The FAA Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) was published on February 15, 2015. This was the instruction on how to comment on the establishment of the regulatory framework needed to handle integrating small UAS’s into the American controlled air space.
The FAA released the Part 107 Regulations on June 21, 2016. These are the guidelines that were expected to loosen up the restrictions on the Commercial Use of Drones. Visit http://www.faa.gov/uas/ to learn more about FAA Guidance on UAS.
For the last several years, one needed a private pilot license, health certificate, insurance and a special exemption called a 333 Exemption in order to fly a drone for hire.
Now, the FAA has released a simpler license called a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating to operate small Unmanned systems without the need for a full pilot certification. This new Certificate will allow for limited commercial uses, within the operators’ line of site, during daytime hours.
Knowledge of Airspace Classification and use is requisite to flying UAS just as it is for flying a manned aircraft. Check out chapter 14 of the Pilot handbook here to get an idea of what that involves.
Basic knowledge of aeronautical components, air traffic control, NOTAM’s, TFR’s, flight planning, records keeping and FAA reporting of accidents are among some of the requirements to obtain the new UAS certification. The Advisory Circular pertaining to Part 107 can be found at http://www.faa.gov/uas/media/AC_107-2_AFS-1_Signed.pdf or for the Entire Regulation Click Here
This link offers another great list of aviation schools where one might inquire to see if they are offering the Aeronautical Knowledge Test and/or small UAS training courses; go to http://www.aviationschoolsonline.com/flight-schools/Florida/
The part 61 Certification process, which is a component of becoming a pilot for manned aircraft, does meet the new requirements for aeronautical knowledge. This course costs between $1,500 – $3,000 to complete at a flight training academy. There will likely be adapted versions of that certification test, that are only relevant to drone operators, which will evolve and which should cost much less to take. The FAA has indicated that their registration process should be up and running in August, so testing won’t start in most facilities until then.