FAA issues more than 100,000 remote pilot certificates

By Patrick C. Miller | August 01, 2018

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week announced that it has issued more than 100,000 remote pilot certificates to fly drones for commercial and recreational uses.

The FAA’s small drone rule went into effect just under two years ago. It requires commercial drone pilots and those flying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) not qualified as model aircraft to apply for a remote pilot certificate.

Under Part 107, the person flying a drone must have a remote pilot certificate or be directly supervised by someone with a certificate. The majority of drone pilots are certified by studying online materials and then passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA approved knowledge testing center. According to the FAA, the exam success rate is 92 percent.

Those with Part 61 pilot certificates and have completed flight reviews in the previous 24 months have the option to take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA to obtain their certificates.

The FAA said it’s important to remember that a remote pilot certificate is valid for two years from the date of issue. Anyone who earned a certificate at the end of August or in September 2016 should review the certification renewal requirements and prepare to take recurrent training or testing. The information needed to renew a certificate is available on this FAA website.