The FAA have put out information on future commercial drone certification rules. If you are flying your drone for fun only, this does not directly affect you. If you have your Part 107 certification, or are looking to get your commercial license, the new rules will be live on January 13th, 2020.
The new rules going live relate to testing, including creating an IACRA account and more. Thankfully, we’re not reporting on actual flight operations changes today, existing rules for the sky are still in effect.
Did you know: There are over 150,000 Airmen Certification exams administered annually. There are 86 exams available across the spectrum, from drone pilots to airplane mechanics.
New FAA testing
PSI Services is the company at the core of administering all of the tests for the FAA. For all involved, it’s time to upgrade the systems. You don’t want to take a test on a green-screen computer anymore, do you? Then wait for a paper report to be mailed to the FAA so they can verify and send you your certificate? The ways of the future are upon us.
Key features moving forward will include more control by the FAA to change and control the questions on the tests, better tools to track test performance, more control to standardize the tests, and better feedback to the applicant, to help them learn from any questions they may get wrong in their test.
Also, public and military testing will be controlled in this same program from here forward as well.
Starting January 13, 2020, here are the key changes to the systems:
- You are required to get an FAA Tracking Number (FTN)
- Your test results are automatically sent to IACRA (less wait to get your certificates)
- Adding your ACS Codes to your Airman Knowledge Test Reports (AKTR)
- You can print replacement AKTR from the website
- They are removing the Embossments on the AKTR provided to applicants
- Online test scheduling and information
- New, consistent compliance with laws and notices, including Privacy Act Notice, Pilot’s Bill of Rights, and the Paperwork Reduction Act collection of information.
Your Part 107 tests will now include those ACS Codes we’ve been mentioning, those are reference numbers to questions you get wrong on your test. You’ll then be able to look up the info to see what the correct answer is.
Intergrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) is key to the new system. This will be your account to apply for, and track progress of your certifications.
Setting up an IACRA account will provide you with a FTN. The FTN is required to apply to take any test. This number sticks with your account, so you do not need to re-apply if you already have an Airman Certificate from the FAA.
You can create an IACRA account and get your FTN in a few minutes:
- Head to https://iacra.faa.gov/IACRA/Default.aspx
- Click Register
- Choose your role(s) (You’re an Applicant, most likely)
- Agree to ToS, of course
- If you have an FTN, insert it, or just leave that blank
- Enter your info
- Create security questions
- Create username and password
- Click the Register button
Keep your FTN safe. Write it down. Use this number when you go to apply for an Airman test.
For more info on that, visit the FAA test training info page: https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/acts
Once created, you can click the Start New Application button to begin the process toward writing your Part 107 test.
What you really need to know
All of the above may sound like crazy talk to you, and that’s okay. What you really need to know is there there are really only a few main changes to be aware of.
- Sign up for an IACRA account and get an FTN before applying to take your exam
- There is a new, better system being put in place for actually taking your test
- ACS Codes will display on your AKTR
- They are removing the Embossments on that same report
Existing testing procedures are in place until January 10th, 2020, the new testing procedures begin on January 13th, 2020. You will not be able to apply for an Airman test in between those dates.
The tests are not changing!
Keep in mind that the FAA is working very hard to add a new test for hobby drone pilots, and they may adjust the Part 107 test pool, but at this time, there are no changes to the tests. Keep studying your existing course material. Don’t have course material? Don’t forget to check out Drone Pilot Ground School for a full test prep course for your Part 107 exam.
If you are not sure you need your Part 107 certification, have a read through these thoughts, they might change your mind.