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Passed the FAA Part 107 aka Drone Test

Last summer my brother-in-law showed me some video he captured with a drone over a small river in central South Carolina. The video was a slow moving shot about 30 feet above the water going upstream. I was immediately mesmerized. The video was peaceful. Aerial video is something us humans can't naturally do and I could watch aerial video for hours.

After seeing Rob's video, I got the bug to learn more about small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS).



After about ten months of looking at drones and considering what I would do with one, I made the leap and purchased a DJI Phantom 4. This is a very popular quadcopter with built-in safety features such as forward-facing collision avoidance. The Phantom 4 also has a 4K video camera that is capable of capturing the high-resolution video that attracted me to the idea of one day piloting my own sUAS.

Because I was planning to upload what I hope will be a mesmerizing collection of videos to YouTube which can be monetized, I decided it was best to get my FAA certification. Passing the FAA Part 107 exam is required if you are compensated for flying a sUAS. I'm terrified of standardized tests and this hurdle halted my efforts for a while.

Eventually, I decided it was time to seriously explore this interest in drones. I took a FAA practice test at FAASafety.gov to get a feel of what the real test might be like. I then called CATS (Computer Assisted Testing Service) and scheduled my exam for about two months out. I got busy. The day before the exam, I called and was luckily able to move the exam another week out.

During the week leading up the exam, I did the following.

  • Signed-up for The Drone U
  • Watched as many YouTube videos as I could about Part 107
  • Downloaded the Prepware Remote Pilot app to my phone. 

A week after canceling my first exam, I took it and I passed. While taking the exam I was overwhelmed by the number of questions about aeronautical maps, but I ended up scoring an 89. Being done with the exam felt great.

Flying has been fun and as expected a little terrifying at times. However, I feel more confident after taking the exam. Learning more about the many safety considerations and laws that need to be understood before flying is essential for being a competent remote pilot.

If you are considering learning more about drones, I highly recommend taking the time to be certified. The process is intimidating, but it's something you can do and to me seems like a logical step in a society that is somewhat timid about the growing use of small unmanned aircraft.

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