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Golden Age Aviation, Inc.

Earl C Downs, President


Obtaining a Remote Pilot Certificate


Any person who is operating a drone that weighs less than 55 pounds for other than hobby and recreational purposes is required to hold an FAA-issued remote pilot certificate. For those who already hold an FAA pilot certificate, obtaining a remote pilot certificate is simply a matter of completing an online training course, and having your certificate issued by a Remote Pilot Examiner (RPE). Golden Age Aviation Inc.’s, Earl Downs, is an FAA-approved RPE.


The issuance of the remote pilot certificate may be performed at the Golden Age Aviation Inc. office, or at a location of your choice for an additional fee. The standard fee for the issuance of the remote pilot certificate is $50.


Just in case you are looking into drone operation for the first time, here’s a little background to explain how the certification system works, and when pilot certification is not required



It gets a little confusing because so many names are used to define the small unmanned aerial vehicles. All the new federal drone regulations that were issued in June of 2016 only relate to radio-controlled aircraft that weigh less than 55 pounds. You may hear these small aircraft referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles ((UAV), unmanned aerial systems (UAS), small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), unmanned aircraft (UA), drones, and model aircraft.


The bottom line is, if it’s radio-controlled and weighs less than 55 pounds, all of these terms can be applied to the same vehicle. The FAA seems to be using the abbreviation, “sUAS” pretty consistently, so that’s what we’ll stick with for this discussion.



Any sUAS that weighs more than about 1/2 pound (25kg) must be registered with the FAA. A registration number must be displayed on the sUAS and the minimum age for registration is 13 years old. There’s more to it than this, and information can be found by starting on the FAA website. There are penalties for not complying with this regulation. Drone registration.


Hobby and Recreational sUAS Use

The new FAR 101, subpart E, applies to hobby and recreational operators. It’s very important to review this regulation which is also explained in greater detail in the FAA Advisory Circular, AC 91.57A. The regulations and advisory circular simply provide the definition of model aircraft recreational operation, and a hobbyist needs to know this.


Non-hobby and Non-recreational sUAS Use

This new FAR 107 regulation goes into considerable detail regarding operating a sUAS outside of the definition for ‘hobby and recreational’ use that is found in FAR 101. Operating under FAR 107 requires specialized training, testing, and obtaining a remote pilot license. FAR 107 is complex and is commonly referred to as the rules for sUAS commercial operation, but it is not actually titled with the word “commercial.”


Operating a sUAS outside of the FAR 101 definition of hobby and recreational use is serious business, and noncompliance with FAR 107 can lead to costly consequences. The FAA also has the capability of issuing certain specialized waivers for non-hobby and non-recreational sUAS use.


Local Rules

Some states and local municipalities have implemented rules regarding sUAS operation. Some of these regulations relate to privacy issues and others may even involve separate fees. There is no widely published listing of these local rules, so it’s best if you check with your local authorities.



A lot is already being written about these new regulations, and training schools are being established for FAR107 certification which could leave the impression that hobby and recreational ownership of a sUAS is complicated. To be honest, recreational use is not that big of a deal; you just need to know what you’re getting into, and operate within the FAR 101(E) guidelines and any other operating rules imposed by local authorities.

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