I have a FAA private pilot license. Does that allow me the same flight privileges while flying a drone, as a FAA certificated drone pilot?


1 Answer 1


No, it does not. But because you are an "existing pilot", the application process is a little different:

FAA: Becoming a (Drone) Pilot

Existing Pilots – What to Expect


  • Must hold a pilot certificate issued under 14 CFR part 61
  • Must have completed a flight review within the previous 24 months

Remote Pilot Certificate Requirements

  • Must be easily accessible by the remote pilot during all UAS operations
  • Valid for 2 years – certificate holders must pass either a recurrent online training course OR recurrent knowledge test every two years

Application Process:

  1. Complete the online training course "Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) ALC-451" available on the FAA FAASTeam website – initial training course areas include: a. Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
    b. Effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
    c. Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
    d. Emergency procedures
    e. Crew resource management
    f. Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
    g. Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures

  2. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for a remote pilot certificate)
    a. Online or by paper (see instructions in previous section)

  3. Validate applicant identity
    a. Contact a FSDO, an FAA-designated pilot examiner (DPE), an airman certification representative (ACR), or an FAA-certificated flight instructor (CFI) to make an appointment.
    b. Present the completed FAA Form 8710-13 along with the online course completion certificate or knowledge test report (as applicable) and proof of a current flight review.
    c. The completed FAA Form 8710-13 application will be signed by the applicant after the FSDO, DPE, ACR, or CFI examines the applicant's photo identification and verifies the applicant's identity.
       - The identification presented must include a photograph of the applicant, the applicant's signature, and the applicant's actual residential address (if different from the mailing address). This information may be presented in more than one form of identification.
       - Acceptable methods of identification include, but are not limited to U.S. drivers' licenses, government identification cards, passports, and military identification cards (see AC 61-65 Certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors)
    d. The FAA representative will then sign the application.

  4. An appropriate FSDO representative, a DPE, or an ACR will issue the applicant a temporary airman certificate (a CFI is not authorized to issue a temporary certificate; they can process applications for applicants who do not want a temporary certificate).

  5. A permanent remote pilot certificate will be sent via mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete.

  • $\begingroup$ I got my add-on rating in a few hours by taking the course and reading the FAR. Since you already know most of the non-drone specific info from getting your pilots license, it should be easy for you to get your rating. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Dec 11, 2017 at 23:42

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