Federal Aviation Administration Remote Pilot Training

So, you have decided to become an FAA certified Remote Pilot? Congratulations! This course is designed to help you through each section of the Remote Pilot Aeronautical Knowledge Test, and test your knowledge at the end of each module. The training is four hours long, and is designed to prepare you for the Remote Pilot Exam administered by an approved Federal Aviation Administration testing center. 

Note: This course is for anyone who does not hold a current Biennial Flight Review (BFR) under 14 CFR Part 61. For current pilots, the FAA has a different process for becoming a certified Remote Operator. 

The Test: What you need to know

The Remote Pilot Aeronautical Exam

The test:

  • 60 Questions
  • 2 hours
  • Must achieve 70% or better
  • 14 waiting period of you fail
  • Pass or fail, do not lose your test report

UAS Topics

Percentage of Items on the Test

I. Regulations


II. Airspace and Requirements


III. Weather


IV. Loading and Performance


V. Operations


Total Questions


How to sign up for the exam

The Aeronautical Knowledge Exam can be taken at any one of a number of FAA approved testing centers, the list can be found here.  You can call and schedule the exam, the cost is $150.

You will need to bring a picture ID with a current address and signature

If you do not have an ID with a current address, the following are acceptable:

  • FAA Form AC 8060-1, FAA Airman Certificate

  • FAA Form 8060-4, Temporary Airman Certificate

  • FAA Form 8420-2, Medical Certificate – Class and Student Pilot Certificate

  • FAA Form 8500-9, Medical Certificate __________ Class

  • FAA Form 8610-1, Mechanic’s Application for Inspection Authorization

  • FAA Form 8610-2, Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application

  • FAA Form 8710-1, Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application

  • FAA Form 8710-2, Student Pilot Certificate

  • Other acceptable forms of applicant address verification:

  • DD Form 93, Record of Emergency Data

  • DD Form 2058, State of Legal Residence Certificate

  • Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (aka, Department of State / Department of Homeland Security “Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) eligibility printout”)

  • Public utilities (i.e., water, electric, gas) statement

  • Statements from cable companies are NOT an acceptable form of applicant address verification.

  • Mortgage statement

  • Lease agreement (signed)

  • Property deed

  • Property tax bill or receipt

  • Homeowners or renters insurance statement

  • Motor vehicle title/registration documentation

  • U.S. Military ‘Home of Record’ documentation

  • Voter registration card


Remote Pilot Certificate

To be a Remote Pilot, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old

  • Read, write, speak, and understand English

  • Be in good physical and mental condition

  • Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge exam

  • Pass a recurrent exam every two years (24 calendar months)

    • This means if you passed the test on July 15th, 2016, you are current until July 31st, 2018. 

Part 107 Applicability

Who and what does this new rule apply to?

  • Aircraft Registration
  • Airmen Certification
  • Operations within the United States

Who and what does this new rule not apply to?

  • Air Carrier Operations (Part 121, 135)
  • Any aircraft subject to Part 101 subpart(e) - Model Aircraft
  • Any operation conducted under 333 exemption
  • Public operation (Section 334 FMRA)
  • Aircraft under 250 grams - Micro rules could be added later


If you want to fly your drone for recreation, which part do you fall under?

  • 14 CFR Part 107, all drone operations must comply with this part
  • 14 CFR Part 101
  • Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform act of 2012

Operating Rules

First, the obvious stuff...

  • All civil sUAS must be registered under Part 48 using the FAA’s online registration system

  • Remote pilot must check the aircraft prior to flight to determine it is a condition safe for operation (duh)

  • No person may continue flight of an sUAS when they know the sUAS is no longer safe for operation

  • Do not operate an sUAS if you have a physical or mental condition that would interfere with the operation

  • Only one sUAS at a time!

Operating Rules: Accident Reporting

  • Must report an accident no later than 10 calendar days if it meets this criteria:

    • Serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness

    • Damage to property other than the small UAS unless;

      • Cost of repair (including labor) does not exceed $500; or

      • The fair market value of the property does not exceed $500

What qualifies as a serious injury?

Operating Rules: Accident Reporting

  • Submit the report to local Flight Safety District Office (FSDO) with the following information:

    • Remote Pilot’s name and contact information

    • Remote Pilot’s FAA airman certificate number

    • sUAS registration number

    • Location of the accident

    • Date of the accident

    • Person(s) injured and extent of injury, if any

    • Property damaged and extent of damage, if any

    • Description of what happened

Operating Rules: Remote PIC

Remote Pilot in Command:

  • Must be designated before, or during the flight of an sUAS

  • YOU are responsible for the operation, and have final authority

  • YOU must ensure that the operation will not pose a hazard to people, other aircraft, or property on the ground

  • YOU are responsible for complying with applicable FAA regulations

"Training Clause"

  • Can operate without Remote Pilot Certificate if that person is under direct supervision of a Remote PIC, and can immediately take control of the flight if necessary.

Operating Rules: In-Flight Emergency

  • In an in-flight emergency that requires immediate action, a Remote Pilot may deviate from any regulation in this part

  • Must provide written report to FAA administrator only upon request

Operating Rules: Hazardous Operations

  • DO NOT operate sUAS in a reckless manner which endangers the life or property of another

  • DO NOT drop things from an sUAS that creates hazard to people and property

  • DO NOT operate your sUAS from another aircraft

  • DO NOT operate your sUAS from a boat, or vehicle, unless;

    • It’s in a sparsely populated area

    • Not transporting goods

  • DO NOT transport hazardous materials

Operating Rules: Alcohol and Drugs

  • No person may operate an sUAS, or act as a crewmember;

    • Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage - to help you remember: ‘8 hours from bottle to throttle!’

    • While under the influence of alcohol

    • More on this in the physiology section!

Operating Rules: Daylight Operation

  • No person may operate at night

  • Can operate during Civil twilight IF the sUAS has anti-collision lighting (visible up to 3 SM).

    • Civil twilight is: period of time beginning after official sunset, and ending 30 after; or

    • The period of time 30 minutes before official sunrise

    • These times do not apply in Alaska

Operating Rules: Visual Line of Sight

  • What is VLOS?

    • Maintaining sight of sUAS without any device so that the Remote Pilot, or Visual Observer can see the aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to:

      • Know the location

      • Determine the altitude, attitude, and orientation

      • Observe airspace for other aircraft, or hazards

      • Determine that the aircraft does not endanger life, and property

Operating Rules: Visual Observer

Only applies IF a VO is used for the operation. VOs are not required under Part 107

  • Remote Pilot and VO must remain in constant communication

  • Remote Pilot must ensure VO can see the aircraft at all times

  • All crew including VO must coordinate to:

    • Scan airspace for potential collision hazards

    • Maintain awareness of the position of sUAS

Operating Rules: Operating Near Aircraft

  • Must yield the right of way to all aircraft

  • Do not fly so close as to create a collision hazard


Operating Rules: Operating over People

Don’t, unless;

  • They are participating in the operation; or

  • Under cover of a structure, or covered stationary vehicle

Operating Rules: External Loads

The “Package Delivery” Clause

External loads are allowed if the object being carried is securely attached and does not adversely affect the controllability of the aircraft. Center of gravity covered in a later section. 

Transportation of property is allowed if:

  • Flying weight of aircraft including cargo is under 55lbs

  • Conducted VLOS, and NOT from moving vehicle or aircraft

  • Flight occurs within state lines

Operating Rules: Operating from Vehicles

  • Can operate from a moving vehicle, or water-borne vehicle over sparsely populated areas

  • Does not apply to carrying another person’s property for hire or compensation.

