought a water bill). At my test site I wasn’t allowed to take anything in the room with me all items I would need were provided. I would certainly recommend you knowing everything you can about airspace and reading the maps as many of my questions were mostly on that part.

Once you pass the test you are given a piece of paper with your test id, score, etc. After 2 days the FAA will have the results in their database and you can use that paper to register and submit for your license. I also used this time to officially register my drone as well which cost $5. If for some reason you don’t pass the test I believe you are able to retake it after 14 days. The cost for each test is $150 so I would recommend only having to pay that once! 🙂

 

 

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