How To Pass the Part 107 Exam To Get Your Remote Pilot Certificate

an drone photo taken from the sky at sunset. there are lots of green trees in the foreground. further in the distance are several large buildings and parking lots. beyond them are a layer of blue mountains. the sky is a brilliant orange with some dark grey clouds.

We’ve been shooting photos for brands and businesses since 2016. We entered into video and filmmaking in 2022. During the summer of 2023, we decided to become certified to fly a drone for commercial work including photos and 4K video four our clients in Asheville and beyond. We wanted to offer them another skill and we knew that getting a drone up in the air would allow us to offer both aerial stills and videos. Keep reading to see how we earned our Remote Pilot Certificate (RIC) by passing the Part 107 Exam. We both passed on our first attempt of the Part 107 Exam so we hope that our tips will help you do the same!

Check Out the FAA Website on How To Become a Drone Pilot

One of the first things we did to see about getting our Remote Pilot Certificate was to head to the FAA website. It’s a good first stop when getting info on how to become a drone pilot. It’s also where you’ll need to register in order to become an “Airman” and where you will be issued a Flight Tracking Number (FTN). You’ll need this FTN in order to register to take the Part 107 Exam. More on that later.

Some of the basics you’ll learn from the FAA website in regards to becoming a certified drone pilot are these requirements:

You must:

Be at least 16 years old
Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a drone
Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam: “Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)”

What’s on the Part 107 Exam for the Remote Pilot Certificate

There are 60 multiple-choice questions on the Part 107 Exam. You’ll need to answer 42 of them correctly in order to get a 70% (passing) score. You’ll also need to do so within the two hour time limit.

You’ll need to know about airspace classification, flight restrictions, weather, small unmmaned aircraft loading, emergency and radio communication procedures, airport operations, crew resource management, aeronautical decision-making and judgement, physiological factors such as drug and alcohol use, maintenance, preflight inspection procedures, tons of abbreviations and acronyms.

The two toughest categories for us to learn were reading the sectional charts and decoding METAR (aviation weather reports.)

Best Study Guides and Resources for the Part 107 Exam for your Remote Pilot Certificate

The first resource we recommend obtaining is the FAA study guide for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The study guide is free and is found online via the FAA site. It’s 88 pages long and gives a broad overview of the topics that will be on the Part 107 Exam. It’s definitely a good idea to read the entire study guide but unless you’re a genius or have a lot more experience in the aviation industry, you’re probably, like us, going to need some additional help.

The second place we went for resources for the Part 107 Exam was YouTube. These days we do a ton of learning on all sorts of topics on YouTube so it was a no-brainer for us to seek out commercial drone pilot info here. And wow, there’s a ton. To help you sort out some of the best, we recommend checking out the following YouTube videos:

Altitude Academy – This video is a little over 90 minutes long but goes into everything in the FAA study guide with even more detail. The instructor speaks slowly and clearly and explains the information in a way that was really easy for us to understand.

Tony and Chelsea Northrup – This video is about 1 hour and 45 minutes long and it’s similar in content to Altitude Academy. It’s one of the most popular Part 107 Exam videos out there with close to 3 million views. What makes this video great is that there are sample exam questions in the video.

We also found some flashcards on the site Quizlet that were super helpful in reviewing information.

Lastly, we ended up purchasing the Altitude Academy’s online course. It cost us about $100 dollars. For that price we were given even more videos, the Airman’s reference booklet, and five practice exams. Some of the best videos were those that helped us learn how to read a sectional chart. The most valuable aspect of this course was the instant feedback that the exams gave us. We knew we were ready to take the Part 107 Exam once we started scoring in the 90’s.

What Surprised Us About the Part 107 Exam and Drone Pilot Certification

One of the first things that we were stunned to learn was that unlike your drivers license test, you don’t actually have to fly a drone in order to pass the Part 107 Exam. It’s strictly knowledge based.

Another surprise about the Part 107 Exam was that you only need a 70% to pass. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not upset about the cutoff, but it was a bit shocking because it comes with such a big responsibility.

The cost of the Part 107 Exam also surprised us. Our exams were each $175! Unfortunately, if you have to retake the exam you have to pay again.

We were also very surprised at quickly we found out we passed (five minutes after completing the exam) and then were able to obtain our temporary Remote Pilot Certificate. Almost as soon as we passed the exam we shared our scores with the FAA through the online portal and within a few days we had a downloadable version of our temporary certificate.

Another thing that surprised us about the Part 107 Exam was that if you are flying a drone recreationally, you don’t need this certification. This is only for people flying drones commercially and/or those who have drones that weigh more than .55 pounds.

Things We Wish We Knew Before Taking the Part 107 Exam for our Remote Pilot Certification

The Airman’s resource booklet I used on my practice exams was the same exact one on the exam. Literally the same thing. So, because I had become really familiar with the book, it took some of the anxiety out of my exam. And though none of the practice questions were on my actual exam, some were similar.

We received ear plugs to use during the exam!

If you’re taking your drone certification Part 107 Exam in Asheville, you’ll be over in West Asheville. The parking is free and the building is in the one-story tan buildings over near the post office.

The Airman’s resource book is the same one you’ll use on the exam.

How To Pass the Part 107 Exam To Get Your Remote Pilot Certificate Recap

As of 2022, only 7.9% of all certified drone pilots are women! We’re very excited to add our names to this list and take our place up in the sky. If you’re considering taking the Part 107 Exam to get your remote pilot certificate, we encourage you to study and go for it! We spent about 20 hours total studying for the exam and it worked for us. You should have a pretty good idea if you’re able to access some of the practice exams.

Are you a certified drone pilot in Asheville or elsewhere? If so, we’d love to hear what you thought about the test. And if anyone has gone through the steps of keeping their license after their two years are up, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you enjoyed this, check out our Favorite Photography and Video Gear.

Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

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