  • Sparsely populated could mean

    • Farm land (rural)

    • Less than 100 people per square mile

Operating Rules: Airpsace

  • Class G (uncontrolled, not unregulated) airspace only - unless you have ATC permission

    • Lessons on airspace in the next section.

  • Airports

    • Do not operate in a manner that interferes with airport operations (also heliports, and seaplane bases)

  • No Prohibited and Restricted areas - unless you have ATC permission

  • Must comply with Notice to Airmen (NOTAMs) - Understanding NOTAMs covered later in this course!

Operating Rules: Preflight and Inspections

As PIC, prior to every operation, you are required to:

  • Assess the environment. Are there people around? Trees? This assessment must include.

    • Local weather

    • Local airspace restrictions

    • People and property

    • Other ground hazards

  • Ensure participating persons are informed about the all elements of flight (flight brief):

    • Operating conditions

    • Emergency Procedures

    • Contingency Procedures

    • Roles and responsibilities

    • Hazards

  • Obvious stuff…

    • Ensure control links are working

    • Enough power to operate for intended duration

    • Ensure all objects attached are secured

Operating Rules: Operating Limitations for sUAS

  • Ground speed cannot exceed 87 knots

  • Altitude above ground under 400 feet unless;

    • Within 400 feet of a structure

  • Minimum visibility is 3 statute miles

  • Away from clouds - 500 feet below, 2000 feet horizontally

    • How do you know how high the clouds are?

If you are not a fan of math, METARs and other aviation weather sources will give you cloud heights as well. Decoding METARs are covered in a later section. 

Waivers from Part 107

Would you like to fly outside of the conditions and limitations in Part 107? You can! As long as you can show to the FAA that you meet an equivelant level of safety. Here is a list of waivable items:

107.25 – Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft. However, no waiver of this provision will be issued to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.

107.29 – Daylight operation.

107.31 – Visual line of sight aircraft operation. However, no waiver of this provision will be issued to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.

107.33 – Visual observer.

107.35 – Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems.

107.37(a) – Yielding the right of way.

107.39 – Operation over people.

107.41 – Operation in certain airspace.

107.51 – Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft.

Aircraft Registration: 14 CFR Part 48

  • No more N-Numbers! Online system now provides FA numbers

  • Registration good for 3 years

  • Must be at least 13 years of age

  • Cost is $5

  • Must keep information up to date

  • Registration, pilot certificate must be kept during operation in either digital or paper form.

Marking the Aircraft:

  • Maintained in legible condition

  • Must remain affixed to aircraft

  • Accessible and visible upon inspection, can be enclosed, but accessible without tool.

To avoid a collision with a manned airplane, you estimate that your UA climbed to 600 feet AGL. To whom must you report this deviation?

  • Air Traffic Control
  • The National Transportation Safety Board
  • Upon Request of the Federal Aviation Administration

According to 14 CFR part 48, when would a small UA owner not be permitted to register it?

  • The owner is less than 13 years of age
  • All persons must register their small UA
  • The owner does not have a valid United States driver's license

What is required to operate during civil twilight?

  • Must be operate in a sparsely populated area
  • Must use a transponder to transmit position
  • Use of anti-collision lighting

Airspace classification, Operating Requirements, and Flight Restrictions affecting sUAS Operations

Airspace Classification

The United States has the safest and most complex airspace in the world. The FAA has authority over this airspace from the ground up, and is responsible for making sure air traffic flies smoothly and efficiently.

Anyone operating a UAS is responsible for flying within FAA guidelines and regulations. Operators should be aware of where it is and is not safe to fly.

Controlled airspace is a generic term that covers the different classifications of airspace and defined dimensions within which air traffic control (ATC) service is provided in accordance with the airspace classification. Controlled airspace consists of:

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C
  • Class D
  • Class E

Click on the annotations below to read more about each type of airspace.

A, B, C, D, and E airspace require ATC clearance prior to entry, 3 SM of visibility for Visual Flight Rules (VFR), and 500' below, and 2000' horizontal clearance from clouds during visual flight

Class G does not require ATC permission to operate

What is VFR?

Visual flight rules (VFR) are a set of regulations under which a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going.

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) are a set of regulations that are established under conditions in which flight by outside visual reference may be unsafe. 

VFR is the only type of flight allowed under Part 107. Here are the requirements depending on the airspace you are in:

Note: Although these are the requirements for manned aircraft Part 107.51 states that the flight visibility must be no less than 3 SM from the control station. 

VFR Sectionals

A sectional chart is a type of aeronautical chart used for navigation under VFR. These charts show a range of information including terrain elevation, obstacles, airport boundaries, and many other things. These charts are updated every six months and serve as the FAA's official reference for airspace navigation.

Like the 3D airspace diagrams mentioned in a previous section, these representations are two dimensional. For example, the class C airspace around Lehigh is represented in segments. The inner circle goes all the way down to the surface to protect the ground and airspace directly around the airport. As you move away, the floor of the airspace lifts to allow for operations beneath the airspace layer. 

Check out the annotations on the chart above! Can you find other landmarks, and airspace markings not labeled on the chart? See if you can find a glider operation. Any visual landmarks? (Denoted by a flag)

In the next few sections, we will show you how to read this chart, and decipher between various airpsace classes. 

VFR Sectional Legend

Every sectional has a legend on the left side. This defines all of the symbology, color coding, and notations that you see on a sectional. Use this as reference if you are unsure of what you are looking at. Study it carefully. 

Where does class G end, and Class E start?

Think of it this way: Class G airspace dominates most of the surface, except when Class B, C, or D extends to the surface to protect runways. In some cases, class E will also extend to the surface, this is denoted by a dashed magenta shape around an airport. 

Generally, class E airspace starts at 1200 feet AGL, but sometimes it drops to 700 feet AGL around airports. This is denoted by a fuzzy magenta shape. Inside of these shapes, class E is 700 feet AGL.

Test your Knowledge!

  • Class B airspace
  • Class D airspace
  • Class E airspace starting at 700 ft AGL
  • Class E airspace starting at 1200 ft AGL

What is the floor of the outer ring of Lehigh Valley Int' (ABE) class C airspace?

  • 4400 feet AGL
  • 2800 feet MSL
  • 2800 feet AGL

Special Use Airspace


Special use airspace or special area of operation is airspace where activities must be confined because of their nature, or where limitations are imposed on aircraft operations that are not a part of those activities, or both.

Special use airspace usually consists of:

  • Temporary Flight Restrictions

  • Prohibited areas

  • Restricted areas

  • Warning areas

  • Alert areas

  • Military operation areas (MOAs)

  • Controlled firing areas (CFAs)

  • Military Training Routes

  • Visual Flight Rule Routes

  • Parachute Jumping Area

  • Terminal Radar Service Area


Type of SUA

Entry Requirement

Dimensions & Purpose

Depicted on Aeronautical Charts

ATC Clearance Needed for VFR



Varies - No flights shall be made in these areas





Varies - No flights shall be made in these areas




Contact Controlling Agency

Varies - Informs others of operations that are hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft. Activities within these areas must be confined because of their nature, or limitations may be imposed upon aircraft operations that are not a part of those activities, or both.


No, but Advisable


Check Active Times

3 NM from U.S Coast - Warns non-participants of activities that may be hazardous


No, but Advisable


Check Active Times

Varies - Informs non-participants of areas that may contain a high volume of training or unusual activities


No, but Exercise Caution


Check Active Times

Defined vertical and lateral limits -Separates certain military training activities such as air combat tactics, aerobatics, and formation training, from IFR traffic.


