It’s the aerial entrepreneur’s first time being slapped with the reality of government regulation. The dreaded Part 107 certification. It’s a necessary “evil.” Whether you are new to the game or you have taken the Part 107 test before, this article will touch on the importance of attaining a Part 107 certification before flying commercially and provide some leads for where you can find the best study materials for the initial and recurrent versions of the test.
There are two versions of the Part 107 exam — initial knowledge and recurrent knowledge. The initial knowledge is exactly what it sounds like, a test of your initial remote aviation knowledge. This test is standard for all remote pilots upon their first attempt at Part 107 certification. The recurrent knowledge test is the reexamination that every commercial pilot must pass every two years in order to maintain their Part 107 certification. The difference between these two tests is relative to the content on which the pilot is being assessed. The initial knowledge test goes over the basics for the most part, with higher-level principles sprinkled in; whereas the recurrent knowledge test mostly goes over higher-level principles with the basics sprinkled in for review.
Why is the Part 107 certification so important when it comes to commercial flight?
The Part 107 test is an assessment of a pilot’s practical and technical knowledge of remote aircraft flight. This goes beyond what your fingers do “behind the sticks.” It gets into the very important, but often overlooked, processes of conducting a responsible and safe flight such as:
- Pre-Flight Checklists
- Airspace Classifications
- Sectional Chart Comprehension
- Flight Authorization
- Reading METARs and TAFs
- Flight Risk Assessment
- Emergency Flight Protocol
- Restrictions & Waivers
That’s just to name a few. When it comes to flying a drone commercially, you may be asked to fly under conditions you wouldn’t normally fly as a hobbyist or fly in an area that might require knowledge of airspace classifications and the permissions you need to fly within them. Having a Part 107 certification means you are prepared to answer questions a client might have about the flight, how it will be conducted, and what can or cannot be accomplished based upon their requests.
Here’s the deal, I have had the privilege to speak to many talented cinematographers, content creators, photographers, and pilots over the last three years. Of those talented people, a surprising number either didn’t understand that they were required to have a Part 107 certification to fly commercially or, even worse, they didn’t care. That’s a huge problem within our industry as it creates airspace that is potentially unsafe and, frankly, an unfair playing field for those of us who took the time to study for and earn our Part 107 certification.
If you are looking to earn your Part 107, but need to study up on the material, take a look at some of these online resources linked below:
Many of these courses have a money-back guarantee. You may not get a complete refund, but it’s nice to know that they do insure your results at some capacity rather than none at all.
It’s crucial that everyone with the intention of flying their UAV for commercial purposes (i.e. “in furtherance of a business”) needs to attain their Part 107. Not only is it the right thing to do, it makes you a better airman and increases your knowledge of the airspace in which you are navigating. This will pay dividends for you as regulations grow more and more stringent and require a more comprehensive understanding of how to fly safely.