After passing the FAA’s aeronautical knowledge test on August 30, 2016 and subsequently receiving my airmen’s certificate, I was very interested in what other people who took the test thought of the new exam required for prospective commercial sUA (small unmanned aircraft) pilots. I located this really fascinating article by Robert Stangarone, who is managing director of Stangarone & Associates, an aerospace and defense consultancy. He has served in senior leadership positions with Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, Rolls-Royce, Cessna and Embraer, and holds a commercial pilot license with multi-engine, instrument and CitationJet ratings. Mr. Stangarone took the test (and passed) and wrote about his thoughts about the new test and the importance of participating in a drone ground school in this article entitled “A Pilot’s Take on Drone School”. Please click on the link below to see the full text of this most fascinating perspective.
The picture below is a portion of a sectional chart that sUA pilots are required to understand and interpret and is covered extensively in the aeronautical knowledge test. Sectional charts were covered in depth at the ground school that I attended, along with other subjects such as understanding weather theory, National Airspace (NAS) designations and their restrictions, obtaining and interpreting aviation weather reports, aeronautical decision-making, airport operations and, of course, the 14 CFR Part 107 regulations.
I attended an online ground school called Drone Pilot Ground School which was founded and taught by Alan Perlman (uavcoach.com). I recommend this school highly for prospective sUA pilots…Alan’s first time passing rate for his students was over 99%. The national average was just over 88%. Please keep in mind, those who took the test on the first or second day it was available, were basically pioneers since we were the first to ever see the FAA exam created specifically for sUA pilot certification. I’m happy to say, the FAA, did a remarkable job in designing the exam so that is was fair, but yet, required you to know the principles required for safe sUA operation. I encourage all prospective sUA pilots who have the desire to operate commercially, to attend some sort of ground school. Of course, I am bias to the uav coach. Alan’s ground school is very reasonably priced, but does require you to learn all the things you need to know to become a proficient pilot and to PASS THE TEST!!