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Mavic Pro - Commercial Photography -


Jun 28, 2017
After flying and photographing with the Mavic Pro for over a year I have had acquaintances ask if I could do some photography for them. It seems there is a market out there for drone photography and the Mavic system quality seems to meet the needs of individuals that have contacted me.

That brings up the subject of an FAA UAS license that is needed to stay legal (if you are doing commercial photography). The exam itself costs $150 and is quite challenging in at least two aspects for most of us new to aviation in general; first, the "map reading and interpreting" sections of the exam and secondly, the meteorological coverage.

The meteorological questions are quite challenging even for someone who has taken and passed, the NOAA WeatherSpotter courses. The FAA UAS exam questions cover the weather formats provided to private and commercial pilots in the "streaming" format that is gibberish to the uninitiated (but is easy to interpret if you know the order and style format of the information).

The aeronautical "map reading" questions are also challenging for those not used to the symbology and dense information provided in standard aeronautical charts (i.e., the ones private pilots use). Again, what's needed is careful explanations of everything on the charts.

The actual FAA UAS exam focuses on these two areas and that makes it a difficult test for the uninitiated. If you have a private pilot's license, you are "initiated." But that category covers very few drone pilots.

So, how do we study for the test in the hope of getting a passing grade?

I've answered that question by enrolling in the course found at The first three lessons are free online for anyone to try. All the lessons are well done, taught by actually licensed instructors, and with plenty of visuals. Sample questions are sprinkled liberally throughout and there are full practice exams (automatically graded) to build up your skillset and reduce anxiety. The videos for each lesson are worth the price of the ground school. They can be paused and rerun again and again until the concepts are cemented into your brain. The site even refunds your fee if you fail the test (but you won't). You receive permanent access to the materials and that's important since you have to re-qualify every 24 months with a written exam.

I really enjoy the setup for professional looking drone photography and the actual flying itself. With the Mavic we have a cost-effective platform for commercial photography. With the FAA license, we can be legal and responsible operators. I energetically recommend taking the UAVgroundschool course. Try out the first few lessons even if you have no intention of testing for the license; it's valuable information and well delivered! It's also fun.

Let's stay safe and sane and give drone pilots a good reputation.
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Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2017
Mid TN
I know that some can make it without any formal training, but to get into a good program that teaches the curriculum inside and out so that they actually understand aviation better will make them appreciate the money spent. As far as sectional charts and weather I didn't really have that many questions, maybe 10 or 12. Mine was heavy on regulations, risk management, maintenance, and emergency situations. I thought that I had prepared to the max, but still had questions on information that I had never seen. You cannot just scan over a few sections of reading and think that you will pass if you are not "initiated". I used RemotePilot 101 and finished my test in less than 30 minutes with a passing score of 90. I went too fast, not reading the question as good as I should have. That cost me 3 answers. Read it, read it again, then choose the best answer. But the main thing is study until you think you will ace it with no doubt!


Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2017
Honestly it is complete ******** that the government requires that test. It has almost nothing to do with flying a drone based on what I have seen online. Regardless, I too would like to stay legal so I will be getting my license here hopefully soon.

Not sure why you spent $200 on the test prep. I heard a simple app such as UAS107 (FAA Part 107 Prep Exam) - Android Apps on Google Play is plenty. Almost everybody online says they studied ~15 hrs and all got in the high 80's. People online said they failed the questions that had maps/graphs, but they got a good bit of basic regulation questions.

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