In June 2016, the FAA finally released rules permitting the use of drones, technically called small unmanned aerial systems (UAS), for commercial purposes. In order to operate under the FAA’s Part 107 rules, though, drone operators must hold a Remote Pilot certificate. For anyone who isn’t already a pilot, this requires passing a written test much like the one student pilots have to pass to earn a Private Pilot certificate. Current airplane pilots can take an online course to earn their Remote Pilot certificate.
There are plenty of ways to prepare for this test, from in-person ground school courses to online tools. The FAA even offers some preparation materials. Now there’s an even more convenient option, as Sporty’s has added drones to its family of Study Buddy apps. Drone Study Buddy is a new app that includes both study resources and interactive practice tests, with questions, answers and detailed explanations written by Sporty’s team of flight instructors.
The app has four sections that help prospective Remote Pilots learn important information, then test that knowledge with interactive sessions.
Study Resources organizes a variety of review material, including the Small UAS Study Guide, the Small UAS Airman Certification Standards, relevant Advisory Circulars and helpful links. It’s a good idea to read through all of this before starting the practice sessions.
Learning Mode allows you to create custom review sessions by selecting exactly which categories you want to review. Each session randomly generates the question order, and provides instant feedback based on your answer selection. Each question also provides a detailed description as to why each answer is right. These explanations were developed by Sporty’s team of pilots and instructors, based on their experience preparing for the Remote Pilot certificate.
Flashcard Mode tests your knowledge by allowing you to only see the question without the answer choices. After answering the question mentally, you can then tap a button to show the correct answer, and self-grade your progress along the way.
Test Mode randomly generates a 60-question session from the entire database of test questions, simulating the real Remote Pilot test. After answering all the questions, you’ll be given instant results, and have the option to review either all the questions, or just missed questions. Included in the review session are the same detailed explanations for why each answer is correct.
There’s also a progress report section that makes it easy to track previous test results and resume incomplete study sessions. This is also a good way to focus on which areas require more study.
One of the less obvious features here is the size of the question database. While the FAA publishes a few sample questions, Sporty’s has added hundreds of additional ones from a variety of sources. The result is more questions to study and more complete preparation for what you might see on the test.
Sporty’s Drone Study Buddy App works on iPad and iPhone, and is available for $19.99 in the iTunes App Store.