Aspiring drone pilots get a little help earning their wings
January 28, 2021
Sarah Macey is the training and operations manager at the Virginia Tech Drone Park. Her driving motivation is to make it easier for students who are interested in drones to explore their curiosity and learn to fly capably and safely. The park’s latest initiative is offering small grants to help students get more serious about drones by bringing them closer to a key certification.
A Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration is the drone equivalent of a driver’s license. It’s widely known as a Part 107 license — shorthand for 14 CFR Part 107, the federal regulations that cover commercial flights of small drones — and it’s required to fly a drone for business or commercial purposes, nonprofit work, or education. Under Virginia Tech’s drone policy, it’s also required for flights on Virginia Tech property or with aircraft the university owns.
“The Part 107 certificate is necessary for so many things,” Macey said. “One of my goals at the drone park is to look for ways to support students here, both through things like flight training, and education about drones and safety, but also through opportunities that can build their resume and help them in the future, like getting their Part 107.”