Is It Hard to Get a Drone License

Is It Hard to Get a Drone License

In recent years, drone technology has evolved significantly, leading to an increase in their recreational and commercial use.

Consequently, the need to obtain a drone license has become imperative.

Summary – Is It Hard to Get a Drone License

Obtaining a drone license can be challenging, depending on factors like eligibility requirements, the application process, necessary training, and common challenges faced during the application. However, with the right preparation and commitment, it is not insurmountably difficult.

However, is it a challenging process?

The difficulty in acquiring a drone license depends on various factors, including eligibility requirements, the application process, necessary training, and common challenges faced during the application.

The time frame for obtaining the license and available support systems also play a crucial role.

This article aims to demystify the complexities surrounding drone licensing, offering a simplified, engaging guide to prospective drone operators.

Police With Drone License

Eligibility requirements for obtaining a drone license

There are several specific eligibility requirements that an individual must satisfy to obtain a drone license in the United States.

Age is the first determinant; the applicant must be at least 16 years old.

Proficiency in English, both written and spoken, is necessary given the global nature of aviation.

A sound physical and mental condition to ensure safe drone operations is also a prerequisite.

The drone license requirements also include passing the ‘Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)‘ knowledge exam, which can be prepared for through drone pilot training courses.

These courses provide comprehensive knowledge about drone operations, safety protocols, and regulatory guidelines.

The drone license application process involves completing the FAA form 8710-13, available in the FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA).

Once you have your license, the drone license renewal process necessitates an online recurrent training every 24 calendar months to maintain aeronautical knowledge recency.

EligibilityMust be at least 16 years old, proficient in English, and in good physical and mental condition.
FAA Tracking Number (FTN)Create an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile to secure your FAA Tracking Number (FTN).
Knowledge ExamPrepare for and pass the ‘Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)’ exam.
ApplicationComplete Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate through the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) system.
Drone RegistrationRegister your drone with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Recurrent TrainingRequired every 24 months to retain your drone license.
Training or EducationUnderstand the initial aeronautical knowledge exam format, known as the ‘Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)’, and take online courses or practical training.
ChallengesComprehending the Part 107 Exam, preparation for the exam, technical issues, legal restrictions, recurrent training and testing, beyond line of sight operations, test anxiety, navigating FAA systems, renewal process, dealing with different types of terrain.
Typical Time FrameThe process of obtaining a drone license typically spans six to eight weeks.
Support SystemsFederal Aviation Administration (FAA), FAA UAS Data Exchange (LAANC), Drone Pilot Training Courses, study materials, and the FAA’s IACRA System.

The FAA has also established several support systems for obtaining a drone license, including resources for test preparation and a network of testing centers across the country.

These measures make the process of obtaining and renewing a drone license streamlined and user-friendly.

Drone License

Process involved in obtaining a drone license

The process of obtaining a drone license can be broken down into five key steps:

  • determining eligibility
  • obtaining an FAA Tracking Number (FTN)
  • passing the Knowledge Exam
  • completing the application
  • registering the drone

Each of these steps plays a critical role in ensuring that drone pilots are well-equipped and legally compliant.

We will now explore these steps in further detail, making the process as clear and approachable as possible.


Obtaining a drone license involves meeting several eligibility criteria, including being at least 16 years old, possessing proficient English skills, and demonstrating an adequate physical and mental condition to operate a drone safely.

The drone license requirements are designed to ensure operators are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge for drone operation.

The benefits of having a drone license include legal compliance, access to restricted airspaces, and opportunities for professional work such as aerial photography or inspections.

The drone license process involves training and taking an aeronautical knowledge test.

The cost of obtaining a drone license can vary but it is typically around $150.

This investment ensures that the safety of both the operator and the public is prioritized.

FAA Tracking Number (FTN)

After meeting the eligibility criteria, the next step in obtaining a drone license involves creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile to secure your FAA Tracking Number (FTN).

This individual identifier is critical for the FAA UAS data exchange, and ties your testing and licensing documents together.

