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UAS/Drone Remote Pilot Test Prep for Part 107 (Init & Recur)

Drone License Made Easy.
Greg Reverdiau
4,257 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
Successfully pass the FAA Remote Pilot Written Exam and apply for an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate
Successfully renew your FAA Remote Pilot Certificate
Be comfortable flying your UAS/Drone for Commercial purposes.

Join the most popular Part 107 test prep course on Udemy today. Best seller, highest rated, taught by the Number 1 aviation instructor on Udemy. Still not convinced? Go read the reviews.

This course is a comprehensive class that encompasses everything needed to know to become a proficient Remote Pilot and to pass the FAA written (initial or recurrent) exam. It is NOT an overview course that teaches you how to memorize answers. I do not believe in “just passing the test”. I want you to become an educated drone pilot who can plan and complete safe missions.

I am a Flight Instructor, Remote Pilot, and Airplane Commercial Pilot who has been teaching aviation for over 15 years. I understand both the manned and unmanned side of aviation and I want to help bridge the gap between the two. I love teaching, I love sharing my knowledge and helping students. I have taught over 4,000 students to date with this course on various platforms. I constantly update the videos with the most recent content. I included over 12.5 hours of lectures, split between 200+ easy-to-follow videos organized in 10 chapters.

By the end of this course, here are a few of the things you will be able to

  • identify all types of airspace on an aeronautical chart,

  • understand which airspace requires FAA approval and know how to receive such approval,

  • read aeronautical charts to identify potential hazards,

  • understand the Part 107 regulation in order to fly legally,

  • read and understand weather reports such as METARs and TAFs,

  • identify traffic patterns at airports to safely plan missions near runways,

  • forecast potentially dangerous weather phenomenon and ensure safe completion of a mission,

  • understand radio communication procedures in order to maintain situational awareness,

  • determine the factors that will affect your drone’s performance,

  • successfully pass the initial or recurrent FAA written exam by using knowledge and not rote memory.

The course covers all the subject areas highlighted by the FAA under 14 CFR Part 107.73: 

(1) Applicable regulations;
(2) Airspace;
(3) Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance;
(4) Small unmanned aircraft loading;
(5) Emergency procedures;
(6) Crew resource management;
(7) Radio communication procedures;
(8) Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft;
(9) Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol;
(10) Aeronautical decision-making and judgment;
(11) Airport operations; and
(12) Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures.

The course also contains 250 practice test questions spread over 15 quizzes. You will also be able to practice your knowledge using two (2) initial FAA practice exams and well as one (1) recurrent exam. Every chapter references a list of FAA documents that you can download for free online (links included). 

See what other students are saying about this course: 

★★★★★ Great course!! Right to the point and full of good info. I passed my 107 test 1st time!!! Thank you Greg!

★★★★★ Excellent course! I used it as a review for my FAA UAS Recurrent test and to be able to review weather and other topics when I want to. I took my recurrent test 1 day after I finished this course and I got 100% on the test. So glad that I found this course.

★★★★★ I will be 60 in a couple of weeks. I haven’t taken a “real” exam in many years. Greg’s course was an enormous help to me. His organization of information was perfect. And to be clear, he states in the course that he wants to provide not just the knowledge you need for the exam, but for “real world” experience. But, let me say, not a word of his is wasted.

★★★★★ Instructor is knowledgeable, experienced and passionate. I feel he really cares and wants to see us succeed.

★★★★★ The course is great, unbelievable amount of information and detail. I took the exam a few days after completion and passed with 87%. I highly recommend Greg as an instructor.

★★★★★ I am a retired FAA Instructor /Examiner Air Traffic Controller of 22 years and 8 years USAF, F-16 INS/RNAV Specialist. I taught radar/non-radar and VFR tower operations, designed airspace and approaches. His presentation is professional and complete. You can’t flower this stuff up. It’s sometimes long and painful. No, it’s not for the average person looking to just pass/memorize the exam. You will know this information like a professional pilot. I have never seen so much detailed information relating to current FAA directives and circulars, in any other test preps. This is the course for the serious UAS pilot. I am honored that my UAS Remote Pilot Test Prep for my Part 107 Exam prep was earned from Greg Reverdiau and look forward to other of his FAA related courses.