No, but Exercise Caution

Controlled Firing Areas


Not Charted
Includes activities that could be hazardous to  non-participants.





4 NM from center of corridor - Informs others of high speed transitioning of military aircraft.



VFR Route


4 NM from center of corridor - Informs others of transitioning VFR traffic around, under, or through complex airspace.





Undefined areas -Informs non-participants of parachute jumping activity





Defined lateral and vertical limits over Class D airports - Informs aircraft of additional radar service for separation between all IFR operations and participating VFR aircraft.


No, but Advisable

Temporary Flight Restrictions

No person may operate an aircraft in an active TFR.

Violation of a TFR issued under this regulation could lead to very adverse consequences, since security of the President and Vice President is taken very seriously.

Because “presidential TFRs” are often established on very short notice, it is extremely important to check FDC NOTAMS before every flight.

Be sure you understand where the TFR is centered and its effect on the dimensions of the no-fly area.

Some of the purposes for establishing a TFR are:

Security - Protect the President, Vice President, or other public figures.

Populated Areas - Prevent an unsafe congestion of sightseeing aircraft above an incident or sporting event, which may generate a high degree of public interest.

Disaster/Hazard Areas - Protect declared national disasters/hazard areas and disaster relief aircraft.

Space - Provide a safe environment for space agency operations.

• Protect persons and property in the air or on the surface from an existing or imminent hazard.


Types of Special Use Airspace (MOAs and Restricted Areas)

Types of Special Use Airspace (Warning and Alert Areas)

Types of Special Use Airspace (Prohibited Areas)

Test your knowledge!

  • TFR
    No operations allowed in these. Established for security, populated areas, disaster areas, and space launch operations.
  • MOA
    Created to separate military training activities from IFR traffic. VFR traffic should exercise caution when flying in these areas.
  • Prohibited Area
    Established for national welfare. Flight inside of these is not allowed. They are depicted on aeronautical charts
  • Restricted Area
    Areas that often are associated with artillery firing, gunnery, or other invisible hazards. These areas can be either active, or not active. If active, controlling agency must issue clearance.
  • Warning Area
    Extend 12NM off the coast either over domestic or international waters. These areas are not owned solely by the U.S government.
  • Alert Area
    These areas could contain training activities or other unusual activities. Meant to inform non-participating pilots of potential hazards. No clearance needed to enter, but caution should be taken.

Where would you find the active times of a certain restricted area, MOA, or any other special use airspace?

  • Military Operations Directory
  • Small UAS database
  • Legend on sectional chart

Airspace Routes

VFR Routes

Used for transitioning around, under, or through some complex airspace.

These routes are generally found on VFR terminal area planning charts.

Military Training Routes (MTRs) are routes used by military aircraft to maintain proficiency in tactical flying.

These routes are usually established below 10,000 feet MSL for operations at speeds in excess of 250 knots. Routes are identified as IFR (IR), and VFR (VR), followed by a number.

MTRs with no segment above 1,500 feet AGL are identified by four numeric characters (e.g., IR1206, VR1207).

MTRs that include one or more segments above 1,500 feet AGL are identified by three number characters (e.g., IR206, VR207).

Part 107 Regulations and Airspace

Once you have obtained your Remote Pilot Certificate, and registered your aircraft, you can fly in uncontrolled airspace (Class G) as long as you follow all the operating requirements in the small UAS Rule (Part 107).

Operations in any controlled airspace (Classes B, C, D, or E), or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, are not allowed unless that person has prior authorization from air traffic control (ATC). The link to the current authorization process can be found at www.faa.gov/uas/. The sUAS remote PIC must understand airspace classifications and requirements. Failure to do so would be in violation of the part 107 regulations and may potentially have an adverse safety effect.

What airspace am I in?

The best way to establish what airspace you will be flying in is to consult a current published FAA Aeronautical Chart. 

There are unofficial charts as well that can be used for planning, and are great resources for awareness. 

Additionally, the FAA's B4UFLY App, which is designed to help recreational UAS flyers know where it's safe to fly, shows users if they are in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, or E airspaces) in a given or planned location. If the app's status indicator is yellow ("Use Caution – Check Restrictions"), a user is in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace.

Requesting permission to operate in controlled airspace

  • Through an online web portal, which will be available on the FAA's UAS website on the effective date of the rule, August 29, 2016.

Can I contact my local air traffic control tower or facility directly to request airspace permission?

  • No. All airspace permission requests must be made through the online portal.

Operations near an airport

Notification and Permission:

  • If the flight is being conducted in uncontrolled airspace, (Class G) no notification or authorization is necessary to operate at or near an airport.

Remote PIC must be aware of all:

  • Traffic patterns

  • Approach corridors to runways

  • Landing areas

Remote PIC must:

  • Avoid operating anywhere that the presence of the sUAS may interfere with operations at the airport, such as approach corridors, taxiways, runways, or helipads.

  • Yield right-of-way to all other aircraft, including aircraft operating on the surface of the airport.

Remote PICs are prohibited:

  • Operating in a manner that interferes with operations and traffic patterns at airports, heliports, and seaplane bases.

Airport operations will be covered in detail later in the training!

Airport operations example


An UA hovering 200 feet above a runway may cause a manned aircraft holding short of the runway to delay takeoff, or a manned aircraft on the downwind leg of the pattern to delay landing. While the UA in this scenario would not pose an immediate traffic conflict to the aircraft on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern or to the aircraft intending to take off, nor would it violate the right-of-way provision of § 107.37(a), the small UA would have interfered with the operations of the traffic pattern at an airport.

In order to avoid interfering with operations in a traffic pattern, remote PICs should avoid operating in the traffic pattern or published approach corridors used by manned aircraft. When operational necessity requires the remote PIC to operate at an airport in uncontrolled airspace, the remote PIC should operate the small UA in such a way that the manned aircraft pilot does not need to alter his or her flightpath in the traffic pattern or on a published instrument approach in order to avoid a potential collision. Because remote PICs have an obligation to yield right-of-way to all other aircraft and avoid interfering in traffic pattern operations, the FAA expects that most remote PICs will avoid operating in the vicinity of airports because their aircraft generally do not require airport infrastructure, and the concentration of other aircraft increases in the vicinity of airports.

You will learn about airport operations in another section!

Notice to Airman (NOTAM)

NOTAMS are used to alert other aircraft about potential hazards or activities that are going on in a specific area. Under Part 107, Remote pilots do not need to file NOTAMs but they do need to comply with them. In general, Remote Pilots should:


The chart shows a gray line with "VR1667, VR1617, VR1638, and VR1668." Could this area present a hazard to the operations of a small UA?

  • No, all operations will be above 400 feet.
  • Yes, this is a Military Training Route from 1,500 feet AGL
  • Yes, the defined route provides traffic separation to manned aircraft.

What is the floor of the Savannah Class C airspace at the shelf area (outer circle)?

  • 1,300 feet AGL.
  • 1,300 feet MSL.
  • 2,500 feet MSL.

According to 14 CFR part 107 the remote pilot in command (PIC) of a small unmanned aircraft planning to operate within Class D airspace

  • must use a visual observer.
  • is required to file a flight plan.
  • is required to receive ATC authorization.

You have been hired by a farmer to use your small UA to inspect his crops. The area that you are to survey is in the magenta hashed area. What airspace is this and can you operate there?

  • Restricted, No
  • Class G, Yes
  • MOA, Yes

How would a remote PIC "CHECK NOTAMS" as noted in the CAUTION box regarding the unmarked balloon?

