I’ve gotten a few questions like this on the333.org forum and by email, so it seems to be a good topic for the blog.
First, your Section 333 Exemption Grant has no bearing on the PIC certification.
They are two distinct and separate things.
- The FAA certifies [both] pilots and operators.
- Jet Blue, United, Fed-Ex are operators.
- The person in the left-front seat with the aircraft controls in front are pilots.
- This is why I and others commented on the Part 107 NPRM that calling the person flying a drone an “operator” was not an appropriate term.
Now, to the question of “do I need to take the Part 107 airman’s written exam?”
You fall into one of two boxes here.
- You have a current Part 61 Airman’s Certificate OR
- You do not have a Part 61 Airman’s Certificate.
If you have a Part 61 Airman’s Certificate:
You do have to take an exam. But not the same exam as the new pilot without a Part 61 airman’s certificate.
Today, you can go to the FAA Becoming a Pilot website and scroll down to the section titled: “Existing Pilots – What to Expect”.
Since the day the rule was announced there has been confusion (much of it media induced) about 333 and Part 107. Those few bullets and the additional explanation in the post bring clarity.
Let’s review and summarize:
The 333 is for operators. That is why companies can have one. That is why people who are not pilots can have one. That is why a 333 requires a licensed pilot to operate the drone.
Part 107 says you don’t need to be an operator – so you don’t need a 333.
And you don’t need to be a traditionally licensed pilot (i.e. Part 61 private, sport as previously required.)
Instead, under Part 107, you have to have a Remote Pilot certificate for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
If you have a drone business, you need to read this article. It is short, to the point and loaded with information about what you can do today, and what you will have to wait to do until the end of August.
If you don’t know him, Steve Mann is an active poster on many forums and freely shares his hard-earned expertise. He is quick to tell you that he is not a lawyer, but then (shhh) for this stuff you don’t need one.
The333.org is one of Steve’s current activities. The333.org is a website, wiki and forum for commercial sUAS operators to share information and tips. He is also developing Treetop Academy, a drone ground and flight school. Check it out and subscribe to his blog.