Course Introduction

Instructor & Course Introduction
Study Material
About reviews
Using this course for renewal purposes
How to use the Udemy Interface

Loading and Performance

Chapter Overview


Before any flight, the remote pilot-in-command (PIC) should verify the aircraft is correctly loaded by determining the weight and balance condition of the aircraft. An aircraft’s weight and balance restrictions established by the manufacturer or the builder should be closely followed. Compliance with the manufacturer’s weight and balance limits is critical to flight safety. The remote PIC must consider the consequences of an overweight aircraft if an emergency condition arises.

  • Although a maximum gross takeoff weight may be specified, the aircraft may not always safely take off with this load under all conditions. Conditions that affect takeoff and climb performance, such as high elevations, high air temperatures, and high humidity (high density altitudes) may require a reduction in weight before flight is attempted. Other factors to consider prior to takeoff are runway/launch area length, surface, slope, surface wind, and the presence of obstacles. These factors may require a reduction in weight prior to flight.

  • Weight changes during flight also have a direct effect on aircraft performance. Fuel burn is the most common weight change that takes place during flight. As fuel is used, the aircraft becomes lighter and performance is improved, but this could have a negative effect on balance. In small UA operations, weight change during flight may occur when expendable items are used on board (e.g., a jettisonable load).

    Adverse balance conditions (i.e., weight distribution) may affect flight characteristics in much the same manner as those mentioned for an excess weight condition. Limits for the location of the center of gravity (CG) may be established by the manufacturer. The CG is not a fixed point marked on the aircraft; its location depends on the distribution of aircraft weight. As variable load items are shifted or expended, there may be a resultant shift in CG location. The remote PIC should determine how the CG will shift and the resultant effects on the aircraft. If the CG is not within the allowable limits after loading or do not remain within the allowable limits for safe flight, it will be necessary to relocate or shed some weight before flight is attempted.

Responsibilities of the rPIC
Axes of rotation
Forces of Flight (Intro)
Forces of Flight: Lift
Principles of Lift
Newton's Third Law & Bernoulli's Principle
Forces of Flight: Weight


Gravity is the pulling force that tends to draw all bodies to the center of the earth. The CG may be considered as a point at which all the weight of the aircraft is concentrated. If the aircraft were supported at its exact CG, it would balance in any attitude. It will be noted that CG is of major importance in a small UA, for its position has a great bearing upon stability. The allowable location of the CG is determined by the general design of each particular aircraft. The designers determine how far the center of pressure (CP) will travel. It is important to understand that an aircraft’s weight is concentrated at the CG and the aerodynamic forces of lift occur at the CP. When the CG is forward of the CP, there is a natural tendency for the aircraft to want to pitch nose down. If the CP is forward of the CG, a nose up pitching moment is created. Therefore, designers fix the aft limit of the CG forward of the CP for the corresponding flight speed in order to retain flight equilibrium.

Weight has a definite relationship to lift. This relationship is simple, but important in understanding the aerodynamics of flying. Lift is the upward force on the wing acting perpendicular to the relative wind and perpendicular to the aircraft’s lateral axis. Lift is required to counteract the aircraft’s weight. In stabilized level flight, when the lift force is equal to the weight force, the aircraft is in a state of equilibrium and neither accelerates upward or downward. If lift becomes less than weight, the vertical speed will decrease. When lift is greater than weight, the vertical speed will increase.

Forces of Flight: Thrust
Forces of Flight: Parasite Drag
Forces of Flight: Induced Drag
Load Factor

Load Factors

In aerodynamics, the maximum load factor (at given bank angle) is a proportion between lift and weight and has a trigonometric relationship. The load factor is measured in Gs (acceleration of gravity), a unit of force equal to the force exerted by gravity on a body at rest and indicates the force to which a body is subjected when it is accelerated. Any force applied to an aircraft to deflect its flight from a straight line produces a stress on its structure. The amount of this force is the load factor. While a course in aerodynamics is not a prerequisite for obtaining a remote pilot certificate, the competent pilot should have a solid understanding of the forces that act on the aircraft, the advantageous use of these forces, and the operating limitations of the aircraft being flown.

