Before you can produce any commercial drone photography, you must first successfully pass the Part 107 knowledge test that went into effect August 29, 2016. This post is not intended to be an in-depth study guide for the Part 107 knowledge test. I merely intend to give overall advice on how to prepare for the test, and what materials I found helpful during the study process. Here are the 6 tips I have on what and how to study for the Part 107 knowledge test:
- Understand the Breakdown of Test Questions – The FAA spells out the approximate breakdown of question types on the test. I have reproduced them below:
UAS Topics Percentage of Items on Test
Airspace & Requirements 15-25%
Loading and Performance 7-11%
I found this estimate to be extremely accurate. Additionally, the FAA provides the exact topics that are to be covered within these main topics. These can be found on the FAA website.
I made sure that I downloaded each reference listed in this breakdown. The FAA did a great job with this reference list, as I was able to find each topic listed in these references.
- Study, Study, Study – This test is by no means a cake walk, especially if you have no previous piloting experience. I am an Aeronautical Engineer, and I still made sure that I thoroughly studied for the exam. I studied for 2-3 hours per day for several weeks, probably totaling 40-50 hours of study. The only specific section I felt I had an advantage on was the Loading and Performance section, since I use many of these principles in my day job.
- Do (and Understand) Every Question in the FAA Part 107 Sample Exam – The FAA produced a sample exam ( ) that does a great job of giving you a good idea of the level of difficulty of questions that you will encounter on the actual exam. When I took the exam, I did not feel that the actual questions I had were significantly more difficult than the sample questions. Make sure you do every one of these questions, and understand the concepts behind them. Answers to the questions can be found here.
- Take Advantage of the FAA UAS Study Guide – This was another very helpful resource put out by the FAA. It had a very good overview of each topic. Of the resources I consulted, I found this to be the best one with regards to information on weather.
- Take an Online Part 107 Study Course – Since the Part 107 Knowledge test went live, there have been several online study courses pop up. I didn’t personally use one of these, but if it makes you feel comfortable, by all means sign up for one of these. From the ones I have scanned, they all seem to be reasonably priced.
- COMPLETELY Understand Airspaces – Personally, this was the topic that I spent the most time studying. There weren’t as many airspace questions on the test as I expected, but there were still quite a few. The biggest thing I did to study for these types of questions was purchase a Gleim Private Pilot test prep book. There were tons of airspace questions to practice on, as well as weather questions. This is a great resource, as it has collected actual test questions that have been released by the FAA, so you can expect to see the same types of airspace questions on your Part 107 knowledge test.
Well, there you have it. These are my 6 tips on what and how to study for the Part 107 knowledge test. If you understand ALL the content outlined in the FAA study guide, you will be fine. Through my preparations, I made a 90% on the test. You can do the same or better. Good luck and happy flying!