The Federal Aviation Administration announced that drone operators will have to pass a UAS aeronautical knowledge test as one of the requirements for legally flying drones commercially.

Where you can take the FAA’s UAS aeronautical knowledge test:

The test can be taken at one of the 696 testing centers in the United States. Following is a link to all locations where the test can be arranged and taken.  Applicants need to schedule the testing appointment in advance and bring a government-issued photo ID.


Complete List Of Testing Locations


Among the requirements to fly a UAS commercially include flying below 400 feet, flying only during daytime and flying less than 100 miles per hour. But the standout requirement is that commercial drone operators will need to take a written, in-person, drone-specific, aeronautical knowledge test.Drone operators with existing Part 61 pilot certificates can bypass the in-person, written exam and instead take an online course. But for drone operators without that, they’ll have to take the test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.The FAA has released a drafted document of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards, outlining what you can tentatively expect from the test.  The test will become available on August 29, 2016.What are the expected areas this commercial drone test will cover?

The FAA’s draft says test areas include:

  • Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
  • Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
  • Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
  • Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
  • Emergency procedures
  • Crew resource management
  • Radio communication procedures
  • Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
  • Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
  • Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
  • Airport operations
  • Maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedures

Get more in-depth information about each of these topics.

How do I study for the UAS aeronautical knowledge test?

While the test will include a mix of both drone-specific and general manned aircraft questions, it’s unclear whether a study guide for the test will be developed. For now, readers have pointed out that the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, which is the official FAA handbook, is a good place to start studying.

How much will the aeronautical drone test cost?

The FAA estimates the out-of-pocket cost for an individual to become a certified remote pilot with a small UAS rating would be $150, less than any other airman certification that allows for non-recreational operations in the national airspace.