Understanding the Part 107 exam is integral to the process.

Preparation for the exam can be facilitated by resources like the Drone Pilot Ground School, which provides key insights into the exam structure and content.

The FTN streamlines your certification process by providing quick access to your records.

Remember, the FTN is not just a number, but a significant part of your journey towards becoming a licensed drone pilot.

Invigilator sitting through drone exam USA

Knowledge Exam

In order to secure a drone license, one must successfully navigate the process of the Knowledge Exam, a critical component of the licensure journey.

This involves meeting eligibility requirements, including being at least 16 years old and having a valid FAA tracking number.

The next step is drone registration.

Once registered, it’s necessary to prepare for the ‘Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)’ exam.

Online resources and training or education programs can aid in this preparation.

The exam tests understanding of aeronautical knowledge and is a significant part of the license acquisition process.

The process involved in obtaining a drone license is certainly comprehensive, but with the right preparation and commitment, it is not insurmountably difficult.


Upon successfully passing the ‘Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)’ exam, the next stage in the drone license acquisition process involves completing Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate.

This application process is conducted through the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) system.

The form enquires about your personal details, test scores, and verifies your understanding of FAA regulations.

It is crucial to thoroughly review the training requirements and engage in meticulous test preparation to ensure a smooth process.

The FAA provides support services to assist applicants in navigating the process.

Once this step is completed, your application will be vetted by the FAA.

Upon approval, your remote pilot certificate will be issued, marking the successful acquisition of your drone license.

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Drone Registration

The process of obtaining a drone license kicks off with registering your drone with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The drone registration is a straightforward process that costs $5 and is valid for three years.

It is essential to meet the eligibility requirements, which include being at least 16 years old, fluent in English, and in good physical and mental condition.

Preparing for the knowledge exam is a crucial part of the process.

This involves understanding FAA regulations, weather patterns, and dealing with different terrains.

It’s common to experience test anxiety, but proper preparation can help alleviate this.

Resources such as online guides, practice tests, and drone pilot training courses can be beneficial in supporting aspiring drone pilots through the process.

Recurrent Training

How does recurrent training factor into the process of obtaining a drone license?

Recurrent training is crucial and required every 24 months to retain your drone license. It’s part of the renewal process that ensures pilots maintain their aeronautical knowledge.

Drone pilot ground school provides a supportive environment to ease test anxiety and help you retain the necessary skills.

The training focuses on various aspects, from dealing with terrain to understanding the complex operational requirements of drones.

The support systems in place during this period are designed to aid you in mastering the nuances of drone piloting.

In essence, recurrent training is not just a regulatory requirement, but a significant step towards ensuring safety and proficiency in drone operations.

Person With Drone License

Training or education needed for drone license

Where does one begin in terms of education and training for obtaining a drone license?

The journey starts with understanding the initial aeronautical knowledge exam format, known as the ‘Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)’, which is a key requirement for the FAA’s Remote Pilot Certificate.

Online courses, like the Part 107 course, are available as effective study resources to cover the entire syllabus for this exam.

Preparation tips include familiarising oneself with regulations relating to unmanned aircraft systems, the effects of weather on drone performance, and emergency procedures.

Practical training, despite not being a FAA requirement, is highly recommended to ensure safe drone operation.

Several training programs offer hands-on experience to help operators understand the intricacies of drone piloting.

The online recurrent training every 24 calendar months is also significant, as it helps maintain the validity of the Remote Pilot Certificate.

In conclusion, the process of obtaining a drone license is a blend of education and training.

It requires dedication, the right resources, and a commitment to continuous learning.

With this, obtaining a drone license becomes an achievable goal.

Drone Usage and Applications

Challenges commonly faced during drone license application

Obtaining a drone license can present a set of unique obstacles, each with its own level of difficulty.

From comprehending the Part 107 Exam to dealing with technical aspects and legal restrictions, the process is often not straightforward.

Moreover, the requirement for recurrent training and testing adds another layer of complexity to the process.

Understanding the Part 107 Exam

Navigating the complexities of the Part 107 exam serves as a significant challenge for many aspiring drone operators.

