Well, I finally got my FAA Part 107 UAS drone certification. I have been wanting to get the certification for a while. Being a certified drone pilot opens up many future profitable opportunities for photographers who want to commercially shoot photos and video for customers and clients. That is the reason I wanted the certification. I was getting pretty frustrated being limited to the areas and subjects I could legally shoot and video as a hobbyist. So I knew that over time I would need the certification.
So who needs to be drone certified? Anyone that plans to capture photos or video commercially has to be certified. Now many people think that getting your certification is a way for the FAA to get $150 out of you for testing, but it is more than that. Working toward your certification makes you studying about so many areas you need to be aware of as a certified drone pilot. You learn what you legally can do as a drone operator. You learn areas such as reporting procedures, how to read map data, weather information, FAA messaging, aircraft air patterns, how to identify airports, military operations area, restricted areas, prohibited areas, alert areas, and reporting procedures. Safety, crew management, risk management are other important areas that are covered. After doing about 2 weeks of studying for the Part 107 certification, I developed a better appreciation for aircraft, pilots, and drone safety.
It is pretty easy to find studying materials, tutorials, and videos on Youtube to help you study for the certification. Two resources I used for my studies was the online course at Remote Pilot 101 and a Youtube video by Tony Northrup. Both were very helpful. But, most importantly, it takes time to study the material and become familiar with in the information. The test is 60 to 63 questions with 3 potential answers to each question. In reality, you have a 50-50 shot at getting the answer correctly if you eliminate the distractor choice (which is usually pretty easy to find). The most important thing to do is study. I cannot see anyone going into the exam without studying. You don't want to fail the test and lose $150. If you do, you can retake the test in 2 weeks and pay another $150 to try again. I did not want to do that.
Youtube Training by Tony Northrup
Flying a drone is fun and can be profitable for a photographer. There are people and business owners that need certified drone pilots to shoot images and interesting videos. I really enjoy the challenge of capturing unique images and video with unique compositions. You can really do that with drone photography. It takes patience and practice to develop one's drone piloting skills. So, if you are new to drones, practice as a hobbyist and work toward getting your drone certification. You will be glad you did.
Until next time, keep shooting!