  • By utilizing the B4UFLY mobile application.
  • By contacting the FAA district office.
  • By obtaining a briefing via an online source such as: 1800WXBrief.com.

What are the visibility and cloud requirements to operate a sUAS under Part 107?

  • 1 SM clear of clouds
  • 3 SM, 1000 above 500 below a cloud, 2000 feet laterally
  • 3 SM, 500 feet below a cloud, and 2000 feet laterally

Airport Operations and Radio Communication

Radio Communication

But I am a UAS pilot, why would I need to talk on the radio?

  • As discussed in the regulations portion on this training, Part 107 allows operations in class G airspace, which can have airports.
  • There are no distance limitations when operating near a class G airport, but users must know and understand how to listen, and potentially communicate while operating near or on these airports.

Phonetic Alphabet

You should memorize this!

  • Radio communications use the Phonetic Alphabet and numbers 0-9. 

How would you say this aircraft identifier? N3609M

November - Three - Six - Zero - Niner - Mike

Where is it used?

Weather Information at Airport (ATIS), more info on weather later…

  • Types of weather (SIGMETS, AIRMETS, Convective SIGMETS)
  • ATIS information is tagged with a letter from the Phonetic Alphabet.

Airports have unique call signs as well!

  • San Francisco = KSFO
  • Oakland = KOAK
  • Palo Alto = KPAO
  • Always start with a K for continental USA

Airport communications

  • Departure runway, weather information

Radio Talk

  • Pilots talk to other pilots and ground support through UNICOM and CTAF Frequencies
  • Civil Aviation Band is between 108 to 136 MHz (Very High Frequency - VHF)
  • Universal Communications (UNICOM)


    • Air to Ground


    • Used for communication at Non-Towered Airports


    • Can be used for ground services as well

  • Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF)


    • Air to Air


    • Often the same as a UNICOM


    • Primarily used for Pilots to tell other Pilots about arrivals, departures and position reports

Where is UNICOM and CTAF used?

  • CTAF and UNICOM are typically the same frequency at low-density airports - in this case, whether it's CTAF or UNICOM depends on the system being used. If calling your position near the airport, use CTAF. If asking for airport advisories, use UNICOM
  • Towered airports will revert to CTAF when the tower is closed, UNICOM is usually a different frequency in this case. 

ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information Service)

Uses a frequency within 108-136 MHz, and is specific to a location

Repeats the weather recorded at a location

Repeats METAR information for airports

Great for getting information within 5 miles of the record weather

The Need to Know when on the Radio

Information should always be communicated in this format. This is also what you should expect when listening. 

  • Identifier (Tail Number)
  • Location (Distance from…)
  • Altitude (Feet in Mean Sea Level (MSL))
  • Heading (Aircraft direction from 0 to 360 degrees)
  • Speed (Mostly for flying with Air Traffic Controllers)
  • Time (Commonly used for ATC)

How do you communicate the need to know?

  • Just say what needs to be said
  • Radio Communication is about giving details without having to write a novel.


  • N365AW is 10 Miles NE from KSFO at 5000, heading 1-7-0 (170).
  • When there is a number of pilots saying this, it paints a picture of where everyone is

Knowing how to report your position can allow you to know another Pilot’s position

  • Allows for effective right of way

  • UAS always have to give right of way- This means LISTENING is the most important tool while operating near an airport. 

Airport Operations - Towered and non-towered airports

Towered Airports are for high traffic (>2,500 boarding per year)

  • Blue Runways = Controlled surface (tower)

Non-Towered Airports

  • Maroon color

Towered Airports


  • Higher traffic
  • Good communication skills
  • Can expect Instrument Approaches
  • Need clearance to Land and Takeoff (when tower is in operation)
  • Need permission for some airports (airspace requirements)
  • Usually have Lights and Aircraft services such as fuel

Operating near towered aiports

  • The vast majority of towered airports are in class D or higher airspace. UAS can only fly in class G airspace, unless prior authorization has been granted. 

Non-towered Airports


  • Usually less traffic
  • Sometimes does not have lights or fuel
  • Can be in any class of airspace
  • Communication is expected but not required
  • ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings and yield to other aircraft

Other Airports


  • A maroon Anchor


  • Maroon H in a Circle
  • Can be seen with an advisory to not fly below an altitude.
  • Look for notes on these in Sectional Charts

Operating near these airports

  • The best practice is to always have some kind of communication during operations.
  • Still must give right of way to other aircraft

See if you can spot the heliport, and seaport on this sectional!

Traffic Patterns

When near an airport it is important to understand what aircraft will be doing, and where they will be making their turns to land and take off from the runway. In general aircraft will follow these rules:

  • Left hand turns in traffic pattern
  • 45 degree entry into downwind leg
  • Pattern altitude at 1000 feet AGL
  • Landing into the direction of the wind

Note that an airport directory will have all up to date information regarding non-standard airport operations. For instance, some airports have right hand turns. This is also indicated on VFR sectionals. 

What would you listen for?

You are doing an aerial survey of a rooftop approximately 1 NM southeast of Bay Bridge airport. You are flying a small multirotor. In order not interfere with manned traffic, you must stay away from the traffic pattern into, and out of the airport. You suspect with the winds that traffic will be landing and taking off on runway 11 making left turns north of the runway. How might a pilot indicate this on the radio?

On the CTAF frequency, 122.725 you might here the following

"Bay Bridge traffic, November-one-two-three-niner-mike 5 miles east at one thousand two hundred, entering a 45 downwind to runway 11, bay bridge"

You estimate that the pilot will be north of the runway, away from your operations because:

  • Sectional indicates no right patterns, meaning standard left pattern applies
  • Runway 11 points east (110 degrees)
  • Therefore downwind leg would point west
  • Pilot will be landing on the east runway making left turns

What frequency is used to contact the tower at OGD?

  • 127.15
  • 125.55
  • 118.7
  • 118.3

Which airport below is a towered airport?

Aviation Weather

FAA Standards

This section will describe basic weather patterns, and how to decipher aviation weather charts, briefings, and reports. This section will cover:

  1. Internet weather briefing and sources of weather available for flight planning purposes

  2. Aviation Routine Weather Reports (METAR)

  3. Terminal Aerodrome forecasts (TAF)

  4. Weather Charts

  5. Automated surface observing systems and automated weather observing systems
  6. Weather factors and their effect on performance


This is the best source of aviation weather for pilots. It is the most up-to-date and the official FAA weather source. You can also call 1-800-WXBRIEF for a live weather briefing. 


Other Sources of Wx Information





National Weather Service

Weather Underground



A METAR is a current weather observation and is organized in an international standard format.

  • Updated once an hour - usually at the end

  • Multiple METARs can be used to understand large areas

  • UAS critical information - Winds, Weather, Ceiling and Visibility

  • Translated (Decoded) versions available!

Components of a METAR

Type of Report

There are two types of METAR reports. The first is the routine METAR report that is transmitted on a regular time interval. The second is the aviation selected SPECI. This is a special report that can be given at any time to update the METAR for rapidly changing weather conditions, aircraft mishaps, or other critical information.

Station Identifier

a four-letter code as established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In the 48 contiguous states, a unique three-letter identifier is preceded by the letter “K.”

Date and Time

Date and time of report—depicted in a six-digit group (161753Z). The first two digits are the date. The last four digits are the time of the METAR, which is always given in coordinated universal time (UTC).