For example, a load factor of 3 means the total load on an aircraft’s structure is three times its weight. Since load factors are expressed in terms of Gs, a load factor of 3 may be spoken of as 3 Gs, or a load factor of 4 as 4 Gs.

With the structural design of aircraft planned to withstand only a certain amount of overload, a knowledge of load factors has become essential for all pilots. Load factors are important for two reasons:

a. It is possible for a pilot to impose a dangerous overload on the aircraft structures.

b. An increased load factor increases the stalling speed and makes stalls possible at seemingly safe flight speeds.



Stability is the inherent quality of an aircraft to correct for conditions that may disturb its equilibrium and to return to or to continue on the original flight path. It is primarily an aircraft design characteristic.

Stability in an aircraft affects two areas significantly:

  • Maneuverability—the quality of an aircraft that permits it to be maneuvered easily and to withstand the stresses imposed by maneuvers. It is governed by the aircraft’s weight, inertia, size and location of flight controls, structural strength, and powerplant. It too is an aircraft design characteristic.

  • Controllability—the capability of an aircraft to respond to the pilot’s control, especially with regard to flight path and attitude. It is the quality of the aircraft’s response to the pilot’s control application when maneuvering the aircraft, regardless of its stability characteristics.

Factors affecting performance: CG Location
Moving CG Location (Part 1)
Moving CG Location (Part 2)
Exceeding CG Limits

Weight and Balance

Compliance with the weight and balance limits of any aircraft is critical to flight safety. Operating above the maximum weight limitation compromises the structural integrity of an aircraft and adversely affects its performance. Operation with the center of gravity (CG) outside the approved limits results in control difficulty. The aircraft’s weight and balance data is important information for a pilot that must be frequently reevaluated.

Weight Control

Weight is the force with which gravity attracts a body toward the center of the Earth. It is a product of the mass of a body and the acceleration acting on the body. Weight is a major factor in aircraft construction and operation and demands respect from all pilots. The force of gravity continuously attempts to pull an aircraft down toward Earth. The force of lift is the only force that counteracts weight and sustains an aircraft in flight. The amount of lift produced by an airfoil is limited by the airfoil design, AOA, airspeed, and air density. To assure that the lift generated is sufficient to counteract weight, loading an aircraft beyond the manufacturer’s recommended weight must be avoided. If the weight is greater than the lift generated, the aircraft may be incapable of flight.

Effects of Weight

Any item aboard an aircraft that increases the total weight is undesirable for performance. Manufacturers attempt to make an aircraft as light as possible without sacrificing strength or safety. The pilot should always be aware of the consequences of overloading. An overloaded aircraft may not be able to leave the ground, or if it does become airborne, it may exhibit unexpected and unusually poor flight characteristics. If not properly loaded, the initial indication of poor performance usually takes place during takeoff.

Excessive weight reduces the flight performance in almost every respect. For example, the most important performance deficiencies of an overloaded aircraft are:

  • Higher takeoff speed

  • Longer takeoff run

  • Reduced rate and angle of climb

  • Lower maximum altitude

  • Shorter range

  • Reduced cruising speed

  • Reduced maneuverability

  • Higher stalling speed

  • Higher approach and landing speed

  • Longer landing roll

    The pilot must be knowledgeable about the effect of weight on the performance of the particular aircraft being flown. Excessive weight in itself reduces the safety margins available to the pilot and becomes even more hazardous when other performance-reducing factors are combined with excess weight. The pilot must also consider the consequences of an overweight aircraft if an emergency condition arises.

Other factors affecting performance

Effect of Temperature on Density

Increasing the temperature of a substance decreases its density. Conversely, decreasing the temperature increases the density. Thus, the density of air varies inversely with temperature. This statement is true only at a constant pressure.

In the atmosphere, both temperature and pressure decrease with altitude and have conflicting effects upon density. However, a fairly rapid drop in pressure as altitude increases usually has a dominating effect. Hence, pilots can expect the density to decrease with altitude.