Drone license exam preparation involves a deep understanding of aviation regulations and terminologies, a task that can cause test anxiety for those unfamiliar to the field.

Common challenges include the navigation of FAA systems, which can be intricate and time-consuming.

Equally, uncertainty about how to effectively utilize support systems can add to the stress.

However, proper preparation can simplify the process significantly.

Preparation for the Exam

Exam preparation, a critical step in the drone license application process, often presents several challenges that can test the mettle of even the most diligent applicants.

The drone license benefits are indisputable, but acquiring it requires understanding the exam format, adopting efficient study strategies, and avoiding common mistakes.

Applicants often underestimate the Part 107 test, leading to inadequate preparation and subsequent failure.

Relying solely on memorizing answers from practice tests is a common pitfall.

The FAA frequently includes new, tricky questions, necessitating a comprehensive understanding of the material.

To pass, applicants should focus on understanding concepts rather than rote memorization.

Utilizing study guides, online resources, and mock tests can aid in preparation and increase chances of success.

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Technical Issues

Beyond the intricacies of exam preparation, applicants often encounter various technical issues, posing additional challenges during the drone license application process.

The technology of drones involves both software and hardware elements, both of which can present issues.

Hardware malfunctions can occur, requiring troubleshooting techniques and a deep understanding of equipment maintenance.

Similarly, software glitches can be a hurdle, necessitating the use of troubleshooting software.

In both scenarios, the applicant’s technical prowess is tested, adding a layer of complexity to the licensing journey.

To mitigate these issues, some applicants may seek technical support.

However, this can be time-consuming and may create delays in the application process.

Understanding these challenges can help applicants prepare effectively and navigate the drone licensing process with lesser hitches.

Legal Restrictions

The legal restrictions imposed by the FAA present another significant hurdle in the drone licensing application process.

The eligibility requirements are strict, and each step of the process is closely monitored.

Applicants must first obtain an FAA tracking number, which is used to track the application through the approval process.

The next major hurdle is passing the knowledge exam, a comprehensive test of laws, safety protocols, and technical knowledge.

This exam is not only challenging but is also timed, adding another layer of difficulty to the application process.

The FAA’s stringent regulations and the complexity of the application process can make obtaining a drone license quite challenging.

However, with careful preparation and a thorough understanding of the process steps, it is achievable.

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Recurrent Training and Testing

After successfully navigating the initial hurdles of the application process, drone license applicants face the ongoing challenge of recurrent training and testing every two years.

This renewal process is essential to ensure pilots comprehend the evolving legal restrictions and maintain their skills.

Test anxiety can be a common obstacle, but there are support systems available to assist in obtaining a drone license.

These resources often provide comprehensive training materials and strategies to manage stress, ensuring success within the typical time frame.

It’s crucial to approach this process with determination and an understanding that recurrent testing is integral to safe and responsible drone operation.

Consequently, rather than viewing this as a hurdle, see it as an opportunity to enhance your knowledge and proficiency.

Beyond Line of Sight Operations

While recurrent training and testing present their own challenges, obtaining a waiver for beyond line of sight operations introduces an additional layer of complexity to the drone license application process.

The beyond line of sight challenges are multifaceted, involving operational limitations, risk assessment, remote identification, and airspace integration.

Operational limitations may restrict the ability to operate drones in certain weather conditions or at night, thereby limiting their utility.

Risk assessments are necessary to identify potential hazards and devise mitigation strategies.

Remote identification is essential to ensure the drone’s information is accessible, promoting security and accountability.

Airspace integration, on the other hand, involves the safe and efficient incorporation of drones into the national airspace, a process fraught with technical and regulatory challenges.

Studying For Part 107 Drone Test

Test Anxiety

Navigating the process of drone license application often involves combating test anxiety, a common challenge that can exacerbate the perceived difficulty of acquiring the license.

This anxiety can significantly impact on performance, often due to fear of failure or lack of preparation.

