It has been a LONG time since I’ve added a rating or certificate to my pilot qualifications. But I’ve just added the easiest certificate ever.
If I understand it correctly — and that’s a big if — I’ve just earned a Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small Unmanned Aircraft System Rating.
How easy was it to add this certificate? From start to finish, about 90 to 120 minutes (and I proceeded at a slow and deliberate pace).
Already a pilot?
Those of us with a Part 61 pilot’s certificate and a current Part 61.56 flight review can add this certificate by completing a course and passing the associated 35 question test (with a 100% score) at FAASafety.gov. Once successful, you’ll download a Certificate of Achievement for Course ALC-451.
After jumping over that rather low hurdle, all that’s left is to submit an application using the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website. A new — and straightforward — experience for me. (You can also use FAA Form 8710-13 if you’d prefer.)
With your IACRA application and Certificate of Achievement in hand, connect with your flight instructor to complete the process. The morning after my instructor and I met, my temporary certificate was available at the IACRA website. Easy.
And the point is?
What’s the point? This certificate allows me to operate a drone and charge for my services or use it in my business.
The most obvious application of my Remote Pilot Certificate is using a camera-equipped drone to shoot video or stills of anything someone wants filmed. And I can do this for hire or as a part of a story for General Aviation News.
Another option is overseeing a team that includes a person who doesn’t possess a Remote PIC certificate. In that case, I’d ultimately be responsible for all operational activities.
The drone industry is akin to the wild west. It is evolving so rapidly it’s hardly possible to keep up. But at least this certificate provides entry to the party.
And I happen to believe a healthy population of experienced full-scale pilots in the Remote PIC ranks is a good thing. Care to join me?