Part 107 tests for commercial drone operators became available for the public to take this week. So what is the FAA Part 107 test actually like?
I have yet to take the test myself (as I still have some studying to do), but I called my friend Abby Speicher, who also happens to be the CEO and co-founder of DARTdrones, a drone training company that provides both in-person and online training for the Part 107 test.
Editor’s note: While Ms. Speicher is the CEO of FAA training course DARTdrones, this is not a sponsored post and this post is not intended to specifically promote or endorse DARTdrones. There are dozens of Part 107 training courses, a few of which are listed here. However, DARTdrones is offering a promo code to readers (noted at the end of this post).
Drone Girl: Let’s start by you walking us through what happened when you go there.
Abby Speicher: I went to a local airport, Hanscom Field in Massachusetts, which I had never been to before. I expected it to be a strict testing center. It was cool to see the private jets, and everyone at the test center was really nice. I got there at 8 a.m. on Monday, which was interesting because they said the FAA hadn’t sent them any test materials until just then (when the tests were made available) because it was so secretive.
DG: How many other people were there testing?
AS: No one else was there. They had 5 pilots testing on Monday and 30 all week. They were surprised it was that many!
DG: What was the test process like?
AS: You sign something and your driver’s license signature needs to match. Then you go to the computers. They leave you alone with the FAA testing supplement where they pull all the figures from.
You also get a pen and paper while testing, which I didn’t use, and you can bring a calculator, which I think I just used once.
You have two hours, but I was there for an hour and 10 minutes. You immediately get to see your grade and which questions you got wrong.
DG: And I hear you passed! Congrats! What were the questions like?
AS: It was a lot harder than I expected.
A lot of people on the Facebook groups said you don’t need to study, and it will be just like the sample questions the FAA gave. It really was questions pulled from Private Pilot Ground School. It was questions people had seen before in private pilot ground school courses, but modified slightly for drones.
DG: What were the challenging parts?
AS: Weather was the hardest. there were probably 6-8 weather questions.
DG: What about the chart section?
AS: There were 20 questions on charts. Definitely understand chart study. If you didn’t bother studying that, you would just miss 20 questions.
DG: So how did you study?
AS: I did the online DARTdrones course, which helped me learn and understand all the topics. Then I went and did the in-person course, and I realized how helpful it is to have the flight instructors give you personal anecdotes and nitty gritty stories that really help you remember the material.
DG: What advice would you give to other people trying to study?
AS: Even if you don’t take a DARTdrones class, have a pilot explain the concepts like weather and charts to you. This test isn’t easy, and it helps to have someone with that background explain it to you.
Also, every person I’ve talked to has received different questions. Honestly, if it was the same 60 questions you probably would already see them posted online.
The FAA really wants you to understand it as a whole. Definitely take it seriously and prepare. Don’t just take the test to pass, but to really understand it. We are all FAA pilots now.
Editor’s note: While Ms. Speicher is the CEO of FAA training course DARTdrones, this is not a sponsored post and this post is not intended to promote or endorse DARTdrones. There are dozens of Part 107 training courses, a few of which are listed here. However, DARTdrones is offering a promo code to readers of this post: