In this post, I want to share some of the more common questions we get from students while they’re preparing for their Aeronautical Knowledge Text.
How do I reach out to the airport / air traffic control (ATC) for airspace permission?
If you’re operating under Part 107 as a certified Remote PIC, and if you need to operate in Class B, C, D, or Class E controlled airspace, then you DO NOT reach out to ATC / the airport directly for permission.
More on that in our free airspace authorization guide.
Of course, if you’re operating near an airport, it’s a best practice to reach out and to introduce yourself. Make a new friend! It’s also a good idea to consult the Chart Supplement to get a better sense of traffic, operating hours, and any other information that might give you stronger situational awareness during your flight operation.
I think why this is confusing for most folks is that if you’re operating recreationally, you DO need to contact the airport and control tower before flying within five miles of an airport or heliport. But under Part 107, as long as you’re in Class G uncontrolled airspace, this communication is not required.
If you’re looking for airport contact information, check out AirNav.
LAANC, or Low-Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, is a partnership between the FAA and private companies like Skyward, Kittyhawk, Airmap and DJI.
Here’s the full list of LAANC service providers:
LAANC gives drone pilots the ability to apply for near-instant airspace authorization using a mobile/web application.
How does LAANC work?
It’s remarkably easy. You open up an app, put in your mission details, and request access.
Eventually, these new instant authorizations will most likely be incorporated into a larger Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system, which will enable the safe operation of drones in what are becoming more and more crowded skies.
What kind of VHR / airband radio should I buy?
Here’s a response I received directly from the FAA:
Unless your ATC authorization requires you to have two-way radio communications, you would not need that either. Although I still believe you should carry one as a tool to mitigate risk.
So, to clarify, you don’t need to purchase a radio, but having one allows you to tune into aircraft chatter for stronger situational awareness. Here are a few radio models our students have been buying:
My sUAS is already registered recreationally. Do I also need to register it commercially? How does that work?
If you’re operating under Part 107, then yes, you’d need to register commercially. You can have one sUA registered both as a hobby and as a commercial aircraft. You could have two registration numbers on it. Remember, that while a commercial registration would satisfy a hobby flight, a hobby registration would not satisfy a commercial flight.
So how do I register my sUAS? You can do it here. The cost is $5, paid every 3 years.
If you’re already registered recreationally, log back into your account and re-register the sUA as commercial. You can have it registered as both. Make sure you have the commercial registration number on the sUA prior to flight.
Should I get insurance? What are your recommendations?
Yes, if you’re operating sUAS commercially under Part 107, even though the FAA doesn’t require insurance, the market demands it, and you’d be a fool to bring a flying lawnmower into the air without insurance 🙂
We put together a free insurance guide here.
And check out SkyWatch.ai for on-demand insurance starting $5/hour. Much easier (and cheaper) than working with an insurance broker and underwriter to create an annual plan.
What options do I have to research airspace and Sectional Charts?
Here’s a list of the top tools our students are using to research airspace: