• Scott Weems

To Be or Not To Be Licensed

For as long as there have been new professions, the government had always found a way to get a piece of the action and drones are no exception. So the question is, do I need to be licensed to fly my drone?

That's right, the government has regulated the flying of drones both recreationally and professionally. The Federal Aviation Administration or FAA is the regulating government agency that has taken on the ever tasking effort to regulate over one million drones occupying the U.S. airspace. In February 2018, more than one million drones have been registered, both recreational and professional use drones.

Do I need to register my drone? Do I need a pilot's license? What do I need to know about getting a remote pilot's license? Can I make money with my drone without getting a license? I intend to walk you through those questions here.

Now there are three things to know here:

  1. Drone Registration - ...is for the actual drone.

  2. Recreational Remote Pilot - A pilot not intending to profit from flying their drone.

  3. Licensed Remote Pilot - A professional that is compensated for flying a drone in a commercial setting. This includes public aircraft. Public aircraft would be a drone that would be operated by a federal, state, and/or local government.

Drone Registration - Everyone must register their drone if the drone weighs more than .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. This is an FAA regulation. You can register your drone by clicking the link below. I believe that the fee for registering our drone is $5.00, at least it was when this was written.

Recreational Remote Pilot - If you intend to use the drone just for fun and personal home movies you do not need a license. You cannot be hired for drone services (i.e. photography, videography, mapping, or anything else that would allow you to make any money with said drone services).

Remote Pilots License or Part 107 Pilot - If you intend to profit from flying your drone, you must pass an FAA Exam at a certified testing center.


To register your drone (Recreational, Part 107, or Public Aircraft) visit the FAA website https://faadronezone.faa.gov/#/.

Recreational Pilots should check out the FAA website https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/.

Part 107 Pilots, check out the FAA website https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/ and https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/become_a_drone_pilot/

Part 107 Testing Center Information: http://candidate.catstest.com/sitesearch.php