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How to Get a Drone License in Kentucky (Explained for Beginners)

9 mins
Drone Blog
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From Shawnee Park and Long Run Park in Louisville to Jacobson Park in Lexington, Kentucky is a favorite southern state for launching immersive drone flights.

Pilots must have a license before flying.

How to get a drone license in Kentucky?

Here’s how to get a drone license in Kentucky:

  • Determine if you pass the FAA eligibility stage
  • Make an IACRA account for your FTN
  • Find your closest Knowledge Testing Center and register
  • Study for the exam
  • Take the Part 107 exam and pass
  • Send in Form 8710-13 and get your license

It sounds easy when I put it that way, but first-time pilots often find it’s anything but. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place!

This guide will cover all the steps for earning a Kentucky drone license usable throughout the United States, presented in a beginner-friendly format.

Here’s how to obtain a drone license in Kentucky #

The FAA regulates aviation in Kentucky, as it does the rest of the US, and requires any drone pilot to have a license, including those flying recreationally.

The hobbyist license, known as the TRUST certificate, is rather limiting. Most pilots pursue the Remote Pilot Certificate, the FAA commercial drone license, instead.

This license gives you more liberties with your drone operations (within the parameters of FAA laws) and allows you to use your drone for profit, whether you pick up a few odd jobs on the side or make a full-time career out of flying your drone.

These steps will outline what’s required to obtain the commercial certificate.

» MORE: How I Passed Part 107 (& The Course That Helped Me do That)

Determine if you pass the FAA eligibility stage #

Before you start making plans to test for your commercial drone license, you must know if you’re eligible to apply.

The FAA doesn’t have many restrictions. Here they are.

You must be at least 16 years old. If you’re younger, you can practice provisionally, flying a drone with a licensed pilot, but you yourself can’t take the FAA commercial exam yet.

You must also be of sound mind and body, capable of making smart drone use decisions on the fly. You need a full comprehension of the English language.

Make an IACRA account for your FAA Tracking Number #

Can you proceed because you meet the above criteria? Excellent!

First-time pilots require an FAA Tracking Number or FTN. This aviation identifier transcends drone use and applies to any FAA activities you might participate in.

Each FTN is unique, and you will use it throughout your aviation career to verify your identity, including to take the Part 107 exam.

The only way to apply for an FTN is through the FAA resource IACRA, short for the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application.

IACRA offers ratings and certifications, registry processing information, documentation for training, aircraft search, and more. You can register an account for free, and it only takes a few minutes.

Navigate to the login area on the homepage. You’ll find it in the upper right corner. You should see a link to register, so click that. 

The first page of IACRA registration requires you to select relevant roles. As a first-time commercial drone pilot, you should check Applicant, as you might not have other applicable roles.

If so, move on, agreeing to the terms of service. You’ll then proceed to the second and final page of registration.

The User Profile Information page begins with a request for certificate information. IACRA has a small text bubble mentioning how you can skip this section if you’re not a certificate holder, and I echo that sentiment.

Fill in your details in the Personal Information section, including your email address, gender, and full name. Next, choose two security questions from the dropdown menus and answer them carefully.

The third and final section on this page is where you create your username and password. Select unique credentials, confirm your password, and click the green Register button.

Check your inbox. IACRA will send you a confirmation email shortly. Log in, and you can review your profile details. You will have an FTN assigned to you.

You don’t have to memorize your FTN. It’s always accessible within the IACRA portal.

Use PSI to find your closest FAA Knowledge Testing Center and register #

With your FTN handy, you can verify your identity on PSI, a testing resource the FAA uses for aeronautic testing.

Click the link above to visit the PSI website. Then click the white button, Create an Account. Before proceeding, you must input your full name and FTN. Then, you can create your profile following the prompts.

PSI will send you a confirmation email after creating an account. Click the link in the email or visit the PSI homepage and click the blue Sign In button.

After signing in, click the Find a Test Center menu option at the top of the PSI website. This feature allows you to find an FAA Knowledge Testing Center.

Allow me to explain. The FAA only administers the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam in person. You can take the test at a Knowledge Testing Center.

You’ll find these throughout the country, including in parts of Kentucky from Louisville to Owensboro, Frankfort, Paducah, and Bowling Green.

