To fly a drone commercially in California, you need to have a drone license (FAA part 107 certification). And to obtain the licence, you must pass a written exam administered by the FAA.
- Steps to Get a Drone License in California
- Breaking Down the Steps
- 1. Meet the eligibility criteria to ensure you qualify
- 2. Obtain your FAA Tracking Number, which is crucial for the process
- 3. Locate and register at a local FAA Knowledge Testing Center
- 4. Sit for the exam at the testing center
- 5. Successfully pass your exam to move forward
- 6. Complete the FAA Form 8710-13 with accurate information
- 7. Lastly, register your drone with the FAA
Steps to Get a Drone License in California
Follow these simple and straightforward steps to easily obtain the drone license:
- Meet the eligibility criteria to ensure you qualify
- Obtain your FAA Tracking Number, which is crucial for the process
- Locate and register at a local FAA Knowledge Testing Center
- Sit for the exam at the testing center
- Successfully pass your exam to move forward
- Complete the FAA Form 8710-13 with accurate information
- Lastly, register your drone with the FAA
Breaking Down the Steps
1. Meet the eligibility criteria to ensure you qualify
To fly a commercial drone in California, you first need to ensure you’re eligible.
- Must be at least 16 years old
- In good physical and mental health
- Competent in English, even if it’s not the first or main language
- Capable of safely operating a drone
For more information, you can visit the official FAA website.
2. Obtain your FAA Tracking Number, which is crucial for the process
After confirming your eligibility, your next task is to secure your FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by registering on the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website. This process is free and straightforward.
Once you’re registered and have your FTN, keep this information safe, as you’ll need your profile to take the FAA Part 107 exam.
3. Locate and register at a local FAA Knowledge Testing Center
Next, locate a local FAA Knowledge Testing Center to sit the FAA test. Unfortunately, the test can’t be taken online, so you’ll have to physically visit a center.
The FAA provides a list of approved Knowledge Testing Centers, so find one that is convenient for you, register, and schedule a date for your exam.
You can take the test at numerous approved Knowledge Testing Centers, like PSI Examination Services-El Monte – Santa Fe Springs, A.T.P. Inc. – LGB, Universal Aviators Academy Inc., and PSI Examination Services-Lawndale. There are plenty more options that you can find on the PSI website.
4. Sit for the exam at the testing center
The FAA Part 107 exam assesses your knowledge as a potential drone pilot. The FAA doesn’t offer test prep, so you might want to consider an online drone school for exam preparation.
The exam covers topics such as nighttime drone operations, airport operations, the effects of substances on flight skills, radio communication, and emergency procedures, among others.
5. Successfully pass your exam to move forward
Passing the FAA Part 107 exam is a crucial step towards obtaining your license. If you fail, don’t worry—you can retake the test after 30 days.
If you pass the exam, which requires a minimum score of 70 percent, then you’re ready to move forward.
6. Complete the FAA Form 8710-13 with accurate information
After passing the FAA test, you need to complete FAA Form 8710-13 on the IACRA website. This form requires your Knowledge Test Exam ID, which you’ll receive 48 hours after taking the exam.
With this form filled out and signed electronically, you authorize the processing of your drone license.
Before receiving your drone license, you’ll be subjected to a TSA security background check. You’ll get a confirmation email containing your temporary drone pilot license which you can print out. This license acts as a commercial drone license until your real license arrives.
Keep in mind that the FAA may need to process other things related to your application before sending you the permanent license.
7. Lastly, register your drone with the FAA
The final step is to register your drone with the FAA. You will need to provide your physical and mailing addresses, email address, phone number, drone make and model, and the specific Remote ID serial number if provided by the manufacturer. The registration fee costs $5 per drone and is valid for three years.
If you are under 13 years of age, someone who is 13 or older must register the drone for you. For non-U.S. residents, the FAA will treat your certificate as a recognition of ownership instead of a U.S. aircraft registration.
That’s all about the drone licensing process in California.
For safe drone flying, you need to follow certain rules. These rules come from the FAA, your state, and your town.
The FAA rules are the same everywhere, but each state has its own rules, and so does California. To know about the drone laws in California, refer to our easy guide.
And if you’re thinking of taking your drone adventures beyond California, you can read our guides about getting a drone license in some other states as well:
1. Do I require a drone license to operate a drone in California?
Yes, you do require a drone license to commercially operate a drone in California. The license is known as a Remote Pilot Certificate, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
2. What licenses do I need to fly my drone in California?
To fly your drone in California, you need a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. Additionally, registration of your drone with the FAA is required if it weighs more than 0.55 lbs.