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

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City-Brooks Community Park, Flanacher Road Park, Burbank Park: Louisiana skies are a drone pilot’s playground, provided you follow FAA regulations and hold a license.

How do you get a drone license in Louisiana?

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

  • Meet all FAA eligibility criteria
  • Obtain your FTN through IACRA
  • Register for the exam at an FAA Knowledge Testing Center
  • Study and take practice quizzes
  • Take the Part 107 exam and pass
  • Request your official certificate

Are you a first-time pilot seeking a drone license in Louisiana? I put together this guide just for you. I’ll go step-by-step, breaking down what’s required to test for and obtain your Remote Pilot Certificate.

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

You fly in FAA skies throughout the United States, including Louisiana. This aeronautical organization ordains the rules for pilots to abide by, chiefly being that all pilots must have one of two types of licenses to use a drone.

The first is a commercial license or Remote Pilot Certificate. With this license, you can use your drone for profit and fly with more open parameters. A hobbyist’s license or TRUST certificate forbids commercial use.

You’ll want the Remote Pilot Certificate if you’re like most pilots, as it has more potential. Here are the steps required to get it.

Meet all FAA eligibility criteria #

To foster a safe environment for all aircraft, manned and unmanned alike, the FAA only allows pilots to take the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test–the official commercial drone exam–if they meet its eligibility criteria.

There isn’t a lot. You have to be mentally and physically capable of safe drone flight, and you must have full English comprehension, including reading, writing, speaking, and understanding the language.

You must also be 16 or older.

Obtain your FTN through IACRA #

You’re already one step closer to having your Remote Pilot Certificate. So, what’s next?

You must take a handful of preparatory steps before sitting down to test for your commercial drone license. The FAA requires all users entering its system to have an FAA Tracking Number.

An FAA Tracking Number, or FTN, for unmanned and manned pilots is exactly as the name implies. It’s a tracking number the FAA uses to stay abreast of your aeronautic activities.

You can register for your FTN through the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application, better known as IACRA. Here’s the link.

IACRA is a rating application, registry, and certification resource under the FAA. Get to know the website, as you’ll use it a lot in the coming weeks as you get your commercial drone license.

There’s only so much you can do on the IACRA site without an account, so it’s time to register. You can find the link on the IACRA homepage under the login bar.

The registration is a two-page process, but there are certain sections you can bypass. You must first select your role as you begin on the first page, with options like school administrator, certifying officers, instructors, and applicants.

More than likely, you will only be eligible to check off applicant as your role. However, if other roles suit you, don’t neglect to check them.

Click the button to agree to the IACRA terms of service, and you’re ready to move on to page two.

Skip the first section on this page, Certificate Information. You’re creating an IACRA account to test for your certificate, so you have no information to input here. You can proceed with the registration even if you leave this section blank.

That said, you must fill in the rest of the page, including your full name, birthdate, email address, username, and password. Use the drop-down to select two security questions, then type in the answers.

You will receive a confirmation when you click the Register button at the bottom of the second page. Check your email, as IACRA will also email you an account creation confirmation.

Log in with the new credentials, and you will have your own FTN.

Register for the exam at an FAA Knowledge Testing Center #

You’ve officially entered the FAA’s system, so you’re ready to register to take the Part 107 exam at an FAA Knowledge Testing Center.

What is an FAA Knowledge Testing Center, you ask?

It’s an in-person facility approved by the FAA that administers the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam. You can find them all over the country, including in your home state of Louisiana.

You can search for your nearest Knowledge Testing Center by registering on PSI, the FAA’s approved testing partner.

Clicking the link will take you to the PSI homepage. Click the Create an Account button and verify eligibility by inputting your first and last name and FTN.

Once PSI verifies your identity, you can create an account.

Follow the prompts, select a unique username and password, and wait for your email confirmation of account creation. Log in with your credentials and click the Find a Test Center link on PSI’s website.

Select your nearest postal code, from Baton Rouge to Lake Charles, Houma, Layfette, New Orleans, Ruston, or West Monroe. Select the United States from the dropdown menu and choose a distance between five and 300 miles.

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

You will see a list of Knowledge Testing Centers. Choose one, pick a date and time to take the Part 107 exam, and get ready.

Study and take practice quizzes #

It’s not free to take the commercial FAA drone exam. You’ll pay about $165 per attempt. Aspiring pilots are overeager to minimize their attempts and save some dough, as I’m sure you are.