Effect of Humidity (Moisture) on Density

The preceding paragraphs refer to air that is perfectly dry. In reality, it is never completely dry. The small amount of water vapor suspended in the atmosphere may be almost negligible under certain conditions, but in other conditions humidity may become an important factor in the performance of an aircraft. Water vapor is lighter than air; consequently, moist air is lighter than dry air. Therefore, as the water content of the air increases, the air becomes less dense, increasing density altitude and decreasing performance. It is lightest or least dense when, in a given set of conditions, it contains the maximum amount of water vapor.

Humidity, also called relative humidity, refers to the amount of water vapor contained in the atmosphere and is expressed as a percentage of the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold. This amount varies with temperature. Warm air holds more water vapor, while cold air holds less. Perfectly dry air that contains no water vapor has a relative humidity of zero percent, while saturated air, which cannot hold any more water vapor, has a relative humidity of 100 percent. Humidity alone is usually not considered an important factor in calculating density altitude and aircraft performance, but it is a contributing factor.

Typical FAA Questions
Loading and Performance Test Questions

Use these questions to practice for your actual FAA written test. Be sure to score 90 or more before moving on to the next chapter. 


Chapter Overview
Code of Federal Regulation
Part 107 Subpart A (Part 1)
When do I need a Remote Pilot Certificate?
Part 107 Subpart A (Part 2)
Part 107 Subpart B (Part 1)
Part 107 Subpart B (Part 2)
Part 107 Subpart B (Part 3)
Part 107 Subpart B (Part 4)
Part 107 Subpart B (Part 5)
Part 107 Subpart B (Part 6)
Part 107 Subpart C
Part 107 Subpart D
Part 48: Registration (Part 1)
Part 48: Registration (Part 2)
Typical FAA Questions (Part 1)
Typical FAA Questions (Part 2)
Regulation Test Questions - Part 1

Use these questions to practice for your actual FAA written test. Be sure to score 90 or more before moving on to the next chapter. 

Regulation Test Questions - Part 2

Use these questions to practice for your actual FAA written test. Be sure to score 90 or more before moving on to the next chapter. 

Airport Operations

Chapter Overview


The definition for airports refers to any area of land or water used or intended for landing or takeoff of aircraft. This includes, within the five categories of airports listed below, special types of facilities including seaplane bases, heliports, and facilities to accommodate tilt rotor aircraft. An airport includes an area used or intended for airport buildings, facilities, as well as rights of way together with the buildings and facilities.

Types of Airports

Types of Airports

There are two types of airports—towered and non-towered. These types can be further subdivided to:

  • Civil Airports—airports that are open to the general public.

  • Military/Federal Government airports—airports operated by the military, National

    Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), or other agencies of the Federal Government.

  • Private Airports—airports designated for private or restricted use only, not open to the

    general public.

Towered Airport

A towered airport has an operating control tower. Air traffic control (ATC) is responsible for providing the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic at airports where the type of operations and/or volume of traffic requires such a service.

Non-towered Airport

A non-towered airport does not have an operating control tower. Two-way radio communications are not required, although it is a good operating practice for pilots to monitor other aircraft on the specified frequency for the benefit of other traffic in the area. The key to monitoring traffic at an airport without an operating control tower is selection of the correct common frequency. The acronym CTAF, which stands for Common Traffic Advisory Frequency, is synonymous with this program. A CTAF is a frequency designated for the purpose of carrying out airport advisory practices while operating to or from an airport without an operating control tower. The CTAF may be a Universal Integrated Community (UNICOM), MULTICOM, FSS, or tower frequency and is identified in appropriate aeronautical publications. UNICOM is a nongovernment air/ground radio communication station that may provide airport information at public use airports where there is no tower or FSS.

Non-towered airport traffic patterns are always entered at pattern altitude. How you enter the pattern depends upon the direction of arrival. The preferred method for entering from the downwind side of the pattern is to approach the pattern on a course 45 degrees to the downwind leg and join the pattern at midfield.