Denotes that the METAR/SPECI came from an automated source or that the report was corrected. AUTO


Reported with five digits (14021KT) The first three digits indicate the direction the true wind is blowing from in tens of degrees. If the wind is variable, it is reported as “VRB.” The last two digits indicate the speed of the wind in knots. If the winds are gusting, the letter “G” follows the wind speed (G26KT). After the letter “G,” the peak gust recorded is provided. If the wind direction varies more than 60° and the wind speed is greater than six knots, a separate group of numbers, separated by a “V,” will indicate the extremes of the wind directions.


The prevailing visibility (¾ SM) is reported in statute miles as denoted by the letters “SM.” It is reported in both miles and fractions of miles. At times, runway visual range (RVR) is reported following the prevailing visibility. R17L/1400FT


can be broken down into two different categories: qualifiers and weather phenomenon. Example  (+TSRA BR)






(-) Light

( ) Moderate

(+) Heavy

MI Shallow

BC Patches

DR Low Drifting

BL Blowing

SH Showers

TS Thunderstorms

FZ Freezing

PR Partial

DZ Drizzle

RA Rain

SN Snow

SG Snow Grains

IC Ice Crystals

BR Mist

FG Fog

FU Smoke

DU Dust

SA Sand

PO Dust Sand whirls

SQ Squalls

FC Funnel Cloud

+FC Tornadoes

SS Sand Storm

DS Dust Storm

Sky Conditions

always reported in the sequence of amount, height, and type or indefinite ceiling/height (vertical visibility) (BKN008 OVC012CB, VV003). The heights of the cloud bases are reported with a three-digit number in hundreds of feet AGL. Clouds above 12,000 feet are not detected or reported by an automated station. The types of clouds, specifically towering cumulus (TCU) or cumulonimbus (CB) clouds, are reported with their height. Contractions are used to describe the amount of cloud coverage and obscuring phenomena. The amount of sky coverage is reported in eighths of the sky from horizon to horizon.


Less than ⅛  SKC

⅛ to 2/8        FEW

⅜ to 4/8        SCT

⅝ to ⅞          BKN

⅝ or more    OVC

Temperature and Dewpoint

the air temperature and dew point are always given in degrees Celsius (C) or (18/17). Temperatures below 0 °C are preceded by the letter “M” to indicate minus.

Altimeter Setting

reported as inches of mercury ("Hg) in a four-digit number group (A2970). It is always preceded by the letter “A.” Rising or falling pressure may also be denoted in the “Remarks” sections as “PRESRR” or “PRESFR,” respectively.

Zulu Time

a term used in aviation for UTC, which places the entire world on one time standard.


the remarks section always begins with the letters “RMK.” Comments may or may not appear in this section of the METAR


Whoa - that's a lot to take in. Let's see how you do decoding one!

What is the date and time reported for this METAR

  • December 12th, at 10:17 PM GMT
  • 12th of the month at 10:17 PM GMT
  • 12th of the month at 10:17 PM Local time

What is the wind speed and direction reported in this METAR

  • 21 knots at 08 degrees
  • 210 degrees (SW) at 8 knots
  • 210 degrees (SW) at 80 knots

What is the type and base of the lowest cloud layer?

  • Overcast at 3400 feet AGL
  • Few at 5000 feet AGL
  • Few at 500 feet AGL

What is the local pressure (altimeter setting)?

  • 29.80 millibars
  • 29.80 InHg
  • Standard pressure at sea level

Weather Charts

FAA 8083-25B

Weather Charts

Weather charts are graphic charts that depict current or forecast weather. They provide an overall picture of the United States and should be used in the beginning stages of flight planning. Typically, weather charts show the movement of major weather systems and fronts. Surface analysis, weather depiction, and significant weather prognostic charts are sources of current weather information. Significant weather prognostic charts provide an overall forecast weather picture.

Surface Analysis Charts

FAA 8083-25B

Surface Analysis

The surface analysis chart depicts an analysis of the current surface weather. This chart is transmitted every 3 hours and covers the contiguous 48 states and adjacent areas. A surface analysis chart shows the areas of high and low pressure, fronts, temperatures, dew points, wind directions and speeds, local weather, and visual obstructions.

Chart Legend.PNGSurface Analysis.PNGSA Chart 2.PNG

Weather Depiction Charts

FAA 8083-25B

Weather Depiction Charts

  • updated every 3 hours.

  • Areas of IFR conditions (ceilings less than 1,000 feet and visibility less than three miles) are shown by a hatched area outlined by a smooth line.

  • MVFR regions (ceilings 1,000 to 3,000 feet, visibility 3 to 5 miles) are shown by a non hatched area outlined by a smooth line.

  • Areas of VFR (no ceiling or ceiling greater than 3,000 feet and visibility greater than five miles) are not outlined. Also plotted are fronts, troughs, and squall lines

Wx Depiction Chart.PNG

FAA 8083-25B

Significant Weather Chart

Significant weather prognostic charts are available for

  • low level (surface to 24,000 feet), AKA 400 mb level

  • high-level (25,000 to 63,000 feet).

  • The low-level chart is a forecast of aviation weather hazards, primarily intended to be used as a guidance product for briefing the VFR pilot.


Automated Weather Reports (AWOS, ASOS)

ASOS - Automated Surface Observation System

AWOS- Automated Weather Observation System

The ASOS/AWSS will provide continuous minute-by-minute observations and perform the basic observing functions necessary to generate an aviation routine weather report.

  • Instruments to automatically measure weather conditions.

  • ASOS is more advanced

  • Used to create METARS

Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF)

Terminal Aerodrome Forecast

  • Official FAA weather forecasts for airports

  • Similar format as METARs

  • 24-30hr forecast period

  • Updated at 0000z 0600z 1200z and 1800z

Example TAF

KSFO 151457Z 1515/1618 27007KT P6SM FEW005 OVC008

 FM151800 35010KT P6SM FEW015

 FM152100 30018KT P6SM FEW015

 FM160500 29010KT P6SM BKN012

 FM160900 29007KT P6SM OVC010

 FM161200 28004KT P6SM OVC007


San Francisco Airport 15th Day Month 1457Z 15th 1500z to 16th 1800z

From 15 1800z 350@10kts P6SM FEW 1500’

What is the trend for ceiling?

Where is the prevailing winds shifting to?

When can you not fly? Why?


Effects of weather

Student must demonstrate understanding of:

  1. Weather factors and their effects on performance

  • Density Altitude

  • Icing

  • Wind and Currents

  • Hail

  • Atmospheric Stability

  • Fog

  • Air Masses and Fronts

  • Ceiling and Visibility

  • Thunderstorms

  • Lightning

  • Tornadoes



Wind and Currents

Winds and Currents

Uneven heating of the earth’s surface creates variations in pressure. As these pressure systems move to reach equilibrium and drives the wind currents on earth. Winds flow parallel to isobars. An isobar is a line of constant pressure. 

Due to typical low altitude flight METARs, TAFs, AWOS/ASOS and handheld anemometers are the best ways to receive wind data. UAS have wind limits specified by the manufacturer. Operating above aircraft wind limit could cause a crash or degraded performance. 


The earth’s rotation deflects atmosphere and fluids this causes weather and ocean currents.  


Image result for coriolis effect

Atmospheric Stability

Atmospheric Stability

The stability of the atmosphere describes how much it resists vertical movement. This is measured by the change in temperature with altitude. Standard atmosphere decreases 2C per 1000’. More change is considered unstable and less change is stable. The stability determines the type of weather and clouds present. Unstable conditions could bring weather unsuitable for UAS operations thunderstorms. Temp inversion traps contaminants low to ground - poor visibility.

