Idaho is a welcoming state for drone pilots, with Boise offering a treasure trove of places to fly your drone.
Some of your options are Parkcenter Park, Table Rock, and Ann Morrison Park. Not so fast, though. You must have a commercial license before taking off, so how do you obtain it?
How do you get a drone license in Idaho?
Here’s how to get a commercial drone license in Idaho:
- Check the FAA’s eligibility guidelines
- Get your FTN
- Register for the test
- Study for the exam
- Ace the Part 107 test
- Send in FAA Form 8710-13
- Go flying
Navigating the steps to earning one’s commercial drone license can be tricky for first-timers.
This guide will walk you through the entire process so you can be one step closer to flying your drone legally and enjoyably.
Here’s how to obtain your drone license in Idaho
A commercial drone license unlocks many doors for pilots. You have greater flying rights than a recreational pilot, and you can use your drone for profit, whether you sell your photos and videos to news agencies or do surveying.
However, these greater rights require more in-depth drone knowledge. To obtain your Remote Pilot Certificate, you’ll bypass the TRUST exam for hobbyists and move on to the Part 107 exam or Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test.
Here is how you do it.
Check the FAA’s eligibility criteria
Confirm your eligibility for taking the Part 107 exam before you begin. The FAA only issues this test to pilots over 16 with a full comprehension of English who are in sound mental and physical condition for drone flight.
The most substantial criterion for obtaining one’s Remote Pilot Certificate is passing the commercial drone exam.
This is much harder than the hobbyist test, as you must know the full extent of FAA drone guidelines, including emergency procedures, airspace classifications, radio communication protocols, airport operations, and drone loading.
Don’t stress, as I’ll talk a lot more about how to pass the test successfully later in this guide.
Get your FTN
You can now get the registration process underway, which begins by requesting your FAA Tracking Number, or FTN.
An FTN is the FAA’s way of identifying you and applies whether you fly drones or partake in other forms of aeronautic activity.
You only need to apply for it once.
You must have an account on the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application or IACRA website to get your FTN.
IACRA is an FAA website for managing the airman application process. It includes policy and regulatory requirements, documentation, training, and more.
Registering on IACRA as an applicant is free and fast. You should see a Register link on the homepage in the upper right corner. Click it to begin.
You will see myriad roles to select from on the first page of your registration, but you only have to choose Applicant when applying. However, if you have other relevant roles, select them before proceeding.
Next, agree to IACRA’s terms of service, and you’ll proceed to the second page of registration. The first part of the second page requests certificate information, which you will not have as a first-time Part 107 test-taker.
You can leave this section blank for now. Continue to the section called Personal Information and fill everything in, then choose your security questions, generating answers.
Finally, create your IACRA username and password, confirm your password, and click the Register button when you’re finished.
IACRA will send you a confirmation email. Log in with your new account and request your FTN.
Register for the test
You must have an FTN to verify your identity and register for the Part 107 exam, so now you’re ready to do that.
You’ll need an account on PSI, another FAA partner that administers exams.
Click the Create an Account button on the homepage and type in your FTN and full name. You can create an account following the prompts after verifying.
Check your inbox for a confirmation email from PSI. Click the confirmation link, log into your account, and click the Find a Test Center link on the PSI site. Type in your postal code, country, exam type, and the preferred distance in kilometers or miles.
PSI will return with a list of FAA Knowledge Testing Centers near you, from Malad City to Lewiston, Kuna, and Leadore.
An FAA Knowledge Testing Center administers the FAA exam. Select the one that’s most convenient, choose a date and time, and you’re officially registered to take the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam.
Study for the exam
The Part 107 exam plumbs the full depths of your knowledge, so it’s not designed to be easy.
It’s also a costly test to take, as you must pay $165. Studying will help you prepare, which increases your likelihood of passing on your first attempt.
You have lots of study options, from free resources on the FAA website to countless sites and apps to assist you. However, the quality of some of these resources leaves something to be desired.
