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Want To Become a Drone Pilot: How Hard Is The Written Exam?


Writing any aviation exam is hard and for many people, this may be the first time they experience writing an FAA exam. It is not something you can just walk into and expect to pass! The FAA is serious about all forms of aviation and becoming a Drone Pilot is no different.

The FAA CFR Part 107 drone pilot exam is a difficult exam to pass and requires study in areas of Rules & Regulations, Airport Operations, Weather, Airspace, Flight Operations & Sectional Charts. There are many great online training courses designed to study, practice, and pass the exam with success.

Knowing what is in the test and which training material to use to study and prepare for the written examination is key to ensuring your time and money are not wasted. Read on to find out what to expect…

Does Everyone Need a Drone Pilot License?

Since June 21st 2016, to operate a drone weighing under 55lb (25kg) for hire or reward the FAA requires the pilot to own a Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small UAS Rating.
The regulations that cover drone operations can be found under 14 CFR Part 107.

To qualify for this certificate an individual must:

  • Be over 16 Years Old
  • Have either:
    • A pilot certificate other than a Student Pilot Certificates issued under Part 61, &
    • Pass a Flight Review with the previous 24 months, &
    • Complete a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA
  • or:
    • Pass the UAS Knowledge Written Examination, &
    • Have a Background Check completed by the FAA

The latter is what is most common to applicants with no pilot license or previous aviation training or experience.

To apply for UAS Certificate an applicant needs to Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test at an FAA-Approved Knowledge Testing Center.

You can find the nearest Testing Center to you HERE.

What Is On The Written Exam?

Operating any aircraft requires certain knowledge to operate it safely without causing harm to persons or property. To gain that knowledge the written test will cover the following areas:

  • 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
Is This Legal??

The exam itself is made up of 60 multiple-choice questions randomly taken from a large question bank to ensure no two exams are the same. The candidate will have 2 hours to complete the exam and needs a score of 70% or higher to pass. The test fee is usually around $150.

You will be informed immediately after finishing of your score.

The only items you will be allowed to take into the exam room are reading glasses and all reference materials, pencil and scrap paper will be provided to you by the exam administrator.

How To Prepare For the Written Exam?

Any FAA examination can be hard and I’ve done enough of them over my career to know! But with the right study material and practice tests, any candidate can walk into the testing center confident they will walk away with a pass. Most students will spend a few weeks with approximately 20-30 hours studying and preparing for the knowledge written exam.

There are many online, paper, and DVD courses that offer training but the two providers that I Recommend are:

Drone Pilot Ground School focuses on providing you with the best knowledge training to not only allow you to easily prepare for the FAA Knowledge Written Exam but to equip you with the best training for your future Drone Pilot venture.

Click HERE To find out more about Drone Pilot Ground School

Use the Discount Code FLY50 to get $50 off your course


ABJ Drone Academy is a truly global drone training powerhouse. With drone training for every aspect and every pilot level, their range of training courses makes it easy to get the material you need.

They have courses tailored for the US, UK, and Indian Aviation Regulations.

Click HERE To find out more about ABJ Drone Academy

For many people who are new to aviation will find that during their study that there is a mountain of terms and acronyms that can really present a problem. The exam will involve some basic math, interpreting aviation weather reports, finding information off aeronautical charts, and a host of other skills that will need practice.

It is going to be a tough slog but it will be worth it if you wish to begin a career as a Drone Pilot!

What Jobs Can I Do As a Professional Drone Pilot?

One of the fastest emerging careers right now is Drone Pilots. For years, most of the aerial work that is now being completed by drones was once done by a cameraman in planes and helicopters, and trust me I have noticed the lack of aerial film and photography I am now doing!

To help you here are a few areas in which drones are emerging as the front-runners:

  • Real Estate & Property Photography
  • Construction & Mining Site Evaluation
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Wildlife Monitoring
  • Hazardous Area Analysis and Monitoring
  • Water Sampling
  • Agriculture and Forestry Surveying
  • Utility Network Surveying
  • Seeding & Pesticide Application
  • Aerial Film Making & photography
  • Insurance and Accident Surveying
  • Natural Disaster Surveying
  • Public and Special Event Safety and Monitoring
  • Journalism and Event Reporting
  • Life-Saving and Search & Rescue
  • Resupply and Emergency Delivery
  • Mail and Parcel Delivery
  • Education and Learning
  • Racing and Sports Events

This list is endless and each week more ways are being developed for using drones to increase efficiency, increased speed, and lower costs. It is a great time to become a Drone Pilot and it is a simple process to become one!


If you are also looking for specialist drone training courses then please check out the many courses available from
ABJ Drone Academy Here.


Great Starter Drone Packages

Getting started with a new Commercial Drone Venture is an exciting time and beginning with the right equipment is key. To help you here are a selection of some of the best Drones in the industry:

Budget Drones

When you want to upgrade from a toy drone to something more advanced and higher-quality then these budget drones are the next step.

Here are a selection of Budget Drones to suit your needs at DJI.com

Starter Drones

When an Budget Drone does not meet the next step in your aerial business then an upgrade to a more advanced, feature-rich Starer Drone is a great option, but without the price tag of the Professional Grade UAV’s.

Here are a selection of Starter Drones to suit your Business Needs at DJI.com

Professional Drones

When moving into the serious UAV market having professional grade, high-quality products are the back-bone of your business.

Here are a selection of Professional Drones to suit your Business Needs at DJI.com

To Finish

Learning to fly a drone for pleasure is a great way to start a career into Unmanned Aerial Vehicles but once you wish to begin earning money from it then you have to join the big leagues.

Getting certified is not a complicated process, it just requires a little bit of time, a little bit of money, and some hard work and you can soon be sending your asset into the skies to capture some incredible footage.

For some more information on the FAA Part 107 UAV regulations be sure to check out this link:
FAA Drone Information Page – Click Here

Rick James

I am an aviation nut! I'm an ATP-rated helicopter pilot & former flight instructor with over 3500 hours spanning 3 countries and many different flying jobs. I love aviation and everything about it. I use these articles to pass on cool facts and information to you whether you are a pilot or just love aviation too! If you want to know more about me, just click on my picture!

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