What You Need to Know About Recertification

It feels like a long time since commercial drone pilots in the US were asked to gain a Remote Pilot Certificate to fly drones for business purposes. Which is fair enough: it was almost two years ago that the first wave of exams was taken with the introduction of the Part 107 ruling.

As a quick refresher, the FAA’s regulations for commercial pilots went into effect at the end of August 2016, requiring that drone operators pass a UAS aeronautical knowledge test in order to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate with a small UAS rating. The Part 107 Ruling also built a much-needed framework for the dos and don’ts of commercial flight.

In case you missed it in the small print, drone pilots flying under the Part 107 banner are required to re-pass the FAA’s Remote Pilot Exam every two years. It’s updated periodically, so you’ll have to get up to speed with the latest material if you want to keep your license valid.

The recertification process

This week the FAA released some details on the recertification process. Just like before, the test can be taken at one of hundreds of testing centers across the United States. But the content is a little different.

In the initial test, you might remember covering topics such as air traffic, weather and general aviation safety. According to the teaser document released by the FAA, the recertification test doesn’t include questions on weather, performance or loading.

The format is similar to the initial test, though. Pilots have 90 minutes to complete the multiple choice test, which once again will require a fee at the test center of around $150.

Once you re-pass, you’ll be good to go for another two years.

Don’t forget to re-certify

Thousands of drone pilots in the US have licenses under the Part 107 Ruling. Many of those completed the test first time around, within days of the August implementation. With that in mind, there are plenty of pilots out there who are a matter of weeks away from needing to re-certify.

Don’t make the mistake of forgetting or putting off recertification. Pretty soon you might find yourself flying illegally by accident, which could end badly.

Going back to school

Not feeling too confident about passing the test for the second time? Want to brush up on your aeronautical knowledge? We recently partnered with UAV Coach to give the next generation of drone pilots access to the best Part 107 test prep course on the market:  Ground School.

Drone Pilot Ground School features a bunch of online resources to help you perfect your prep, including lecture quizzes and 5 full-length practice tests. With over 10,000 pilots trained and a frankly silly first-time pass rate of 99%, it really is a no-brainer.

Interested in joining the 99%? Use the code DRONEBASE50 at checkout to receive $50 off your enrollment!

Malek Murison

Malek Murison is a freelance tech journalist working closely with clients in the drone industry.

7 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About Recertification

  1. Just wanted to understand about what the hobbyist has to do this year. Is it still required to have that certification card that we got (it was free for a time then after it was $5 and now it’s $? I wanted to know if the hobbyist is now separated from the commercial program.


    1. Hi Paul, you’re correct in that commercial work requires Pilots to pass the Part 107 certification test in order to receive payment. If you are due for re-certification, be sure to follow the appropriate steps in order to continue receiving missions!


    1. You do not have to re take or re-pass the exam if you are a current certificate holder. Part 61 .56. You only have to go to the FAA web site under quick links. Part 107 course on FAA safety team website.

      Log in and complete the small unmanned ( Recurent ) course. Completion of the course satisfies recurent training.


  2. If you are a current and active commercial pilot airplane or helicopter. Due to the recurrent training required by the FAA to maintain currency you are not required to recurtify your part 107. That recurrent training allows you to continue to operate your drone under part 107. I.E. part 121 or part 135 pilots due to annual and semi annual training. That satisfies the recurrent for part 107 ?


  3. Thanks for sharing and for the resource reminder. I used an app called UAS107 for my initial certification where I scored a 92% the first time. Rated 4.4 stars on Googleplay, the app has helped to prepare over 7000 pilots for the exam and its only $5. For me I’ll likely to what I did for my initial exam. Watch Youtube videos, and use the app for my prep exam.


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