To mitigate this, preparation techniques such as familiarizing oneself with the test format, practicing under simulated test conditions, and regular studying can be beneficial.

It is also crucial to employ coping strategies like deep breathing, positive visualization, and regular breaks to maintain focus.

Support resources including training manuals, online tutorials, and community forums can provide additional help.

Ultimately, overcoming test anxiety involves both adequate preparation and effective stress management.

Navigating FAA Systems

In addition to an applicant’s test anxiety, the complexity of the FAA’s licensing system often presents another significant hurdle in the drone license acquisition process.

The FAA application process involves navigating through a series of detailed online forms and complying with numerous FAA regulations.

Many applicants find this system challenging to understand and maneuver.

To assist with this, the FAA provides a range of online resources, including detailed guides and FAQs.

However, these may not always be enough.

In such scenarios, the FAA support hotline can be a valuable resource.

Additionally, FAA test centers across the country offer in-person assistance.

Despite these aids, understanding and effectively navigating the FAA systems remains a common challenge in obtaining a drone license.

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Renewal Process

Beyond the initial hurdle of comprehending the FAA’s licensing system, a drone pilot’s challenges do not cease; they must confront the complexities of the license renewal process every two years.

This process necessitates recurrent training to ensure their knowledge aligns with current rules and regulations.

This can evoke test anxiety, particularly given the typical time frame of two years between renewals, which may lead to knowledge decay.

To mitigate this, pilots can leverage support systems such as online forums, study groups, and refresher courses.

However, these systems require time and commitment, potentially adding to the stress of the renewal process.

In spite of these challenges, staying updated is instrumental for safe and legal drone operation.

Dealing with Different Types of Terrain

Having surmounted the hurdles of the licensing and renewal process, drone pilots often face the formidable task of handling different types of terrain, a challenge that can significantly complicate the process of obtaining a drone license.

Mastering drone maneuverability in varied landscapes is critical.

Pilots must understand how weather conditions affect flight, particularly in rugged or densely vegetated areas.

Obstacle avoidance is paramount, as is managing battery life for longer flights.

This is especially vital during aerial photography missions, where stable flight and clear images are essential.

While the process can be taxing, successful navigation of these challenges is a rewarding part of the journey to earning a drone license.

Get a Drone License

Typical time frame for receiving drone license

The process of obtaining a drone license typically spans six to eight weeks, contingent upon a variety of factors including background checks and exam results.

An overview of the process reveals that it begins with meeting eligibility requirements, such as being at least 16 years old and having a good command of English.

Preparing for and passing the aeronautical knowledge exam is a critical part of the application process.

Once the exam is passed, an FAA tracking number is assigned to the applicant.

This number is instrumental in the process as it allows the FAA to track the progress of the application.

The TSA then conducts a background check, the duration of which can vary significantly from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Upon passing the background check, a temporary certificate is issued, which typically takes between 21 to 33 days.

The final step is the issuance of the permanent certificate, which takes a further six to eight weeks.

Therefore, from knowledge exam preparation to receiving the permanent drone license, applicants can expect the process to take up to two months.

person filing a report of lost drone with faa

Support systems for obtaining a drone license?

Various support systems are available to ease the process of obtaining a drone license.

These include resources like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), FAA UAS Data Exchange (LAANC), Drone Pilot Training Courses, study materials, and the FAA’s IACRA System.

In the following discussion, we will explore how each of these resources can contribute to successfully acquiring a drone license.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

To successfully navigate the process of obtaining a drone license, one must turn to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which offers a comprehensive support system for drone pilots.

The FAA outlines clear eligibility requirements, detailing the process involved from start to finish. One essential step is drone registration, which must be completed before your first flight.

The FAA provides resources for both first-time pilots and existing Part 61 Certificate holders to ensure a smooth certification process.

Additionally, to maintain aeronautical knowledge recency, the FAA mandates online recurrent training every 24 months.

This training keeps drone pilots up-to-date on regulations and safety measures, thereby reinforcing the FAA’s commitment to promoting responsible drone usage.

