FAA Taps Drone Experts to Help Develop New Pilot Skills Test

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Courtesy of the FAA

The FAA is tapping a select squad of drone experts to weigh in on pilot testing and certification.

The federal agency last week announced the selection of 12 corporations and groups to advise the agency in developing “test administration requirements for the recreational Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) aeronautical knowledge and safety test.”

Thanks to a 2018 law, recreational drone pilots must pass an online knowledge and safety test. Pilots are also required to carry proof of successful passage while they operate a drone.

FAA officials say there are currently 1 million registered recreational pilots. The agency is currently developing a new test and wants industry experts to review the process.

In September, the FAA issued a Request for Information seeking a partnership with key players in the drone world. Another goal will be to gather best practices on administering the new drone test

The advising group will include representatives from:

  • Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Drone Launch Academy Southeastern University
  • Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC)
  • DJI
  • Horizon Hobby, LLC.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Coach
  • King Schools
  • Unmanned Safety Institute
  • First Person View (FPV) Freedom Coalition
  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
  • Academy of Model Aeronautics
  • Drone Racing League

An FAA statement explains the process:

“The test must be administered electronically by the FAA, community-based organizations, or others designated by the FAA. The FAA’s objective is to work with third party entities to allow them to administer the knowledge training and test content on various platforms for the recreational flyer community.

Section 44809 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (PDF) requires new conditions to operate recreational drones. Many drones can be flown today with minimal training or knowledge of aviation rules or safety practices. The statute provided an opportunity to educate recreational flyers on UAS safety and to bring new flyers into the existing aviation safety culture.”


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