To search for Knowledge Testing Centers near you, type in your postal code and select United States as your country from the dropdown menu.

Choose a distance between 5 and 300 miles depending on how far you’re willing to drive.

Next, under the Exam type, scroll all the way to the bottom of the dropdown and select Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG).

PSI will populate a list of the nearest Knowledge Testing Centers, including directions to each. Select the one nearest you and register a date and time to take the Part 107 exam.

Study for the exam #

The Part 107 exam has questions about every aspect of drone flight, including airspace classifications, drone limitations, weather sources, emergency procedures, radio protocols, weather effects, and airport operations.

You must eat, sleep, and breathe FAA rules to pass. That you must pay about $165 per test attempt also ratchets up the pressure.

Why not learn from the best and increase your chances of success?

Beginner-friendly online drone courses are one-stop resources for learning everything you must know to pass the commercial drone exam the first time.

These leading courses feature lessons from drone professionals (sometimes FAA pilots and flight instructors) broken down into bite-sized lessons you can review as many times as needed.

Practice quizzes reinforce what you’ve learned and act as a preview for what to expect on the real exam.

Oh, and I didn’t even mention the best part. Money-back guarantees refund what you spend and give you cash toward your second crack at the Part 107 exam. You have nothing to lose.

Sounds good, right? Check out this list of recommended drone training courses for beginners. Choose your favorite school, enroll, and you’ll be ready to take the Part 107 exam.

Take the Part 107 exam and pass #

Testing day has arrived. Staunch your nerves as best you can and try to keep your eyes on the prize. You’ve come this far, so now all you must do is pass.

The Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam has 60 multiple-choice questions. Each question has three potential answers for you to select from, with one correct.

You will have two and a half hours to answer all 60 questions, so take your time and go with your gut.

You can take a protractor and electronic calculator (that only performs math) into the exam room, but not your smartphone. You will receive other materials to take the exam, such as a dry-erase marker, pencil, and scratch paper.

You must have a driver’s license or another form of government-issued ID handy before you’re allowed into the testing room.

Don’t expect instant test results. Some pilots only wait days to hear back, and others weeks. It all depends on how quickly your exam is processed.

When the time inevitably comes, you can find your test results in your IACRA portal.

Send in form 8710-13 and get your license #

Did you pass the Part 107 exam? Nice job! All that hard work and studying paid off. You’re almost ready to say you’re officially a commercial drone pilot in Kentucky, but you’re not quite there yet.

You must apply for your commercial license by completing an FAA form, 8710-13. You can access this form in IACRA by selecting the prompt, Start New Application.

Choose Pilot for the type of application and Remote Pilot under the Certifications section.

Completing this form is straightforward enough, as you can follow the prompts.

IACRA will send your information to the TSA. You will receive your commercial drone certificate after the TSA conducts a background check.

Let me explain something for a moment that often confuses first-time commercial pilots.

The version of your certificate you receive from IACRA via email is a temporary certificate. The FAA is busily processing your data to send you a permanent certificate, but it can take a while.

Use the temporary certificate as you would any standard certificate, carrying it on your person when you fly. Switch to the permanent certificate when you receive it in your mailbox.

I have my commercial drone license in Kentucky – Now what? #

Having a commercial drone license in Kentucky sure is cool, but you’re not exactly ready to fly. You still have to do a few more tasks.

First, register your drone. All commercial drones require registration regardless of weight.

If you’re only flying recreationally (and have the right license to do so), you only have to worry about registration for drones exceeding 250 grams.

Make yourself privy to Kentucky’s state drone laws, which apply in addition to the federal FAA regulations. HB 540 bars drones from accessing prohibited areas.

» MORE: Drone Laws in Kentucky

You should also strongly consider drone insurance, even if you’re not required to have it.

Insurance safeguards you against severe consequences of drone use, such as lawsuits and injuries, reducing your financial burden. We have a beginner’s guide to drone insurance on the blog here.

With that, you’re ready to fly!

Enjoy your commercial drone license, which expires within two years after the FAA issues it. The FAA does this by design so pilots can stay abreast of its changing regulations.

So, does that mean you have to take the Part 107 exam all over again? It used to, but since 2021, you can now take a free online exam to renew your drone certificate. Phew!


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