Interested in getting your commercial drone pilot license to perform drone data analysis at a jobsite? Whether you’re in the earthworks, mining, aggregates, or waste management industry, regular drone surveys have many practical applications, but you’re only allowed to fly a site if you hold a valid Part 107 license.
Getting Part 107 certification allows you to fly your site whenever you need an updated look at conditions on the ground. After flying the site and using a drone data analysis platform, like Propeller Aero, you’ll have access to up-to-date information on your jobsite as it stands, providing regular progress reports and 3D models of worksite conditions that can easily be shared with all project stakeholders. Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of flying a jobsite, let’s dig into how to obtain Part 107 certification.
The purpose of Part 107 certification
Anyone flying a small drone for work or business must follow Part 107 rules set by the FAA. Part 107, or Remote Pilot Certification, allows drone pilots to take aerial photos and videos commercially for the purposes of collecting aerial data, surveying land, and more. Overall, Part 107 is almost like “rules of the road” for the sky, teaching you proper protocol to keep others safe on the ground or in the air as you’re flying a drone.
You have to pass the FAA Part 107 test to receive certification. You’ll take a 60-multiple-choice question assessment at an FAA-approved testing center, and the minimum passing score is 70%. In other words, you need to get at least 42 questions correct. If you pass the test, the FAA will send you a permanent Remote Pilot Certificate within a few weeks.
How to prepare for the Part 107 test
You must master two key concepts before you sit for the Part 107 test. First is the sectional chart—an old-school way for pilots to navigate airspace and challenging terrain. To pass the test, you need to be able to read the map, separate distinct sections of airspace, and understand the various symbols included in the map.
You also need a thorough understanding of METAR reports. Before you take the Part 107 assessment, you’ll need to translate the coded data in METAR reports into accurate weather data for a specific region. While reading so much coded data may seem daunting at first, once you familiarize yourself with essential abbreviations and their meanings, you’ll quickly get up to speed when it comes to reading METAR reports.
It’s also helpful to get acquainted with radio communication protocol. While drone pilots, commercial or recreational, don’t need to send messages by radio, they’re still able to listen to radio frequencies to stay aware of any manned aircraft that may be nearby. Tuning in to the appropriate frequency provides enhanced situational awareness, promoting the safety of all who are sharing airspace.
There are plenty of free practice tests online, and many hopeful commercial drone pilots also use the FAA-supplied study guide or the Propeller Aero study module. With adequate preparation, you should have no problem passing the test on your first try.
Unlock the possibilities of drone data
Whether you’re in the construction, mining or waste management industry, regular drone surveys provide many benefits. They improve safety and sustainability on the jobsite and can even help your team win more jobs and track progress throughout the duration of a project.
Getting your Part 107 license is a first and necessary step in starting a drone program to support your everyday workflows. While the idea of a test may seem daunting, Part 107 certification is easy with the right amount of preparation. Do your research, study hard and start unlocking the possibilities of drone data for your operations today.