UPDATE ON THE REMOTE PILOT IN COMMAND sUAS CERTIFICATION

RPIC

We’ve just completed taking the FAA’s knowledge exam. The exam is advertised as a 2 hr., 60 question test; however, the FAA includes 5 or 6 additional questions to  validate them so plan on sitting for a 65 question exam. The only electronic aid authorized is a simple calculator – nothing with internal memory – just basic register memory. The examiner will provide the exam supplement, which contains VFR sectionals, paper and pencil. The exam is computer based and all of your answers are manually entered using your assigned workstation. There is a $150 charge to take the exam and the exam is graded immediately upon you submitting your test for grading.

The exam is not easy and you’ll need a score of 70 or higher to pass. I’ve listed areas that you should focus on, in order of most often encountered.

  1. Using VFR sectional charts, you’re going to need to identify Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E and Class G airspace. You’ll need to identify Victor Airways, Restricted Areas, Prohibited Areas, MOAs (Military Operation Areas.) You will need to identify airports with and without towers along with their communications frequencies for obtaining clearances, weather or UNICOM. You will need to locate an airport, obstruction or other landmarks given Lat & Long. You will need to determine the Lat & Long for similar items using the sectional chart.
  2. You will be asked numerous questions on weather, cloud formations and their general characteristics and you will need to have a good handle on density altitude and be able to read a METAR and TAF report.
  3. You will be asked a number of questions on center of gravity, stalls and angle of attack, as well as loading when your not in a straight and level attitude.
  4. The rest of the exam, I’d say about 20 question, will be on 14 CFR Part 107 regs, physical and emotional concerns, CRM (crew resource management) and Risk Management.
  5. You may see 1 or 2 question on airport operations (i.e. where do you hold, right of way, entering a pattern etc.)

If you don’t have a license, you may not operate in controlled airspace and you will not be able to use your drone for commercial applications. For example, if you operate a training facility and you plan to use an sUAS to document the training session, or in conjunction with the training curricula, you need to be licensed. If your use of the sUAS is compensated in any way or used in connection with your business, you’ll need a license.

If you are a mom or dad taking your kids out for a flight, make sure that you are using the FAAs B4UFLY app. Deviations from 14 CFR Part 107 will get you a felony charge.

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