True vs Magnetic North
Runway Orientation (Part 1)
Runway Orientation (Part 2)
Traffic Pattern
Segmented Circle
Traffic Pattern (3D View)
Wind Direction Indicators
Airport Signs
Airport Signs (3D View)
Airport Beacon
Operations Near Airports
Flying the Wire Environment
Other Operational Considerations
Charts Supplement (Intro)

Sources for Airport Data

When a remote pilot operates in the vicinity of an airport, it is important to review the current data for that airport. This data provides the pilot with information, such as communication frequencies, services available, closed runways, or airport construction. Three common sources of information are:

  • Aeronautical Charts

  • Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory)

  • Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)

  • Automated Terminal Information Service (ATIS)

Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory)

The Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory) provides the most comprehensive information on a given airport. It contains information on airports, heliports, and seaplane bases that are open to the public. The Chart Supplement U.S. is published in seven books, which are organized by regions and are revised every 56 days. The Chart Supplement U.S. is also available digitally at www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav. Figure 11-1 contains an excerpt from a directory. For a complete listing of information provided in a Chart Supplement U.S. and how the information may be decoded, refer to the “Legend Sample” located in the front of each Chart Supplement U.S.

How to use the Charts Supplement (Part 1)
How to use the Charts Supplement (Part 2)
How to use the Charts Supplement (Part 3)
How to use the Charts Supplement (Part 4)
Notices to Airmen (NOTAM)

Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)

Notices to Airmen, or NOTAMs, are time-critical aeronautical information either temporary in nature or not sufficiently known in advance to permit publication on aeronautical charts or in other operational publications. The information receives immediate dissemination via the National Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) System. NOTAMs contain current notices to airmen that are considered essential to the safety of flight, as well as supplemental data affecting other operational publications. There are many different reasons that NOTAMs are issued. Following are some of those reasons:

  • Hazards, such as air shows, parachute jumps, kite flying, and rocket launches

  • Flights by important people such as heads of state

  • Inoperable lights on tall obstructions

  • Temporary erection of obstacles near airfields

  • Passage of flocks of birds through airspace (a NOTAM in this category is known as a BIRDTAM)

NOTAMs are available in printed form through subscription from the Superintendent of Documents or online at PilotWeb, which provides access to current NOTAM information. Local airport NOTAMs can be obtained online from various websites. Some examples are www.fltplan.com and www.aopa.org/whatsnew/notams.html. Most sites require a free registration and acceptance of terms but offer pilots updated NOTAMs and TFRs.

Time-critical aeronautical information, which is of a temporary nature or not sufficiently known in advance to permit publication, on aeronautical charts or in other operational publications, that receives immediate dissemination by the NOTAM system. The NOTAM information could affect your decision to make the flight. Although NOTAMs contain information such as taxiway and runway closures, construction, communications, changes in status of navigational aids, and other information essential to planned en route, terminal, or landing operations, a remote pilot can use this information to help them make an informed decision about where and when to operate their small UA. Exercise good judgment and common sense by carefully regarding the information readily available in NOTAMs.

Prior to any flight, pilots should check for any NOTAMs that could affect their intended flight.


Automated Terminal Information Service (ATIS)

The Automated Terminal Information Service (ATIS) is a recording of the local weather conditions and other pertinent non-control information broadcast on a local frequency in a looped format. It is normally updated once per hour but is updated more often when changing local conditions warrant. Important information is broadcast on ATIS including weather, runways in use, specific ATC procedures, and any airport construction activity that could affect taxi planning.

When the ATIS is recorded, it is given a code. This code is changed with every ATIS update. For example, ATIS Alpha is replaced by ATIS Bravo. The next hour, ATIS Charlie is recorded, followed by ATIS Delta and progresses down the alphabet.

Typical FAA Questions
Airport Operations Test Questions

Use these questions to practice for your actual FAA written test. Be sure to score 90 or more before moving on to the next chapter. 

Radio Communications

Chapter Overview


Radio communications are an important aspect for the safe operation of aircraft in the NAS. It is through radio communications that pilots give and receive information before, during and at the conclusion of a flight. This information aids in the flow of aircraft in highly complex airspace areas as well as in less populated areas. Pilots can also send and receive important safety of flight issues such as unexpected weather conditions, and inflight emergencies. Although small UA pilots are not expected to communicate over radio frequencies, it is important for the UA pilot to understand “aviation language” and the different conversations they will encounter if the UA pilot is using a radio to aid them in situational awareness when operating in the NAS. Although much of the information provided here is geared toward manned aircraft pilots, the UA pilot needs to understand the unique way information is exchanged in the NAS.

