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CFI Brief: Remote Pilot Knowledge Exam, Inside Scoop!

I took the new Remote Pilot knowledge test this week and scored a 95%! While proud of my score, my strength isn’t in my genius but rather my ability to develop and execute a plan: I studied properly and used all the recommended materials to achieve the highest possible grade I could. So here’s the inside scoop from my perspective: if you study properly and use the correct materials, the test really will not be all that difficult. The key word being STUDY!

Get the Remote Pilot eKit here!

Based on my firsthand experience, I have created an organized 7-day study preparation plan. I suggest a minimum of 3 hours spent on the topic; for some it might take longer or additional days. Everyone learns at a different pace so don’t rush yourself. The goal here is to learn so you can safely operate your small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) in the National Airspace System. Pay close attention to the text. This will allow you to transfer your learning to all iterations of how a particular topic may be tested on your specific exam.

Here is the material that will be required. Things like the FAA Study Guide are available for free directly from the FAA; the rest can be purchased from www.asa2fly.com. There is no way around it; you will need this material to achieve the aeronautical knowledge for a passing score.

Required Study Material:


DAY 1: FAA Certification process
Your first order of business is to become familiar with the Remote Pilot Certificate and all that it entails. By reading over the below material you will better understand what is required of you as the applicant and how best to use the available material and references.

Read:

  1. FAA Study Guide—Introduction
  2. Test Prep—Instructions
  3. Airman Certification Standard—All the required knowledge detailed in the ACS are covered in the ASA Test Prep but it doesn’t hurt to do a quick review through the ACS document itself.

Get the Remote Pilot eKit here!

DAY 2: Regulations
Regulations are a good chunk of the test, especially Part 107. About 15-25% of the questions on the knowledge test will cover regulations. Remember: all pertinent regulations are contained in Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, so read it and then read it again.

  1. Read the FAA Study Guide—Chapter 1: Applicable Regulations
  2. Review 14 CFR Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR/AIM)
  3. Test Prep—Chapter 1: Regulations.

Carefully read through each sections study material (the text that precedes the practice questions) and answer all section questions. Once you can answer 90% correct you’re ready to move on to the next subject.


DAY 3: Airspace and Charts
Airspace and charts is another good chunk of the knowledge test, again about 15-25%. Make sure you have a solid understanding and ability to read sectional charts, particularly identifying airspace and frequencies. The back of your Test Prep book contains Legend 1 and several sectional chart excerpts; review them! You will be handed a separate book at the testing center with these same figures to reference on the actual knowledge test. Legend 1 will come in handy (hint hint).

  1. Read the FAA Study Guide—Chapter 2: Airspace Classification, Operating Requirements, and Flight Instructions & Chapter 11: Airport Operations
  2. Watch VTP Video Segments:

VTP_PVT3_Procedures_Web
Procedures and Airport Operations

VD-PVT3-09-web
Enroute Flight

  1. Test Prep—Chapter 2: National Airspace System

Carefully read through each sections study material and answer all section questions. Once you can answer 90% correct you’re ready to move on to the next subject.


DAY 4: Weather
Weather, it is an extremely broad topic and a lot to cover so I would highly suggest you watch the VTP videos below. These videos will really help you out understanding the specifics of how and what kind of weather impacts flight.

  1. Read the FAA Study Guide—Chapter 3a: Aviation Weather Services & Chapter 3b: Effects of Weather on Small Unmanned Aircraft Performance
  2. Watch VTP Video Segments:

Weather
Weather

Weather Services
Weather Services

  1. Test Prep—Chapter 3: Weather

Carefully read through each sections study material and answer all section questions. Once you can answer 90% correct you’re ready to move on to the next subject.


Get the Remote Pilot eKit here!

DAY 5: Aircraft Performance
If you are already familiar with the operations of an sUAS, today’s subject will be a little more recognizable as it deals with loading and performance of sUAS. Although a lot of information needs to be covered, it is one of the smallest knowledge topics tested, consisting of 7-11% of your total knowledge test.

  1. Read the FAA Study Guide—Chapter 4: Small Unmanned Aircraft Loading & Chapter 8: Determining the Performance of Small Unmanned Aircraft
  2. Test Prep—Chapter 4: Loading and Performance

Carefully read through each sections study material and answer all section questions. Once you can answer 90% correct you’re ready to move on to the next subject.


DAY 6: Operations
The last knowledge topic is a big one, operations, consisting of 35-45% of the total questions on your exam. Spend some extra time reviewing Aeronautical Decision Making. This is probably something that will be fairly new to you and is an important aspect in aviation. To learn more about aviation communications I would also suggest you watch the below video where you can hear actual radio communications between pilots and air traffic control.

  1. Read the FAA Study Guide—Chapter 5: Emergency Procedures, Chapter 6: Crew Resource Management, Chapter 7: Radio Communications Procedures, Chapter 9: Physiological Factors Affecting Pilots Performance, Chapter 10: Aeronautical Decision Making
  2. Watch VTP Video Segment:

Communications Procedures
Communications Procedures

  1. Test Prep—Chapter 5: Operations

Carefully read through each sections study material and answer all section questions. Once you can answer 90% correct you’re ready to move on to the next subject.


DAY 7: Final Review
Your final study day should be used as an overall review of all the knowledge content. This is a great time to use the 5 free online practice tests that came with your ASA Remote Pilot Test Prep book, or unlimited tests in the Prepware Remote Pilot Software. Once you can consistently score 90% on the practice tests and feel confident with the knowledge behind each question you’re ready to take the exam. A common mistake that new pilot applicants make when studying is trying to memorize the study questions. Many of the questions in the Test Prep may be very close to what you will see on the actual exam, but it’s important to remember they are NOT exact replicas. The actual database of FAA Knowledge Test questions for Remote Pilot is kept private and not available to the public – it’s what the FAA refers to as a ‘closed exam.’ So it is very important to actually understand the knowledge associated with the question so you can answer any version of the questions you’ve been studying.

  • Consistently score 90% on practice knowledge exams.
  • Fully understand the knowledge presented in the FAA Study Guide and Test Prep.
  • Test Scheduled, Date & Time:____________

I’d say good luck but you’re not going to need it if you follow the above plan!

Download the remote pilot seven day study plan and be sure to get the Remote Pilot eKit which contains all components of the 7-day plan.

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