Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Make Me Smart, Mini Review

I try to be task driven and agile. I use Todoist to maintain my personal backlog with each day being a new sprint with the goal of four to five tasks completed per day. One of today's main tasks was to write a mini review of Make Me Smart - the new podcast from APM hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood. I've been a fan of public radio since I began listening on my short commutes to work way back in 1999. My favorite public radio show by far is Marketplace. I'm a business news junkie. Marketplace is hosted by Kai. Kai is one of the few news people I follow on Twitter. I follow him because he's a good filter and retweets things that might prove to be important. I don't think Kai and I would be good friends, but I do respect him. He's smart and makes a very honest attempt to stay connected with how business impacts people in regular places like Erie, MI and Athens, GA. He has hosted Marketplace from these two cities. When Kai interviews people he pushes them to an…

31 Days of July

A few days before July started I had a realization that I was destined to be in an unhealthy state well into the future unless I tried something different. An idea came to mind to try and really push myself for 31 consecutive days to be healthier. For the month of July (including a week of vacation at the beach), I was going to focus on three tactics to improve my health.


My idea was pretty simple. One, I wanted to track my caloric intake with a goal of less than 2,000 net calories per day. Net calories for me was caloric intake minus exercise. My second goal was to drink 100 ounces of water daily. The third and final goal was to walk more than 10,000 steps every day. Let me say that I'm relatively healthy. I didn't consult a doctor before I started this program, and I'm not providing any health advice. Before you start any program you should consult your primary care physician.

In addition to the three goals above, I also decided to go to battle against sugar. I started r…

Voice Is the Future Input Device

2017 is the year we really start talking to our computers. Without question, Amazon's Alexa kicked off 2017 at CES by dominating the show. Amazon didn't even have an official booth at CES for Alexa, but the Amazon voice assistant was mentioned throughout the four day event.

This is also the year I purchased a Google Home (one of Amazon Echo's competitors), and my Nexus 6P phone was auto-updated with Google Assistant (one of Amazon Alexa's competitors). Google Home and Google Assistant allow natural speech to Google's vast services layer and knowledge graph. As a family we've enjoyed talking to Google Home. I've paired the Google Home with several Belkin Wemo switches and we can rather naturally turn off a few lights around the house.


I also wrote a basic Google Action to learn more about the guts of natural language processing (NLP) development. I used Google's API.AI to create the voice interactions with almost "drag and drop" ease. The only …