A person flying a drone outside

Learn How to Legally Fly a Drone

How to Get a Drone License

Drones and drone flying have been a very popular hobby for a few years now. They are not just for hobbyists, however. Some big-name delivery companies are actually using drones to complete one-day orders if the delivery is within a certain distance from their warehouse facility.

For example, if a drone has an operational area of five miles, the delivery company operating the drone can use a drone (or drones!) to make a delivery within that five-mile radius. Any customer within that zone can request “same day delivery” at checkout, and the company uses its drones to make that delivery. The remote operators of those drones are able to see where the drones are going thanks to cameras and satellite tracking.

However, none of that would be possible without employees getting a proper drone license. A drone license is used to pilot drones outdoors that weigh more than a half-pound. If you have a drone that is heavier with lots of extra bells and whistles (like those of the delivery companies), then you definitely need a license to fly your drone outside. How do you acquire one? Keep reading to learn more.

What is a Drone License?

A drone license allows you fly just about any drone at any distance outside. It is issued by your local FAA, and there is a cost. There are still some limitations, even when you have a drone license. Drones cannot be used for illegal activity, such as window-peeping or spying. The license also entitles commercial drone pilots to fly drones for the purpose of profit.

Do You Need a License to Operate a Drone?

Do you need a license to operate a drone? If you fly any drone inside, you don’t need a license. If you fly super-lightweight drones outside, you don’t need a license.

If you fly heavier drones and take them around for miles, you need a license because you are flying in what is considered “private space” owned by homeowners and businesses, who might see your drone as something intrusive. You also cannot fly a drone in air space near airports or space launch areas.

If you are operating your drone or drones for business purposes, do you need a license to operate a drone? Yes. You absolutely need a license to use drones to make money.

Steps to Getting a Drone License

Do you know how to get a drone license? Most people don’t, and they are often surprised to learn that they need to get one at all. You have to track down your local FAA, and apply for an FAA part 107 course certificate. There is a cost of about $100-$150 depending on where you live, and any special requirements in your state or city.

The FAA part 107 course is both manual training and course flying practice, with exams to follow. You have to take, study, and practice the whole thing to get a drone license. There is a drone test prep course, too, which may help you get all of the turns, steering, and maneuvers right on the skills exam. The drone test prep course can be used as often as you feel the need to practice to get something right.

The book part of the exam is probably easier, although you will have to absorb a lot of flight and airspace regulations. Knowing what isn’t and what is a drone license is just the basic stuff; the flight regulations are on par with what actual manned aircraft pilots know. If you pass both parts of the exam, you receive your license to fly any drone outdoors.