Becoming a Commercial Drone Pilot: More Than Just Practicing in Your Backyard

I'm excited to announce that we’ve added a new tool to our already awesome repertoire at Thin Pig Media – a drone! The DJI Phantom 3 Professional to be exact. Equipped with a 4k camera and loads of cool features, the Phantom 3 will allow us to explore new ways of showcasing our clients and their products. Not to mention, it’s going to make my job way more fun than it already is!

But as I’m starting to dive further into this new venture I’m learning there is a lot more to becoming a “legal” drone pilot than just practice flights in my backyard.

The Regulations

As of June 1, 2016, the FAA finalized their regulations for the commercial flight of Small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS). The regulations were implemented on August 29, 2016, and brought with them a list of tasks that must be completed in order to obtain your commercial pilot's license.

According to the FAA first time pilots must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test (Part 107) at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center
  • Be vetted by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA)

The Test

So what does the Part 107 test consist of? According to, the test includes questions about the following areas of flight:

  • Drone Flight Operations
  • National Airspace Systems (NAS)
  • Small UAS Loading and Performance
  • Drone Laws and FAA Regulations
  • Weather and Micrometeorology

There are 60 multiple choice questions which may require visual references, like airspace maps or charts. In order to pass, you must get at least 70% of the questions correct.

Drone Registration

Last but not least, you must also register your drone (if it weighs between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds). Registration details can be found here

Although this all may seem like a bit much for flying around a small drone to capture some video, these regulations and tests bring a bit of a legitimacy to a still young industry. Better training will also hopefully mean fewer accidents and fewer drones ending up in places where they shouldn’t be.

Now, it’s time to start studying!

Are you interested in doing a video at your company? Send us a message or give us a call and let us know how we can help!