Understanding Proper Radio Procedures

Understanding proper radio phraseology and procedures contribute to a pilot’s ability to operate safely and efficiently in the airspace system. A review of the Pilot/Controller Glossary contained in the AIM assists a pilot in understanding standard radio terminology. The AIM also contains many examples of radio communications.

ICAO has adopted a phonetic alphabet that should be used in radio communications. When communicating with ATC, pilots should use this alphabet to identify their aircraft.

Alphabet and Numbers
Traffic Location & Call Signs

Aircraft Call Signs

When operating in the vicinity of any airport, either towered or non-towered, it is important for a remote pilot to understand radio communications of manned aircraft in the area. Although 14 CFR part 107 only requires the remote pilot to receive authorization to operate in certain airport areas, it can be a good operating practice to have a radio that will allow the remote pilot to monitor the appropriate frequencies in the area. The remote pilot should refrain from transmitting over any active aviation frequency unless there is an emergency situation.

Aviation has unique communication procedures that will be foreign to a remote pilot who has not been exposed to “aviation language” previously. One of those is aircraft call signs. All aircraft that are registered in the United States will have a unique registration number, or “N” number. For example, N123AB, which would be pronounced in aviation terms by use of the phonetic alphabet as, “November One-Two-Three-Alpha-Bravo.” In most cases, “November” will be replaced with either the aircraft manufacturer’s name (make) and in some cases, the type of aircraft (model). Usually, when the aircraft is a light general aviation (GA) aircraft, the manufacturer’s name will be used. In this case, if N123AB is a Cessna 172, the call sign would be “Cessna, One-Two-Three-Alpha-Bravo.” If the aircraft is a heavier GA aircraft, such as a turbo-prop, or turbo-jet, the aircraft’s model will be used in the call sign. If N123AB is a Cessna Citation, the call sign would be stated as, “Citation, One- Two-Three-Alpha-Bravo.” Typically, airliners will use the name of their companies and their flight number in their call signs. For example, Southwest Airlines flight 711, would be said as, “Southwest- Seven-One-One.” There are a few airlines such as British Airways who will not use the company name in their call sign. For example, British Airways uses “Speedbird.”

To close, a remote pilot is not expected to communicate with other aircraft in the vicinity of an airport, and should not do so unless there is an emergency situation. However, in the interest of safety in the NAS, it is important that a remote pilot understands the aviation language and the types of aircraft that can be operating in the same area as a small UA.

Un-towered Airports: Position report

Traffic Advisory Practices at Airports without Operating Control Towers

Airport Operations without Operating Control Tower

There is no substitute for alertness while in the vicinity of an airport. It is essential that pilots be alert and look for other traffic a when operating at an airport without an operating control tower. This is of particular importance since other aircraft may not have communication capability or, in some cases, pilots may not communicate their presence or intentions when operating into or out of such airports. To achieve the greatest degree of safety, it is essential that all radio- equipped aircraft transmit/receive on a common frequency and small UA pilots monitor other aircraft identified for the purpose of airport advisories.

An airport may have a full or part-time tower or flight service station (FSS) located on the airport, a full or part-time universal communications (UNICOM) station or no aeronautical station at all. There are three ways for pilots to communicate their intention and obtain airport/traffic information when operating at an airport that does not have an operating tower—by communicating with an FSS, a UNICOM operator, or by making a self-announce broadcast.

Many airports are now providing completely automated weather, radio check capability and airport advisory information on an automated UNICOM system. These systems offer a variety of features, typically selectable by microphone clicks, on the UNICOM frequency. Availability of the automated UNICOM will be published in the Airport/Facility Directory and approach charts.

Un-towered Airports: CTAF & UNICOM

Understanding Communication on a Common Frequency

The key to communications at an airport without an operating control tower is selection of the correct common frequency. The acronym CTAF, which stands for Common Traffic Advisory Frequency, is synonymous with this program. A CTAF is a frequency designated for the purpose of carrying out airport advisory practices while operating to or from an airport without an operating control tower. The CTAF may be a UNICOM, MULTICOM, FSS, or tower frequency and is identified in appropriate aeronautical publications.

Communication/Broadcast Procedures

A MULTICOM frequency of 122.9 will be used at an airport that is non-towered and does not have a FSS or UNICOM.