Unstable Air = thunderstorms, cumulus clouds turbulence

Stable Air    = stratiform clouds, steady rain, smooth air

Air Masses and Fronts

Air Masses and Fronts

When a body of air comes to rest or moves slowly over an extensive area having fairly uniform properties of temperature and moisture, the air takes on those properties and is called an “Air Mass”. As air masses move and interact with others they create “Fronts”. Temperature humidity and wind can change rapidly in Fronts, potentially making operations difficult to impossible. 


Cold Front

The leading edge of an advancing cold air mass is a cold front. At the surface, cold air is overtaking and replacing warmer air. Cold fronts move at about the speed of the wind component perpendicular to the front just above the frictional layer. Bad Weather*

Warm Front

The edge of an advancing warm air mass is a warm front. The warmer air is overtaking and replacing colder air. Since the cold air is denser than the warm air, the cold air hugs the ground. The warm air slides up and over the cold air




Frequent cause of visibility less than 3m

  • Radiation

  • Avection

  • Upslope

  • Precipitation Induced

  • Ice



Radiation fog is thin fog close to the ground. On a Clear sky, no wind night it will often form at dawn.


Advection fog is created by moist air moving over cold ground or water. This is coastal fog like what we get in the SF Bay Area.


Upslope fog forms when moist air is pushed up to higher elevations and cools. As temperature decreases the air reaches saturation.

Precipitation Induced

Produced by warm rain descending through cool air. Can be thick and slow to dissipate.

Ice Fog

Ice fog occurs during very cold weather. Same conditions as radiation fog, but in colder temperature environments. Water sublimates directly to ice crystals. Negative 25F

Ceiling and Visibility

Ceiling and Visibility

Low ceilings and visibility restrict the pilot's’ ability to see and avoid obstacles and other aircraft. Clouds and moisture in the atmosphere also present risk of ice, precipitation thunderstorms and other hazards. METARs, TAFs, visual observation and weather charts can all be used to analyze the conditions.

  • 1000’ ceiling (500 below clouds 2000’ horizontal)

  • 3 mile visibility

  • maintain visual line of sight

What are characteristics of a moist, unstable air mass?

  • Stratiform clouds and showery precipitation.
  • Poor visibility and smooth air.
  • Cumuliform clouds and showery precipitation.

Which is a characteristic of stable air?

  • Cumuliform clouds
  • Restricted visibility
  • Excellent visibility

What the Fog?

  • Advection Fog
    Created by moist air moving over cold ground or water. This is coastal fog like what dominates the Bay Area.
  • Radiation Fog
    Thin fog close to the ground. On a Clear sky, no wind night it will often form at dawn
  • Upslope Fog
    Forms when moist air is pushed up to higher elevations and cools. As temperature decreases the air reaches saturation.
  • Ice Fog
    Occurs during very cold weather. Same conditions as radiation fog, but in colder temperature environments. Water sublimates directly to ice crystals. Negative 25F
  • Precipitation Induced Fog
    Produced by warm rain descending through cool air. Can be thick and slow to dissipate.

You have received an outlook briefing from flight service through 1800wxbrief.com. The briefing indicates you can expect a low-level temperature inversion with high relative humidity. What weather conditions would you expect?

  • Smooth air, poor visibility, fog, haze, or low clouds
  • Light wind shear, poor visibility, haze, and light rain
  • Turbulent air, poor visibility, fog, low stratus type clouds, and showery precipitation

Loading and performance

The Basics

The four forces of flight:

  • Lift
  • Drag
  • Thrust
  • Weight

Straight and level flight means

  • Thrust = Drag

  • Lift = Weight

What is Lift?

Bernoulli's principle states that fluids in an area moving faster than the the surrounding area possess less pressure. Faster-moving fluid, lower pressure.  Since high pressure tends to move toward areas of low pressure, the net force generated is upward, producing lift.  

Effect of Weight on Lift



  • The more weight that is added, the more lift is required to maintain level flight.
  • More lift is generated by increasing the angle of attack of the wing, while maintaining airspeed.

Airspeed, Angle of Attack and Stalls

  • At the same weight, as the airspeed decreases the angle of attack must increase
  • Eventually the wing cannot produce any more lift and stalls. This is called the critical angle of attack. 

Forces is a Turn

  • To maintain altitude the wing must make more lift by increasing angle of attack.

Load Factor

  • This load factor is just like adding weight to an aircraft

  • Eventually the aircraft will stall given a bank angle. See the chart below. 

Center of Gravity

What is it?

  • The point at which the aircraft balances if suspended by a string

Effects of Adverse Balance:

Forward CG


  • Difficulty raising or lowering the nose
  • Difficulty recovering from stalls


  • Difficulty flaring for landing
  • Increase drag, stall speed

Aft CG


  • Decrease in stability
  • Pitch oscillations
  • Harder to recover from stalls


Regulations check: 14 CFR 107.49

14 CFR 107.49

Prior to flight, the remote pilot in command must:

(d) If the small unmanned aircraft is powered, ensure that there is enough available power for the small unmanned aircraft system to operate for the intended operational time; and

(e) Ensure that any object attached or carried by the small unmanned aircraft is secure and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.


Take aways

Need to stay within the limits of the aircraft

  • Reference the user manual for weight and balance limits and calculations

  • Exceeding limits can lead to degraded performance and aircraft damage


  • Calculate performance data such as endurance and takeoff distance

Name the four forces of flight

  • Lift
  • Drag
  • Weight
  • Thrust

A stall occurs when:

  • Critical Angle of Attack is exceeded
  • Airspeed drops below stall speed
  • CG shifts aft of limit

Aeronautical Decision Making and Physiology

Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM)

ADM defined: Systematic approach to the mental process of evaluating a given set of circumstances and determining the best course of action.


Hazardous Attitudes

  • Anti-Authority: "Don't tell me!" - When people have this attitude they may resent having someone tell them what to do or they think of rules and regulations as silly or unneeded.

  • Impulsive: "Do something quickly!" - This is what people do when they feel the need to do something, anything and now. Usually they do the first thing that pops up in them.

  • Invulnerability: "It won't happen to me!" - Accidents happen only to other people. Thinking this may lead to taking more unnecessary risks.

  • Macho: "I can do it!" -  Trying to prove that they are better than anyone else and taking more risks. Both sexes are susceptible to this attitude.

  • Resignation: "What's the use?" - These people think that they do not make a great deal of difference in what happens to them. When things are going well they think: "Good luck". And when things are not so well, they seem to think that someone is out to get them.

SRM - Single Pilot Resource Management


“The art and science of managing all the resources (both onboard the aircraft and from outside sources) available to a single pilot (prior, to and during flight) to ensure that the successful outcome of the flight is never in doubt.”

SRM includes the concepts of:

  • aeronautical decision making

  • risk management

  • task management

  • automation management

  • controlled flight into terrain awareness

  • situational awareness

CRM - Crew Resource Mangement

“The effective use of all available resources needed to complete a safe and efficient flight.”

CRM should provide

KNOWLEDGE of concepts and procedures

ATTITUDE which recognizes the importance of good aircrew coordination to safety.

SKILLS to effect implementation of knowledge

Seven Critical CRM skills for all aviators:

  • Decision Making

  • Assertiveness

  • Mission Analysis

  • Communication

  • Leadership

  • Adaptability/Flexibility

  • Situational Awareness

SRM Task Management - the 5P's


  • The plan

    • planning, weather, route, fuel, publications, ATC reroutes/delays.

  • The plane

    • mechanical status, database currency, automation status, backup systems.

  • The pilot

    • illness, medication, stress, alcohol, fatigue, eating (IMSAFE).