Don’t waste precious time seeking study resources. I’ve compiled the best drone courses for beginners, full of courses from the pros, including trusted resources like Pilot Institute, Drone Pro Academy, and Drone Launch Academy.
The link above includes reviews of each course so you can select the one that’s best for you.
These courses are not necessarily free, but they’re worth your money. They’re taught by professionals in the industry, including current and former FAA instructors.
You can review lesson material in video form and take practice quizzes aplenty to prepare you.
Oh, and I must talk about the money-back guarantees. Many courses on my list will refund you the full course cost and money toward your next Part 107 exam attempt if you don’t pass your test the first time.
That’s an assurance you can feel good about.
Ace the Part 107 test
You’ve spent days or weeks poring over the test material to the point where you recite FAA rules in your sleep.
You’re ready for what’s next: taking the commercial drone exam to earn your Remote Pilot Certificate.
Prepare in advance by mapping out your driving route to the Remote Testing Center, eating a nutritious meal, and reviewing your study materials one more time.
Bring the requisite materials, including your driver’s license (or another valid government-issued photo ID).
You will receive the test papers, scratch paper, and pencils. You can use an electronic or E6B calculator, plotter, and protractor but you must pack them with you.
You cannot have any personal items when taking the test, including keys, wallet, your phone, or any electronics besides a calculator.
Many Knowledge Testing Centers have lockers for keeping your personal belongings until you’re done with the test.
The Part 107 exam is 60 questions in all. They’re presented in multiple-choice format.
You will have two and a half hours to answer every question, so work at a steady pace but don’t rush. If you finish early, check over your answers before submitting.
A passing grade is at least 70 percent. You can check for your test results on IACRA’s website, but don’t be surprised if it takes several weeks for them to appear.
Send in FAA Form 8710-13
Are you still logged into IACRA? Good! You’ll need the site to apply for your commercial drone license.
Access Form 8710-13 by selecting Start New Application. Choose Pilot for your Application Type and Remote Pilot under the Certifications section. Continue to Other Path Information, then Start Application.
You will need your Knowledge Test Exam ID, a 17-digit identifier that should be in your IACRA account with your test results. After you input that, continue following the prompts.
You will be required to sign Form 8710-13 electronically. Once you submit it, IACRA forwards your information to the TSA, which will perform an independent background check.
IACRA will email you when you pass this check. The email contains a temporary Remote Pilot Certificate you can download, print, and use.
The FAA will be busy internally processing your application, so you could wait for weeks to a month or longer for your permanent license to arrive.
Use your temporary Part 107 license the way you would a permanent commercial license, experiencing the joys of drone flight in Idaho.
» MORE: Drone Laws in Idaho
I have my commercial drone license in Idaho – Now what?
Congratulations on obtaining your Idaho commercial drone license. Before you begin enjoying your certificate and using it for all it’s worth, make sure you’re airworthy.
For starters, you must register your drone with the FAA. All commercial drones used in the US require registration, unlike recreational drones, which must be registered by weight.
Once you register your drone, you won’t have to think about doing it again for another three years. Of course, if you purchase a new drone between now and then, you must register it before flying it.
You should also brush up on Idaho drone laws. You know the federal FAA laws like the back of your hand, but what about state laws?
For instance, in Idaho, IDAPA 13.01.03 from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Fisheries and Wildlife Bureaus bans drones on all but public airstrips in areas owned by these organizations unless you have prior permission.
Idaho Code 21-213 prevents pilots from using drones for surveillance, photographing, and recording private property.
Idaho Code 36-1101 makes it illegal for drones to hunt game animals and birds.
Idaho has local laws in Canyon County Parks and Ada County. The Canyon County Parks ordinance prohibits drone use unless you have permission. You’re also limited in where you can fly in Ada County.
Your certificate will expire in two years. You must renew it if you’re interested in continued commercial drone operations.
Since 2021, the FAA now requires you to take a free online exam to recertify rather than paying to take the Part 107 exam again.
You can read about the exam and the renewal process in full here.