FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Test Knowledge Areas

Test topics for the Initial and Recurrent Remote Pilot tests

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About the FAA Part 107 Certificate

Updated Apr 8, 2020

Getting your FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot certificate is the best investment you can make if you own a drone.

You can buy for all the drone gear you want, but if you don’t have a commercial license, you’ll never be able to put it to work.

You’ll need this license if you ever want to make money photographing real estate, events, inspecting infrastructure, mapping construction sites, and so on.

You'll want to set yourself up for success going into the certification. Complete a test prep course, take some practice tests, and understand how to take an FAA test. When you're ready:


The Initial test contains 60 questions and you'll have two hours to complete it. You'll need a 70% to pass (42 correct questions).

Here's what you need to know:


Part 107 Initial test topics

There are five knowledge areas on the Part 107 Initial test.

  1. Regulations
  2. Airspace
  3. Weather
  4. Aircraft performance
  5. Operations


Regulations

The majority of questions on the test check your knowledge of the FAA Part 107 regulations. After all, this is probably the most important thing you need to know.

Approximately 15-25% of the questions on the test concern regulations.

Some of the regulations you’ll need to know include:

  • What defines a “small unmanned aerial system?”
  • Requirements for any crew you may have.
  • What to do in case of an accident.
  • Maximum speed, altitude, and time-of-day rules.
  • Recordkeeping requirements.


National Airspace System

You'll be operating your drone in the National Airspace System (NAS). As such, you'll need to understand how the system is designed and how to operate within it.

This portion of the test requires an understanding of aeronautical charts and how to read them.

This is often the most difficult topic for people taking the Part 107 test.

Questions about the NAS make up approximately 8-15% of the total test questions.

You'll need to understand:

  • Which "class" of airspace you're in and the rules for operating within that class.
  • The types of Special Use Airspace you need to be careful of.
  • How manned aircraft operate near airports and how you stay clear of them.


Aeronautical chart of Phoenix. You'll need to know how to read this!

 

Weather

Understanding weather isn't just necessary for larger manned aircraft. Weather patterns directly affect your drone also, and also impact your preflight planning.

After Airspace, Weather is the most difficult topic for people.

Weather questions make up approximately 11-16% of the test.

You'll need to understand:

  • What the characteristics of warm and cold fronts are.
  • Which three ingredients are needed for thunderstorm formation.
  • How to read a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF).
  • What the difference between stable and unstable air is.



Aircraft performance

Even with all of the automation on drones, you'll still need to understand the why and how. This knowledge will help ensure you're flying your drone in a safe manner in accordance with the manufacturer's limitations. Or, if the manufacturer doesn't provide any, how to determine it on your own.

Performance questions make up roughly 7-11% of all test questions.

Performance topics include:

  • How do you determine your drone's speed and altitude without instrumentation?
  • How much of a load factor does your drone experience in a sharp turn?
  • How do you attach payloads to your drone and stay within operating limits?
  • What kinds of effects does high altitude have on your drone?




Operations

Although you're not tested on actual flying skills when you get your Remote Pilot license, you will be tested on your knowledge to operate it.

This is the second-largest topic, making up 13-18% of the total test.

Topics include:

  • Preflight requirements.
  • Emergency procedures.
  • Physiology.
  • Communications.



Part 107 Recurrent training topics

You'll need to stay up-to-date on all of these topics as things change. There is no longer a requirement to take an actual in-person test every two years, but you will have to complete online training with the FAA.

This training covers all of the knowledge areas you learned about for your initial remote pilot test.


You can see what the tests are like by taking the Part 107 practice tests below. They're free to take, all you need to do is create an e-learning account for course access.

Some of the questions are tricky; you can see examples of them in my article about the FAA Part 107 practice test most-missed questions.


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