  • The passengers

    • pilot or non-pilot, experienced or inexperienced, nervous or calm, etc.

  • The programming

    • GPS, autopilot, PFD/MFD, possible reroutes requiring reprogramming.


Risk Management


Risk management is a decision making process designed to identify hazards systematically, assess the degree of risk, and determine the best course of action.

The best Aeronautical Decision Making needs a well thought out, systematic and rational process in order to function properly.

  • 3P’s

  • Perceives—the given set of circumstances for a flight; identify hazards in each risk category.

  • Processes—by evaluating the impact of those circumstances on flight safety; what can hurt you.

  • Performs—by implementing the best course of action; change the situation in your favor.


Perceive (PAVE)

Situational Awareness: The accurate perception and understanding of all the factors and conditions within the four fundamental risk elements (P.A.V.E.) that affect safety before, during, and after the flight.


  • Pilot

  • Aircraft

  • enVironment

  • External Pressures


Process (CARE)

Evaluate with CARE

  • Consequences - Departing after a full workday, just “one” more inspection

  • Alternatives - We can do it tomorrow, reschedule, do a manual inspection

  • Reality - Dangers and distractions could lead to an accident

  • External Pressures - Executives coming to destination to watch, one more flight and I can pack up and go home

Perform (ME)

Mitigate, Eliminate, Evaluate

Once you have perceived a hazard (step one) and processed its impact on flight safety (step two), it is time to PERFORM by taking the best course of action, and then evaluating its impact. Your goal is to:

Mitigate or eliminate risk

Evaluate outcome of your actions

Your mental willingness to follow through on safe decisions, especially those that require delay or diversion is critical.

Error Mangement

No matter how hard we try, it is simply not possible for human beings to avoid errors entirely, especially when complex systems are involved.

By using a systematic approach to continuous ADM, however, and developing awareness of common types of human ADM error, we can seek to minimize mistakes.

Consistent use of these tools can also help with quick recognition of errors we do make, and safe management of the resulting situation.

Medications - Over the counter


  • Any illness may degrade performance
  • Produces fever and distracting symptoms


  • Medication taking for an illness degrades pilot performance
    • Both prescription and over the counter
  • Over the counter
    • Asprin, Ibuprofen, and Tylenol
      • Toxic effects are rare
      • safe to take and fly
      • Side effects - upset stomach
    • Nasal Decongestants
      • proper use can relieve sinus pain or blockage
        • short term effects
      • Improper use causes sinus and ear blocks
        • prior to flight
        • repeated or frequent use
    • Motion sickness medication
      • wait 8-12 after taking
        • drowsiness
    • Anti-diarrhea medications
      • wait 12 hours after use
        • could cause drowsiness, visual disturbances, accidents

Medications - Prescription Drugs

What is being treated may cause you to be grounded

  • Ear infections
  • Sore throats

Amphetamines (NoDoz..etc)

  • Do not fly
  • Nervousness
  • Impaired Judgment
  • Euphoria


  • Do not fly
  • Poor Judgment
  • Alertness
  • Efficiency
  • Overall performance


  • Can help a person get to sleep
  • Wait 12-24 hours after taking to fly


  • If taking, probably too ill to fly



14 CFR 91.17, 91.19

  • 8 hours from bottle to throttle
  • 0.04% blood alcohol content
  • No effect of alcohol prior to the flight
    • A hangover is an effect seen with <0.04%
  • Two ounces of alcohol absorbed into bloodstream in 10 minutes
    • takes 6 hours to metabolize out of system

Fatigue and Stress


  • One of the most treacherous hazards of flying
  • Both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term)
  • Be aware of your sleeping habits


  • Body's reaction to physical and psychological demands
  • Excessive stress reduces the body's efficiency
    • results in degraded performance
  • Mental and emotional stress
    • Pilot does not think clearly
    • senses diluted
    • Risks are taken
    • Self Destructive behavior
    • Remote pilot is responsible for ensuring proper mental state


Illness - Do I have any symptoms

Medication - Have I been taking prescription or over the counter drugs?

Stress - Am I under psychological pressure from the job? Worried about financial matters, health problems, or family discord?

Alcohol - Have I been drinking within 8 hours? Within 24?

Fatigue - Am I tired and not adequately rested?

Eating - Am I adequately nourished?


Maintenance and Inspections

Why should I care?

  • Safety

  • Efficiency

  • Money

  • Cause you have too (FAA)

107.15 Condition for safe operation.

(a) No person may operate a civil small unmanned aircraft system unless it is in a condition for safe operation. Prior to each flight, the remote pilot in command must check the small unmanned aircraft system to determine whether it is in a condition for safe operation.

(b) No person may continue flight of the small unmanned aircraft when he or she knows or has reason to know that the small unmanned aircraft system is no longer in a condition for safe operation.

How do ensure this?


  • Interval based

  • Reporting discrepancies

  • Completed by approved personnel

  • Accurately track

  • Reviewed before flight

Preflight Inspection

  • Check safety critical components

  • Look for wear and tear

  • Visual and tactile inspection

  • Final go/no-go decision

Maintenance Manual/Maintenance Log

Read the manual!

  • Interval inspections

  • Time between overhaul/replacement

  • Approved personnel

Maintenance Log

  • Tracks all tasks performed

  • Remote Pilot can verify he or she has completed required maintenance

  • Reporting problems

Airworthiness Directive

  • Manufacturer finds an issue that needs to be correct

  • Typically aircraft are not considered airworthy until the change is made

Preflight Inspection

  • Follow the checklist based on the make, model of your aircraft, and the application

  • Never skip it - always rely on checklists. 

  • Know what you are looking for

  • Not sure? Don’t fly!

What is one of the neglected items when a pilot relies on short and long term memory for repetitive tasks?

  • Flying outside the envelope
  • Situation awareness
  • Checklists

According to 14 CFR part 107, who is responsible for determining the performance of a small unmanned aircraft?

  • Remote pilot-in-command
  • Manufacturer
  • Owner or operator

FAA Practice Test

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 21.) What airport is located approximately 47 (degrees) 40 (minutes) N latitude and 101 (degrees) 26 (minutes) W longitude?

  • Mercer County Regional Airport.
  • Semshenko Airport.
  • Garrison Airport.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 26.) What does the line of latitude at area 4 measure?

  • The degrees of latitude east and west of the Prime Meridian.
  • The degrees of latitude north and south from the equator.
  • The degrees of latitude east and west of the line that passes through Greenwich, England.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 23, area 3.) What is the floor of the Savannah Class C airspace at the shelf area (outer circle)?

  • 1,300 feet AGL.
  • 1,300 feet MSL.
  • 1,700 feet MSL.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 59, area 2.) The chart shows a gray line with "VR1667, VR1617, VR1638, and VR1668” Could this are present a hazard to operations of small UA?

  • No, all operations will be above 400 feet.
  • Yes, this is a Military Training Route from 1,500 feet AGL.
  • Yes, the defined route provides traffic separation to manned aircraft.

According to 14 CFR part 107 the remote pilot-in-command (PIC) of a small unmanned aircraft planning to operate within Class C airspace

  • must use a visual observer.
  • is required to file a flight plan.
  • is required to receive ATC authorization.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 21.) You have been hired by a farmer to use your small UA to inspect his crops. The area that you are to survey is in the Devil`s Lake West MOA, east of area 2. How would you find out if the MOA is active?

  • Refer to the legend for special use airspace phone number.
  • This information is available in the Small UAS database.
  • In the Military Operations Directory.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 20, area.) How would a remote PIC "CHECK NOTAMS" as noted in the CAUTION box regarding the unmarked balloon?

