Do you wish to explore JB Williams Park, Hockanum River Trail, Bushnell Park, and other parts of Connecticut with a drone? It all begins with a certificate.
How to get a drone license in Connecticut?
Here’s how to get a drone license in Connecticut:
- Meet the FAA’s eligibility criteria
- Sign up for an FTN
- Register at a Knowledge Testing Center
- Study in advance
- Take the Part 107 exam
- Pass the test
- Request your certificate through Form 8710-13
- Begin flying commercially
IACRA, PSI, FAA…there’s a lot for beginners to learn when testing for a commercial drone license, which is why I put together this handy guide for aspiring Connecticut pilots.
It’s catered to those navigating a drone license for the first time and will help you through all the steps.
Here’s how to obtain a commercial drone license in Connecticut
A commercial drone license in the United States is known as a Remote Pilot Certificate, although many pilots call it the Part 107 license (named after the FAA’s exam). The FAA is the only certifying body that issues this license.
Pilots with a Remote Pilot Certificate can use their drones for commercial projects such as surveying, news, real estate, construction, and so on.
It’s the license to have whether you’re interested in flying drones as a career or a side hustle.
Let’s get into the steps required to begin.
Meet the FAA’s eligibility criteria
The FAA requires pilots interested in obtaining a commercial drone license to meet a few basic criteria.
You must be in sufficient flying shape, which means being of sound body and mind. You mustn’t struggle to write, read, understand, or speak English, and you must be at least 16.
Sign up for an FTN
Now you’re ready to move on to the next step, which is obtaining your FAA Tracking Number.
An FTN is a unique identifier that each new pilot obtains when they enter the FAA’s system. You only need one FTN throughout your drone career.
So how do you get one? Register on the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application website here.
IACRA is an FAA website for data validation and airman applications. It’s free to register.
Select Applicant on the first page. If you have certifying officers or instructors, check those off, but you can also leave those sections blank for now.
Agree to IACRA’s terms of service, then move on to page two.
You can leave the Certificate Information section blank, as you will not have an Airman Certificate Number as a first-time registrant.
Next, add your personal information, including your full name, birth date, gender, and email address. Create two security questions and matching answers, then generate a unique login and password you’ll use to get back into the website.
Click the Register button when you’re finished, and you’ll receive an email confirmation from IACRA.
You can see your FTN anytime by logging into your IACRA profile.
Register at a Knowledge Testing Center
Now that you have your FTN, you can register to take the Part 107 exam. The FAA has Knowledge Testing Centers across the country. Each Knowledge Testing Center administers the commercial drone exam.
You can begin browsing Connecticut Knowledge Testing Centers using the PSI website here. PSI is a test administrator the FAA partners with.
However, without an account, you can’t register to take the exam through the PSI website.
You must verify your eligibility before you can create an account. PSI requires you to input your FTN and full name. Once PSI verifies you, you can register.
Follow the prompts, and you will receive an email confirmation when you finish creating your account.
Log into the PSI website with your new account. Check the available testing dates and times at your nearest Knowledge Testing Center and register at a time conducive to your schedule.
Study in advance
The Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam is designed to plumb the depths of your knowledge, as understanding the material makes you a safer and better drone pilot. Studying the material in advance will put you in the best position to pass the first time around.
You could study the material independently, but I strongly suggest considering an online drone school. These schools organize the test materials in a concise, easily understood way and include text and video lessons.
The test materials are taught by experts, such as former FAA employees and current and retired commercial drone pilots. These professionals innately understand the material and can teach it in a way that sticks.
You’ll have access to the instructors and other experts during your time in the course, and you can take practice quizzes that feature real FAA test questions.
Better yet, online drone schools provide money-back guarantees if you don’t pass the first time.
However, with high pass rates in the upper 90th percentile, you should feel confident that you’ll ace the Part 107 exam the first time you take it.
Take the Part 107 exam
The FAA commercial drone exam consists of 60 questions. Each is multiple-choice, with three possible answers to choose from. You will have two and a half hours to complete all the questions.
Bring a government-issued photo ID, such as a United States military ID, government ID, or driver’s license.
The Knowledge Testing Center will provide you with everything else required for the exam, including a dry-erase marker, transparent sheet, pencil, blank paper, and test supplement book.
You can bring your own calculator (a real calculator, not a phone, and it can’t have storable memory), an E6B flight computer, a plotter, and a protractor, as these items will not be provided.
Pass the test
The FAA only requires test takers to answer 70 percent of the questions correctly on the Part 107 exam to pass.
Your test results will be posted on your IACRA account up to three weeks after you take the exam.
Don’t despair if you don’t pass the first time. You can take the commercial drone exam as many times as required, but you must pay the $165 fee each time. You must also wait two weeks between test attempts.
Request your certificate through Form 8710-13
Congratulations on passing the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam! The next part of the process requires you to log back into IACRA and fill out Form 8710-13.
Upon completing that form, IACRA will send you a temporary printable version of your Remote Pilot Certificate. Why is it temporary?
The FAA must process your application and mail out your license, which can take well over a month. However, you shouldn’t have to wait to begin flying, so you can use a temporary license.
To start Form 8710-13, log into IACRA, choose Start New Application, then pick Pilot for your Application Type options. Next, select Remote Pilot under Certifications, Other Path Information, and Start Application.
Follow all the prompts. Refer to your IACRA profile for your Knowledge Test Exam ID. Sign your application electronically and submit it.
Begin flying commercially
With that, you’re a licensed drone pilot in Connecticut who can use your certificate right away. Carry your temporary license until you receive your official certificate in the mail from the FAA.
I have my commercial drone license in Connecticut – Now what?
As a commercial drone license holder, you can legally use your drone for commercial projects around Connecticut.
Before you begin flying, it’s a good idea to read up on the state’s drone laws. Connecticut law requires you to follow federal drone guidelines from the FAA and state and local laws.
MORE>> Drone Laws in Connecticut
Connecticut’s state drone laws prohibit you from operating a drone in state forests and parks managed by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Greenwich has a local law preventing drones in its parks without permission.
You should also register your drone before flying, as that’s required for commercial operations. Register as many drones as you intend to fly.
Your Remote Pilot Certificate will only last for two years. You no longer have to take the Part 107 exam again to recertify.
Instead, you can enroll in a free online course the FAA offers that you can complete in an afternoon.
You must have an FAA Safety account to take the exam. You’ll spend about two hours in a five-part course, then you’re tested on the materials.
You must answer every question correctly, but you’ll see incorrect answers while taking the test. You can also change your answers before submitting them.