That makes studying prudent. While you can take the free practice quizzes on the FAA website, I also recommend an online drone course.

Leading names in the drone industry, such as Pilot Institute, Drone Pro Academy, and Drone Pilot Ground School, have beginner courses designed to help pilots pass the Part 107 exam the first time.

These courses are exclusively online, with lessons taught by real FAA instructors and long-term professional commercial pilots.

The lessons present all the information in an easy-to-understand way and bite-sized format so you can absorb the information readily.

You can take practice quizzes that include questions from the exam to help you prepare, finding your weak spots and doubling down.

These acclaimed drone schools also have hugely generous money-back guarantees.

You can get the full course cost back and $165 toward your second crack at the exam if you don’t pass the first time. That’s how confident the drone schools are that you will pass your commercial exam.

Click here for my full list of recommended beginner drone courses.

Take the Part 107 exam and pass #

Testing day is here at last, and you’re ready to knock it out of the park. Put your driver’s license or another photo ID in your wallet, as you must have it to verify your identity at the FAA Knowledge Testing Center.

What else can you bring with you?

You’re allowed basic tools like a calculator, magnifier, and protractor. These items are optional. When you arrive, you will receive all nonoptional items, like your testing book and scratch paper.

You can’t take notes into the exam room, as that would be cheating. You’re also not allowed to have your phone for the same reason.

The Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam is 60 questions. Each is in a multiple-choice format.

You’re given two and a half hours to answer all questions and must get a passing grade of 70 percent. That allows you to answer 18 questions incorrectly.

My advice is to take your time, stay calm, and prioritize getting a good night’s rest before the exam. Remember that you can always retest in two weeks (or longer, up to you!) if you don’t pass.

Request your official certificate #

If you’ve reached this section, it’s because you received the good news that you’ve passed the Part 107 exam.

By the way, IACRA will post your test results, but it can take several weeks, so don’t panic if yours aren’t available a few days after your test.

The FAA doesn’t send your Remote Pilot Certificate immediately. You must request it. Log into IACRA and choose the Start New Application option. Under the Application Type, select Pilot.

Next, in the Certifications section, choose the Remote Pilot option. Navigate to Other Path Information, then choose Start Application.

This will take you to Form 8710-13, your official request for a commercial drone license. Complete the form, sign your name electronically, and consent to the TSA background check.

If you pass, IACRA will email you and attach your temporary commercial drone license.

This can be confusing for some new pilots, so I’ll explain. After processing your information, the FAA will send your permanent Remote Pilot Certificate in the mail in about a month (it can sometimes take longer).

The temporary certificate lets you use your drone license now, so you’re not sitting by your mailbox each day making yourself crazy. It works the same way, but you should stop using it once the FAA mails your permanent license.  

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

Congratulations on becoming a commercial drone license holder in Louisiana. I’m sure you’re eagerly planning your first flight, but before you do, make sure you’ve done the following.

First, you must register your drone. The FAA requires all commercial drones to be registered. Once you do it, you don’t have to worry about registering that drone for another three years.

I strongly advise you to consider drone insurance, especially as a new pilot.

While Louisiana doesn’t require insurance, it’s for your peace of mind when flying. You’ll know you’ll have some coverage if you hurt someone or cause property damage.

» MORE: Drone Insurance – Liability and Drone Hull (Step-by-Step Guide)

You should also get yourself up to speed on Louisiana drone laws before launching your drone for your first commercial project.

Louisiana has a handful of state drone laws, so let’s briefly review them:

  • SB 73 outlaws pilots from getting near police cordons with a drone.
  • HB 19 protects citizens against drones used for surveillance near a targeted facility without permission.
  • HB 635 prohibits video voyeurism.
  • SB 141 prevents drones from criminally trespassing.
  • HB 1029 doesn’t allow drones on or around targeted facilities without permission.

Louisiana also has two local laws, in City Park and the Audubon Nature Institute. You cannot operate in either.

Within two years, you must think about license renewal, as your Part 107 certificate will expire. The FAA issues a free online exam for staying recurrent, and it’s easy to take and pass. It only takes an afternoon!

» MORE: Renewal of Your Part 107 Certificate – 5 Steps to a Part 107 sUAS Recurrent Certificate


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