Recommended Traffic Advisory Practices

Although a remote pilot-in-command is not required to communicate with manned aircraft when in the vicinity of a non-towered airport, safety in the National Airspace System requires that remote pilots are familiar with traffic patterns, radio procedures, and radio phraseology.

When a remote pilot plans to operate close to a non-towered airport, the first step in radio procedures is to identify the appropriate frequencies. Most non-towered airports will have a UNICOM frequency, which is usually 122.8; however, you should always check the Cart Supplements U.S. or sectional chart for the correct frequency. This frequency can vary when there are a large number of non-towered airports in the area. For non-towered airports that do not have a UNICOM or any other frequency listed, the MULTICOM frequency of 122.9 will be used. These frequencies can be found on a sectional chart by the airport or in the Chart Supplements publication from the FAA.

Un-towered Airports: Examples

When a manned aircraft is inbound to a non-towered airport, the standard operating practice is for the pilot to “broadcast in the blind” when 10 miles from the airport. This initial radio call will also include the position the aircraft is in relation to north, south, east or west from the airport. For example:

Town and Country traffic, Cessna 123 Bravo Foxtrot is 10 miles south inbound for landing, Town and Country traffic.

When a manned aircraft is broadcasting at a non-towed airport, the aircraft should use the name of the airport of intended landing at the beginning of the broadcast, and again at the end of the broadcast. The reason for stating the name twice is to allow others who are on the frequency to confirm where the aircraft is going. The next broadcast that the manned aircraft should make is:

Town and Country traffic, Cessna 123 Bravo Foxtrot, is entering the pattern, mid-field left down-wind for runway 18, Town and Country traffic.

The aircraft is now entering the traffic pattern. In this example, the aircraft is making a standard 45 degree entry to the downwind leg of the pattern for runway 18. Or, the aircraft could land straight- in without entering the typical rectangular traffic pattern. Usually aircraft that are executing an instrument approach will use this method. Examples of a radio broadcast from aircraft that are using this technique are:

For an aircraft that is executing an instrument approach:

Town and Country traffic, Cessna 123 Bravo Foxtrot, is one mile north of the airport, GPS runway 18, full stop landing, Town and Country traffic.

As the aircraft flies the traffic pattern for a landing, the following radio broadcasts should be made:

Town and Country traffic, Cessna 123 Bravo Foxtrot, left base, runway 18, Town and Country traffic.

Town and Country traffic, Cessna 123 Bravo Foxtrot, final, runway 18, Town and Country traffic.

After the aircraft has landed and is clear of the runway, the following broadcast should be made:

Town and Country traffic, Cessna 123 Bravo Foxtrot, is clear of runway 18, taxing to park, Town and Country traffic.

When an aircraft is departing a non-towered airport, the same procedures apply. For example, when the aircraft is ready for takeoff, the aircraft should make the following broadcast:

Town and Country traffic, Cessna 123 Bravo Foxtrot, departing runway 18, Town and Country traffic.

For safety reasons, a remote pilot must always scan the area where they are operating a small UA. This is especially important around an airport. While it is good operating procedures for manned aircraft to make radio broadcasts in the vicinity of a non-towered airport, by regulation, it is not mandatory. For this reason, a remote pilot must always look for other aircraft in the area, and use a radio for an extra layer of situational awareness.

Towered Airports
Who to listen to?
Typical FAA Questions
Radio Communications Test Questions

Use these questions to practice for your actual FAA written test. Be sure to score 90 or more before moving on to the next chapter. 


Chapter Overview
General Information and Types of Airspace


The two categories of airspace are: regulatory and nonregulatory. Within these two categories, there are four types: controlled, uncontrolled, special use, and other airspace. The categories and types of airspace are dictated by the complexity or density of aircraft movements, nature of the operations conducted within the airspace, the level of safety required, and national and public interest.

Air Traffic Control and the National Airspace System

The primary purpose of the ATC system is to prevent a collision between aircraft operating in the system and to organize and expedite the flow of traffic. In addition to its primary function, the ATC system has the capability to provide (with certain limitations) additional services. The ability to provide additional services is limited by many factors, such as the volume of traffic, frequency congestion, quality of radar, controller workload, higher priority duties, and the pure physical inability to scan and detect those situations that fall in this category. It is recognized that these services cannot be provided in cases in which the provision of services is precluded by the above factors.

