The FAA is in control of all airspace in the United States. If you have a drone and plan to fly it outdoors in this country, there are rules you need to follow. Depending on your drone, your desired flight location, and your purpose for flying, you may even need prior authorizations to fly. half-way through 2020, recreational pilots still do not need a pilot’s license, but if you fly for compensation, you need your Part 107 remote pilot certificate.

It can be a little confusing to figure out if you are a hobby or commercial pilot, so the FAA put out a little guide to try to help. You can see the full guide here, or enjoy our simple remake of it below.

Do I need the drone Part 107 pilot’s license?

Are you flying for a government agency, law enforcement, or a public safety entity? That includes Federal, State, Tribal, and Territorial law.

If you are not sure, see if you qualify.


Some of the questions included in the quiz ask if you are an educator, flying for work, or if you are flying to test a new drone design or technology. As you progress, there is one question that pretty much tips the scales one way or the other: Are you flying for fun or recreation?

There are a number of variables, but what it really boils down to is that the only way you can fly without Part 107 certification is if you will never receive payment or other compensation for any aspect of your flight. If you will never sell your photos, never collect ad revenue for drone footage you put on YouTube, or even get a hotdog as a thank you for taking a photo of friends at the park, you are good to go under the hobby rules. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to look into getting your Part 107 certification. 

We have some resources to help you out as well:

Fly safe!

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