Ask Drone Girl: what do I bring to the Part 107 test?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about what you need to bring to the Part 107 test. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

I am 15 years old, and going to be 16 in about two weeks. I have studied for the Part 107 test. I’m not exactly ready for it quite yet, but, I’m getting there (I have about 8 hours study time and counting).

But I do not have a ID, nor do I have my permit or such. What would I need to bring to the testing facility to verify myself?

-Emily

Hey Emily!

Happy soon-to-be-birthday, and good luck in advance on getting your Remote Pilot Certificate! It sounds like you’re putting in some great study hours. But for you, the hardest part in getting your drone pilot’s license under Part 107 might not actually be passing the test — it may be taking the test to begin with.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, you are required to bring a government-issued photo ID to your test. It sounds like you don’t have one yet, so make some time in your studying schedule to get one.

Your ID must include your photo, date of birth, signature, and physical residential address. Valid forms of ID for U.S. Citizen and Resident Aliens are:

  • Driver permit or license issued by a U.S. state or territory
  • U.S. Government identification card
  • U.S. Military identification card
  • Passport
  • Alien residency card

Valid forms of ID for Non-U.S. Citizens are:

  • Passport AND
  • Driver permit or license issued by a U.S. state or territory OR
  • Identification card issued by any government entity

How do I get a government-issued photo ID?

Get that ID soon, as it’s something mandatory to bring to the Part 107 test. Most people will use a driver’s license as their form of ID to flash, but you can give other forms of ID even if you don’t have a driver’s license.

You can get a government-issued identification card to prove your identity or age that’s not a driver’s licenses (so naturally that type of government ID will not allow you to operate a motor vehicle).

Exact steps to get an ID card vary by state. Here’s the link to California’s rules, but run a web search to find the DMV in your state.

In California, you can apply for an ID card at any age by completing a Driver’s License (DL) or ID Card Application. From there, you’ll visit a DMV office where they’ll verify your identify (and that your name matches) across another acceptable identity document, such as a birth certificate, scan your thumprint and take your photo. You’ll also have to pay a fee and provide your social security number (SSN). From there, it takes three to four weeks to receive your new ID card in the mail, so don’t procrastinate if you’re in a hurry to get your drone pilot’s license.

Again, note that the information in the paragraph above pertains to California only, though the rules are largely the same across most states. Check your own state’s rules.

A passport works as a valid form of ID.

You can also use your passport as a form of ID. Getting a passport also requires paperwork, fees ($130 for a first-time adult passport book) and an in-person appointment, and the process can often take longer than getting a state ID (routine application processing takes eight to 11 weeks, and expedited processing — which costs an additional $60 — takes five to seven weeks). But hey, at least now you have a passport and can travel the world!

You can get a passport if you’re under 16. Though, your application will additionally require proof of parental relationship and consent from parents or guardians. The good news about applying for a passport before age 16 is you save some money — a passport book for minors costs just $100.

What else do I need to bring to the Part 107 test?

Luckily, just yourself (your airspace knowledge-filled brain) and that ID! That said, there are a few optional items which you may bring, but they’re not required.

Test aids, such as scales, straightedges, protractors, plotters, navigation computers, log sheets, and all models of aviation-oriented calculating devices that are directly related to the test are legally allowed, though I didn’t bring any of that when I took (and passed) my Part 107 test.

The test proctor may also offer you a calculator (and you may be able to use your own). Just understand that the proctor is also empowered to deny you use of your own personal calculator if it does not
have a screen that indicates all memory has been erased. So no programming notes into your personal calculator! And no use of your phone, claiming it has a calculator in it, either!

Some explicitly prohibited items include dictionaries, magnetic cards, magnetic tapes, modules, computer chips, or booklets/manuals containing calculator instructions.

And if there’s any gray area, ultimately the test proctor is empowered to make the final determination relating to test materials and personal possessions that you can take into the testing area.

How do I get my Remote Pilot Certificate?

To fly drones commercially (aka for money), then the Federal Aviation Administration requires you hold a Remote Pilot Certificate, which most folks call a drone pilot license. To get a FAA Remote Pilot Certificate, you must pass an in-person, written test (it’s the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) version of the FAA’s initial aeronautical knowledge exam).

That test covers topic areas including aviation weather sources, emergency procedures, airport operations, radio communication procedures and maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedures. Given that the test can be pretty challenging, I recommend most people enroll in a Part 107 online test prep course. The best Part 107 courses have a 95% (and higher) pass rate, and many have a refund guarantee if you don’t pass, so it can usually be worth paying the money for a course rather than trying to self-study.

Here are the study courses I would recommend:

  • Drone Launch Academy: this is another professional, online training course with repeatable videos and study guides. Use DRONEGIRL50 or this link to get $50 off!
  • Drone Pilot Ground School offers a fantastic online training course with practice tests and repeatable videos (this is actually the course I used…and I passed on my first try!)
  • John Peltier’s FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot online course is taught by a former Air Force instructor and contains no-nonsense content from someone who has more than 15 years of teaching experience. Peltiers course also comes in a mobile app version for iOS and Android.

Though, I’ve also outlined some free Part 107 study guides in my list of test-taking resources, too.

The test can be taken at one of about 700 FAA-approved knowledge testing centers around the U.S. (reference this list to find a of aeronautical knowledge test location near you). Applicants need to schedule the testing appointment in advance and bring a government-issued photo ID.

You must also be at least 16 years old to take the test.

Here are a few simple steps to get your Remote Pilot Certificate:

  1. Create an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile prior to registering for your knowledge test. That allows you to obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN).
  2. Schedule an appointment with a FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center (there’s typically a fee involved, usually $175).
  3. Go to the test center. Grab everything you need to bring to the Part 107 test, flash your government-issued photo ID, take and pass your test!
  4. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA). To do that, you’ll have to start a new application and enter the 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID from the test you just took. Be patient, as it can sometimes take up to 48 hours from the test date for the knowledge test to appear in IACRA. Submit your e-signature and submit it for processing.
  5. You’ll get a temporary remote pilot certificate, but ensure your address is up-to-date as a permanent remote pilot certificate will be sent via mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete.
  6. Keep that certificate with you whenever you fly!

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