Consistent with the aforementioned conditions, controllers shall provide additional service procedures to the extent permitted by higher priority duties and other circumstances. The provision of additional services is not optional on the part of the controller, but rather is required when the work situation permits. Provide ATC service in accordance with the procedures and minima in this order except when other procedures/minima are prescribed in a letter of agreement, FAA directive, or a military document.

Defining a Few Terms

Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Terms & Symbols

Remote pilots need to be familiar with the following information from the FAA Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide website:

  • All information on the VFR Terms tab

  • The following sections under “VFR Aeronautical Chart Symbols” on the VFR Symbols tab:

    o Airports
    o Airspace Information
    o Navigational and Procedural Information o Chart Limits
    o Culture

    o Hydrography

    o Relief

Controlled Airspace Overview and Class A

Controlled Airspace

Controlled airspace is a generic term that covers the different classifications of airspace and defined dimensions within which air traffic control (ATC) service is provided in accordance with the airspace classification. Controlled airspace that is of concern to the remote pilot is:

  • Class B

  • Class C

  • Class D

  • Class E

Class B: Definitions

Class B Airspace

Class B airspace is generally airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet mean sea level (MSL) surrounding the nation’s busiest airports in terms of airport operations or passenger enplanements. The configuration of each Class B airspace area is individually tailored, consists of a surface area and two or more layers (some Class B airspace areas resemble upside-down wedding cakes), and is designed to contain all published instrument procedures once an aircraft enters the airspace. A remote pilot must receive authorization from ATC before operating in the Class B airspace.

Class B: Chart Views
Class B: 3D Views
Class C: Definitions

Class C Airspace

Class C airspace is generally airspace from the surface to 4,000 feet above the airport elevation (charted in MSL) surrounding those airports that have an operational control tower, are serviced by a radar approach control, and have a certain number of instrument flight rules (IFR) operations or passenger enplanements. Although the configuration of each Class C area is individually tailored, the airspace usually consists of a surface area with a five nautical mile (NM) radius, an outer circle with a ten NM radius that extends from 1,200 feet to 4,000 feet above the airport elevation. A remote pilot must receive authorization before operating in Class C airspace.

Class C: 3D and Chart Views
Class D: Definitions

Class D Airspace

Class D airspace is generally airspace from the surface to 2,500 feet above the airport elevation (charted in MSL) surrounding those airports that have an operational control tower. The configuration of each Class D airspace area is individually tailored and, when instrument procedures are published, the airspace is normally designed to contain the procedures. Arrival extensions for instrument approach procedures (IAPs) may be Class D or Class E airspace. A remote pilot must receive ATC authorization before operating in Class D airspace.

Class D: 3D and Chart Views
Class E: Definitions (Part 1)

Class E Airspace

Class E airspace is the controlled airspace not classified as Class A, B, C, or D airspace. A large amount of the airspace over the United States is designated as Class E airspace. This provides sufficient airspace for the safe control and separation of aircraft during IFR operations. Chapter 3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) explains the various types of Class E airspace.

Sectional and other charts depict all locations of Class E airspace with bases below 14,500 feet MSL. In areas where charts do not depict a class E base, class E begins at 14,500 feet MSL. In most areas, the Class E airspace base is 1,200 feet above ground level (AGL). In many other areas, the Class E airspace base is either the surface or 700 feet AGL. Some Class E airspace begins at an MSL altitude depicted on the charts, instead of an AGL altitude. Class E airspace typically extends up to, but not including, 18,000 feet MSL (the lower limit of Class A airspace). All airspace above FL 600 is Class E airspace.

Federal Airways, which are shown as blue lines on a sectional chart, are usually found within Class E airspace. Federal Airways start at 1,200’ AGL and go up to, but, not including 18,000’ MSL.

In most cases, a remote pilot will not need ATC authorization to operate in Class E airspace.

Class E: Definitions (Part 2)
Class E: Chart View & 3D View (Part 1)
Class E: Chart View & 3D View (Part 2)
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