FAA Certified Drone Pilot!

Woodlawn Lake, San Antonio Texas by Aaron Hackney

Getting my FAA Part 107 certification (commonly called a “drone license” Ya, it’s not a license…) so that I can shoot video and stills and have my images and footage used commercially has been something on my radar for quite sometime! The requirements for becoming a pilot are listed here on the FAA website and can be a little daunting if you have never taken a federal certification exam.

In their Hey.film podcast, Griffin Hammond mentioned that he found the folks over at https://remotepilot101.com to have a good video training series. Since Griffin and Nick (also fellow ISU alumni) have not steered me wrong yet, I decided to give it a whirl (pun intended). I burned through the training very fast and I was impressed with remotepilot101’s instructor Jason Schappert’s teaching style and “straight to the point” methodologies. I would highly encourage anyone who is looking to certify in a short amount of time to sign up with him and tell them that I sent you. A side benefit is that the tuition is good for refresher sessions for when you have to re-certify 24 months after receiving your certificate.

How I went about studying for this was very similar to how I prepare for my professional certification exams in the Cyber Security and IT world. I followed the coursework to it’s completion and then tested my readiness using practice exams. When I missed a question on my practice exams, I would research the topic to ensure I understood the intent of the question forwards and backwards. This methodology has always been surefire for me in my career world and in my amateur radio FCC exams (K9HQ, Amateur Extra).

I walked into the exam very prepared and scored a 93%. And to be sure, my score was not due to my memorizing any of the test. Almost every concept on the exam was well covered in Jason’s video sessions. 

I am now awaiting my FAA issued temporary certificate so that I can now take advantage of the new privileges available to me, like not being held to the “Notify the airport and air traffic control tower prior to flying within 5 miles of an airport” rule.

Most importantly, I feel like i walked away from the study course better equipped to fly in a SAFE manner that will not put any other aircraft at risk or cause any unnecessary dangers to others.


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