In May 2018, the FAA announced details about the recurrent testing and re-certification process for U.S. drone pilots looking to maintain their Remote Pilot Certificate. Huzzah!
The FAA made the announcement just as the two year window arrived for those who tested when the FAA first released the Part 107 requirements back in 2016. We receive a lot of questions about re-certification, and we’re happy to provide some clarification about what the process looks like.
As detailed in the Part 107 regulations, your FAA Remote Pilot Certificate has a 24-month shelf life—which means that drone pilots need to go through a recurrent knowledge testing process every two years to re-up and to maintain their stature as a commercially certificated sUAS operator.
Friendly reminder that our Drone Pilot Ground School students have lifetime access to our training materials for re-certification purposes. Plus, we offer two dedicated lessons and three-full length practice exams designed around the recurrent test matter.
As expected, the process for taking the recurrent knowledge test is similar to the first time you take the knowledge test, in that you will need to book a testing appointment at one of around 700 FAA-approved knowledge testing centers across the United States. The only difference in scheduling is this time you will select the “Unmanned General – Recurrent” test instead of the “Unmanned Aircraft General – Small” as the test you would like to take.
Also, you’ll need to achieve at least a 70% score to pass the test.
But the breakdown of topics that remote pilots will be tested on is a bit different:
A few items to call out:
- Note the absence of areas III and IV from this list, which corresponds to the Weather and Loading & Performance Airmen Certification Standard areas. Pilots won’t be tested on those concepts a second time around. But everything else is up for testing, so make sure to brush up on your regulatory and airspace knowledge. Sectional Charts aren’t disappearing anytime soon, folks.
- The recurrent test will be 40 questions (instead of 60 questions on the initial exam)
- You will be given 1.5 hours to complete your recurrent test (instead of 2 hours during the initial exam)
The FAA also writes:
A person who is to take the recurrent knowledge test must present their remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating to the airman knowledge testing center’s registration employee, or the airman knowledge testing center’s test proctor.
So make sure to bring your certification card with you to the test!
And, here are a few things to note after you take the recurrent test:
- No new certificate is issued. You will continue to use the original hard copy certificate and keep your most recent test results handy in the case of a check.
- No action is required in the FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA), unlike with the original knowledge test. You may recall that after passing the original test, you were required to complete FAA Form 8710-13 using IACRA. This step is not required with the recurrent test.
- There is no penalty or fine for testing after your certification expires, but you will not be legal to fly commercially until the recurrent test is passed.
Have questions? Let us know over at firstname.lastname@example.org.