manned pilot's license

Do you need to take the Part 107 test if you have a pilot’s license?

Next up in our “Ask The Drone Girl” series is about taking the Part 107 commercial drone operator test when you have a pilot’s license. Got a question for The Drone Girl? Submit it here.

Do I have to take FAA Part 107 test if I am already licensed as a commercial airplane pilot to fly a drone for hire?

Great question!

For the uninitiated, under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107, anyone wanting to operate a drone commercially needs to obtain a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.

People who do not currently have an existing manned pilot’s license will need to pass an in-person written exam.

But since you are already a licensed airplane pilot, it will be significantly easier for you to get a remote pilot certificate so you can operate drones for profit.

For people who already hold a pilot certificate issued under 14 CFR part 61, You simply need to complete the FAA’s online course, which will take you about two hours to complete. Note that you must have completed a flight review within the previous 24 months. Get more information on that process here.


The course is free, and anyone can access it, even if they do not have an existing pilot’s license. The course covers topics that manned pilots wouldn’t necessarily know, such as recommended drone maintenance procedures, effects of weather on drones and emergency procedures.

Once you complete the two-hour online program, you’ll receive a course completion certificate. From there, you can register in the FAA’s IACRA system as an “applicant,” providing your existing pilot’s license information in the application. Your FAA-issued permanent certificate will arrive in the mail within a few weeks.

Voila!

Don’t have a pilot’s license? You’ll have to take a test to get your remote pilot’s certificate.  Check out this guide running through everything you need to know when taking the Part 107 test, or read through my personal account of taking the test!

Happy flying!

4 Comments

  • Jason David Carroll says:

    how hard is the part 61 written exam if you have passed the part 107?

  • Matthew says:

    Looks like you have to actually meet with a CO or RI now after completing the IACRA. Not sure when they started that part but according to the training and once you are done your app at IACRA. This is the blurb from IACRA
    “PLEASE NOTE: Your application is NOT complete at this point. You must meet with a Recommending Instructor(RI) and/or Certifying Officer(CO) to complete your application. They will need your FTN. You will need these numbers (FTN and Application ID) to inquire about your application. If applicable, a knowledge test ID will need to be provided to your CO or RI. If you forget you FTN, just log in to IACRA and it will be at the top left of the Applicant Console.”

  • I have a question regarding this bit:
    “For people who already hold a pilot certificate issued under 14 CFR part 61, You simply need to complete the FAA’s online course, which will take you about two hours to complete. Note that you must have completed a flight review within the previous 24 months.”

    I have a pilots licence but I am not current, I have not done a flight review in the previous 24 months. Can I still add on to my existing licence? How do I proceed?

  • Matthew W Rebbert says:

    You will need to take the Part 107 class, pass the test, fill out the IACRA app. Then you will go see a CFI who will have to make you current (24 month review but remember since you will be PIC on the flight you need a valid medical or do the Basic Med stuff). Once you complete that the CFI will make you current in your log book and then validate your IACRA application. You will then sometime later (2 months for mine) get a new part 107 license separate from your PPL. I should note this is based on my experience and my understanding. If a CFI or the FAA tells you otherwise listen to them.

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