After 3 weeks of studying hard nearly every day, I went to my local testing center to take the FAA Part 107 test to become a commercial UAS pilot. About 80 minutes later I got my score and was shocked and elated to see that I got 97%.
Why was I shocked? For as much studying as I did to prepare for this test, I was sure going into it that I would get 100%. I put in a ton of hours leading up to this point. I wanted to learn it–not just pass it (passing grade is 70%).
But as soon as sat down at the testing center and saw the first question, my hopes of that 100% were smashed. The more questions I got, the harder it got. While I was used to blowing through a practice test at home in about 20-30 minutes, this sucker took me about 1:20 to complete.
The FAA exam is no joke. No practice test will quite prepare you for what you see on the actual exam. Of the 60 multiple choice questions I had, there were maybe 4 or 5 of them that were super easy. The rest were hard. Stupid hard. There were a few that took several minutes of analyzing the question and the answers before coming to my choice.
Some of the questions required looking for a key word in the question and then trying to weigh each answer based on that key word. Then using a slow process of elimination to get to my final choice which in a few cases, a wild ass guess. Many of them were just worded to be tricky and fool you.
As I made my way through the exam, I was almost positive that I wouldn’t even get 90% and if I did, it would be barely over. I was 100% sure I would get 80-90% though which is more than enough to pass.
So, much to my surprise the printer just outside the exam room spat out a piece of paper with my name on it and a passing 97% score. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I thought I had done much worse. I guess it came down to putting in the time to over-analyze those tough questions and use what I studied as best I could to come to the right answer.
With that out of the way, you can now expect a few more posts about this whole experience in the near future. This was a huge personal accomplishment that I had put off for years and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for what I’ve achieved.
What does this all really mean? I can now fly any unmanned aircraft (drone or plane) commercially. I can get paid to do so, or use the video coverage I create from the skies above in my own video productions on my monetized YouTube channel, @chris.
But much more importantly, I know a ton about a world I knew very little about before: how airplanes work, airports, air space, charts, weather, weather reports, and so much more. Even if I actually never fly for commercial purposes, it was a goal I always wanted to achieve.
If you ever want to take this exam, my recommendation is to take it very seriously. Yes, you can probably pass with 70% with a day or two of studying but then what’s the point? It’s clear the FAA takes it very seriously and so should you. I did, and it paid off.
I started learning through Pilot Institute with their excellent Part 107 course for the first week, then spent two more weeks studying more — often referring back to previous lessons. I’ll post about where to go (and not go) for additional studying resources in a future article.
Now it’s time for me to fly and see the world from a new perspective. The sky’s the limit! 👨🏻✈️🛫
The video below is incredible… it was filmed and posted to YouTube a few weeks ago around the same time I started my journey. Horrible audio, but they’re still performing and it’s awesome!