CFI Brief: Remote Pilot Privileges

So who’s planning on taking the Remote Pilot Knowledge Test next week? It becomes available August 29. I know I am! Don’t worry, I am well aware I don’t “need” to since I already hold a pilot certificate issued under Part 61, but I figured it would be a great opportunity and good learning experience to take the exam anyway. Not everyone has an interest in drones, but anyone flying in the National Airspace System has something to gain by learning the operational parameters of our new neighbors we’re sharing the sky with. One of the topics covered on the knowledge exam that I have been studying up on is regulations. According to the Airman Certification Standards (ACS-10), 15-25% of the questions will fall under this knowledge category. I thought it would be fun today to take an excerpt from the ASA Remote Pilot Test Prep book and then test our knowledge on a couple of the regulation questions. Start by reading the below except and then see if you can answer all 4 of the sample knowledge test questions correctly. I will provide answers and explanations at the end of the post.

Remote Pilot Privileges
The remote PIC is directly responsible for and is the final authority as to the operation of the sUAS conducted under 14 CFR Part 107. He or she must:

  • Be designated before each flight (but can change during the flight).
  • Ensure that the operation poses no undue hazard to people, aircraft, or property in the event of a loss of control of the aircraft for any reason.
  • Operate the small unmanned aircraft to ensure compliance with all applicable provisions and regulations.

Being able to safely operate the sUAS relies on, among other things, the physical and mental capabilities of the remote PIC, person manipulating the controls, Visual Observer (VO), and any other direct participant in the sUAS operation. Though the person manipulating the controls of an sUAS and VO are not required to obtain an airman medical certificate, they may not participate in the operation of an sUAS if they know or have reason to know that they have a physical or mental condition that could interfere with the safe operation of the sUAS.

A person may not operate or act as a remote PIC or VO in the operation of more than one UA at the same time. Additionally, Part 107 allows transfer of control of an sUAS between certificated remote pilots. Two or more certificated remote pilots transferring operational control (i.e., the remote PIC designation) to each other may do so only if they are both capable of maintaining visual line of sight (VLOS) of the UA and without loss of control (LOC). For example, one remote pilot may be designated the remote PIC at the beginning of the operation, and then at some point in the operation another remote pilot may take over as remote PIC by positively communicating that he or she is doing so. As the person responsible for the safe operation of the UAS, any remote pilot who will assume remote PIC duties should meet all of the requirements of Part 107, including awareness of factors that could affect the flight.

Alright, let’s find out if we learned anything!

1. Who is responsible for ensuring that there are enough crewmembers for a given sUAS operation?
A—Remote Pilot in Command.
B—Person manipulating the controls.
C—Visual Observer.

2. Who is ultimately responsible for preventing a hazardous situation before an accident occurs?
A—Remote Pilot in Command.
B—Person manipulating the controls.
C—Visual Observer.

3. The remote PIC may operate how many sUAS at a time?
C—No more then 2

4. When using a small unmanned aircraft in a commercial operation, who is responsible for informing the participants about emergency procedures?
A—The lead visual observer.
B—The FAA inspector-in-charge.
C—The Remote Pilot in Command.


Click here for the answers and explanations, no cheating!

You can find all Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Regulations in the 2017 FAR/AIM.


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