  • By utilizing the B4UFLY mobile application.
  • By contacting the FAA district office.
  • By obtaining a briefing via an online source such as: 1800WXBrief.com.

To ensure that the unmanned aircraft center of gravity (CG) limits are not exceeded, follow the aircraft loading instructions specified in the

  • Pilot's Operating Handbook or UAS Flight Manual.
  • Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).
  • Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook.

When operating an unmanned airplane, the remote pilot should consider that the load factor on the wings may be increased anytime

  • the CG is shifted rearward to the aft CG limit.
  • the airplane is subjected to maneuvers other than straight and level flight.
  • the gross weight is reduced.

A stall occurs when the smooth airflow over the unmanned airplane`s wing is disrupted, and the lift degenerates rapidly. This is caused when the wing

  • exceeds the maximum speed.
  • exceeds maximum allowable operating weight.
  • exceeds it`s critical angle of attack.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 2.) If an unmanned airplane weighs 33 pounds, what approximate weight would the airplane structure be required to support during a 30° banked turn while maintaining altitude?

  • 34 pounds.
  • 47 pounds.
  • 38 pounds.

Which is true regarding the presence of alcohol within the human body?

  • A small amount of alcohol increases vision acuity.
  • Consuming an equal amount of water will increase the destruction of alcohol and alleviate a hangover.
  • Judgment and decision-making abilities can be adversely affected by even small amounts of alcohol.

When using a small UA in a commercial operation, who is responsible for briefing the participants about emergency procedures?

  • The FAA inspector-in-charge.
  • The lead visual observer.
  • The remote PIC.

To avoid a possible collision with a manned airplane, you estimate that your small UA climbed to an altitude greater than 600 feet AGL. To whom must you report the deviation?

  • Air Traffic Control.
  • The National Transportation Safety Board.
  • Upon request of the Federal Aviation Administration.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 26, area 2.) While monitoring the Cooperstown CTAF you hear an aircraft announce that they are midfield left downwind to RWY 13. Where would the aircraft be relative to the runway?

  • The aircraft is East.
  • The aircraft is South.
  • The aircraft is West.

Under what condition should the operator of a small UA establish scheduled maintenance protocol? a. When

  • When the manufacturer does not provide a maintenance schedule.
  • UAS does not need a required maintenance schedule.
  • When the FAA requires you to, following an accident.

According to 14 CFR part 107, the responsibility to inspect the small UAS to ensure it is in a safe operating condition rests with the

  • remote pilot-in-command.
  • visual observer.
  • owner of the small UAS.

Identify the hazardous attitude or characteristic a remote pilot displays while taking risks in order to impress others?

  • Impulsivity.
  • Invulnerability.
  • Macho.

You are a remote pilot for an insurance comapny. You are to use your UA to inspect a roof in a remote area 15 hours away from your home office. After the drive, fatigue impacts your abilities to complete your assignment on time. Fatigue can be recognized

  • easily by an experienced pilot.
  • as being in an impaired state.
  • by an ability to overcome sleep deprivation.

Safety is an important element for a remote pilot to consider prior to operating an unmanned aircraft system. To prevent the final "link" in the accident chain, a remote pilot must consider which methodology?

  • Crew Resource Management.
  • Safety Management System.
  • Risk Management.

You have been hired as a remote pilot by a local TV news station to film breaking news with a small UA. You expressed a safety concern and the station manager has instructed you to “fly first, ask questions later.” Which hazardous attitude is this?

  • Machismo.
  • Invulnerability.
  • Impulsivity.

When adapting crew resource management (CRM) concepts to the operation of a small UA, CRM must be integrated into

  • the flight portion only.
  • all phases of the operation.
  • the communications only.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 22, area 2.) At Coeur D`Alene which frequency should be used as a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) to monitor airport traffic?

  • 122.05 MHz.
  • 135.075 MHz.
  • 122.8 MHz.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 26, area 4.) You have been hired to inspect the tower under construction At 46.9N and 98.6W, near Jamestown Regional (JMS). What must you receive prior to flying your unmanned aircraft in this area?

  • Authorization from the military.
  • Authorization from ATC.
  • Authorization from the National Park Service.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 20, area 3.) With ATC authorization, you are operating your small unmanned aircraft approximately 4 SM southeast of Elizabeth City Regional Airport (ECG). What hazard is indicated to be in that area?

  • High density military operations in the vicinity.
  • Unmarked balloon on a cable up to 3,008 feet AGL.
  • Unmarked balloon on a cable up to 3,008 feet MSL.

The most comprehensive information on a given airport is provided by

  • the Chart Supplements U.S. (formerly Airport Facility Directory).
  • Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS).
  • Terminal Area Chart (TAC).

According to 14 CFR part 107, who is responsible for determining the performance of a small unmanned aircraft?

  • Remote pilot-in-command.
  • Manufacturer.
  • Owner or operator.

Which technique should a remote pilot use to scan for traffic? A remote pilot should

  • systematically focus on different segments of the sky for short intervals.
  • concentrate on relative movement detected in the peripheral vision area.
  • continuously scan the sky from right to left.

Under what condition would a small UA not have to be registered before it is operated in the United States?

  • When the aircraft weighs less than .55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on-board or attached to the aircraft.
  • When the aircraft has a takeoff weight that is more than .55 pounds, but less than 55 pounds, not including fuel and necessary attachments.
  • All small UAS need to be registered regardless of the weight of the aircraft before, during, or after the flight.

According to 14 CFR part 48, when must a person register a small UA with the Federal Aviation Administration?

  • All civilian small UAs weighing greater than .55 pounds must be registered regardless of its intended use.
  • When the small UA is used for any purpose other than as a model aircraft.
  • Only when the operator will be paid for commercial services.

According to 14 CFR part 107, how may a remote pilot operate an unmanned aircraft in class C airspace?

  • The remote pilot must have prior authorization from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility having jurisdiction over that airspace.
  • The remote pilot must monitor the Air Traffic Control (ATC) frequency from launch to recovery.
  • The remote pilot must contact the Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility after launching the unmanned aircraft.

According to 14 CFR part 107, what is required to operate a small UA within 30 minutes after official sunset?

  • Use of anti-collision lights.
  • Must be operated in a rural area.
  • Use of a transponder.

You have received an outlook briefing from flight service through 1800wxbrief.com. The briefing indicates you can expect a low-level temperature inversion with high relative humidity. What weather conditions would you expect?

  • Smooth air, poor visibility, fog, haze, or low clouds.
  • Light wind shear, poor visibility, haze, and light rain.
  • Turbulent air, poor visibility, fog, low stratus type clouds, and showery precipitation.

What effect does high density altitude have on the efficiency of a UA propeller?

  • Propeller efficiency is increased.
  • Propeller efficiency is decreased.
  • Density altitude does not affect propeller efficiency.

What are characteristics of a moist, unstable air mass?

  • Good visibility and steady precipitation.
  • Poor visibility and steady precipitation.
  • Poor visibility and intermittent precipitation.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 12.) The wind direction and velocity at KJFK is from

  • 180° true at 4 knots.
  • 180° magnetic at 4 knots.
  • 040° true at 18 knots.

(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 12.) What are the current conditions for Chicago Midway Airport (KMDW)?

  • Sky 700 feet overcast, visibility 1-1/2SM, rain.
  • Sky 7000 feet overcast, visibility 1-1/2SM, heavy rain.
  • Sky 700 feet overcast, visibility 11, occasionally 2SM, with rain.