By now, we all have seen the proliferation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones. They are everywhere. Anybody with a few bucks can go on-line and buy a very nice remote flying machine with a camera. Unfortunately, anything much bigger than a stocking-stuffer can do some serious damage to manned flying machines, like airplanes, and so the FAA stepped in to regulate their territory.
At first, the FAA demanded an actual pilot license to operate a drone (depending on size and usage), sending a lot of people scrambling to either get a license or find someone who already had one. That was probably a bit much, though, so the regulations have been modified and a special UAV license is now available. The good news, if you are already a pilot, is that it’s much easier to obtain. But make no mistake, even if you possess an ATP with a gazillion hours, you still need the UAV license if you want to fly a drone for profit.
For pilots, it’s as easy as going into your IACRA account, reading the study guide, and taking the test. Once you have successfully passed your test, you can get your information verified by any CFI (make sure you bring your FTN number.) The CFI will check your identity and that you have a current Flight Review, then you will soon receive your UAV license in the mail. Easy peasy.
If you don’t already have a pilot license, then you will need to go through the entire course and test at an approved testing center. The course includes airspace, weather, and everything else you would learn as a private pilot, so it’s a little more extensive.