FAA UAS Data Exchange (LAANC)

In the realm of support systems for obtaining a drone license, the FAA UAS Data Exchange, also known as LAANC, plays an instrumental role.

This collaboration between FAA and the drone industry simplifies the process involved in gaining access to controlled airspace at or below 400 feet, providing pilots with critical information about where and when they can fly.

The LAANC system automates the application and approval process for airspace authorizations.

To use LAANC, pilots must meet eligibility requirements, which include having an FAA tracking number (FTN) and passing the knowledge exam.

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Drone Pilot Training Courses

Building upon the support offered by LAANC, Drone Pilot Training Courses further simplify the process of obtaining a drone license by providing comprehensive and tailored learning modules.

These courses, offered both online and in-person, cover a breadth of topics, including FAA Part 107 Regulations, Aerodynamics, and Flight Operations.

The costs of drone pilot training vary depending on the course provider and the specific training program chosen.

However, the benefits of drone pilot training are immense, ranging from a deepened understanding of drone operations to improved proficiency in handling various drone models.

Completing these courses not only enables you to pass the licensing test with ease but also opens up a plethora of job opportunities for licensed drone pilots in sectors such as real estate, agriculture, and filmmaking.

Study Materials

Several study materials are readily available to aid aspiring drone pilots on their journey to obtaining a drone license, providing necessary knowledge on rules, regulations, and practical operations.

The FAA offers valuable online study resources such as the Airman Certification Standards and the Remote Pilot Study Guide.

These resources highlight drone license study techniques and best study practices.

They encourage a structured study schedule, allowing for consistent and focused learning.

Engaging in study groups can offer additional benefits, including collaborative learning and shared knowledge.

Aspiring drone pilots can benefit significantly from these resources and study techniques, making the process of obtaining a drone license less daunting and more achievable with proper preparation and commitment.

FAA’s IACRA System

While aspiring drone pilots equip themselves with the necessary knowledge through dedicated study, the FAA’s IACRA system provides a crucial support system for scheduling and managing the drone license examination process.

The IACRA streamlines the drone license application, ensuring that candidates meet FAA regulations.

This digital interface oversees the pilot certification process, ensuring applicants follow drone safety guidelines and understand airspace restrictions.

It is a comprehensive tool that guarantees the maintenance of safety standards in the aviation industry.

As such, the IACRA system is an integral part of the journey towards becoming a certified drone pilot, helping candidates navigate the complex landscape of drone licensing, while promoting safety and compliance with FAA regulations.

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Regulatory Services

Navigating the intricacies of drone licensing becomes simpler with the assistance of regulatory services such as those provided by companies like Skydio.

These support systems aim to streamline the application process, demystifying eligibility requirements, and providing necessary training and education.

The journey to acquiring a drone license can present several challenges, including understanding complex aviation regulations and demonstrating proficiency in drone operation.

Regulatory services can guide applicants through these hurdles, offering a structured path towards successful license acquisition.

Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, these services can significantly ease the licensing process, enabling individuals and organizations to unlock the full potential of their drone operations.

Drone Pilot Ground School

As we delve into specific support systems for obtaining a drone license, the Drone Pilot Ground School emerges as a critical resource for aspiring drone operators.

This platform provides comprehensive drone pilot training, including study materials and practice tests.

Its extensive curriculum is designed to prepare students for the FAA’s drone licensing exam, integrating regulatory services to ensure compliance with FAA regulations.

A standout feature of the Ground School is its integration with the FAA’s IACRA system, facilitating seamless application for the Remote Pilot Certificate.

Furthermore, it introduces students to the FAA UAS data exchange (LAANC), a crucial tool for requesting airspace authorizations.

This makes the process of obtaining a drone license less daunting, providing the necessary support to ensure success.


In conclusion, obtaining a drone license may present challenges due to the eligibility requirements, the process involved, and the training or education needed.

Despite these challenges, the typical time frame for receiving a drone license is manageable with determination and the right support systems in place.

Thus, while the process may seem daunting initially, with adequate preparation and resources, it is a feasible goal.

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