Big Relief for Reoccurring Training and testing fee
Under the previous rules, Part 107 licensed drone pilots needed to take a recurrent knowledge test after 24 months. Although the license itself does not expire, the validity of the privileges granted by passing the knowledge test are time-limited. Despite the efforts to make the recurrent knowledge test shorter and easier, it was still a huge inconvenience to have to show up to a testing center to take the test – not to mention, having to pay a $160 testing fee again.
This should no longer be an issue under the new rules. Instead of having to take the test, drone pilots instead only need to complete an online recurrent training course. The online course is completely free. This is reminiscent of the recurrency requirement for Part 61 certificate holders. Take note, however, that they do not pertain to the same online training course.
Keeping in line with the relaxed rules for night operations, the recurrent online training course will also include topics like night physiology and night illusions. It really hardly matters what the FAA includes in there. Just the mere fact that drone pilots can take the course from the comforts of their home is already a big win for the commercial drone industry.
According to the text of the final ruling, the goal of recurrent training is to “allowing remote pilots to maintain critical knowledge and keep abreast of dynamic issues, including changes to regulations, that arise while ultimately completing the updated knowledge requirements related to operating small UAS”. This seems reasonable given the pace at which drone-related laws have been changing in the last couple of years.
You will be granted a completion certificate once you have completed the online course. This completion certificate will take the place of the Airman Knowledge Testing Report (AKTR) which used to be a requirement to prove that your license is current. Instead, you will need to carry this completion certificate with you whenever you fly your drone for commercial purposes, along with your original Part 107 remote pilot certificate.