Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS

Remote Pilot Ground School

Prepare for your Remote PIC with sUAS rating (Part 107) written knowledge test


April 2021 - FAA-S-ACS-10B - Remote Pilot - sUAS - Airman Certification Standards (ACS)

An FAA document used to communicate a means to evaluate the aeronautical knowledge standards for certification knowledge testing for a Remote Pilot Certificate with sUAS rating.


The following web pages web pages (Test Prep 1- 9) are aimed at preparing you for the Remote PIC with sUAS rating written certification knowledge test.


FAA views ACS as the foundation of its transition to a more integrated and systematic approach to airman certification.

ACS is part of the safety management system (SMS) framework that the FAA uses to mitigate risks associated with airman certification training and testing

ACS, associated guidance, and test question components of the airman certification system are constructed around the four functional components of an SMS:

1. Safety Policy - aeronautical knowledge,  risk management, and flight proficiency as integrated components of the airman certification system;

2. Safety Risk Management - processes through which both internal and external stakeholders identify changes in regulations, safety recommendations, or other factors. These changes are then evaluated to determine whether they require modification of airman testing and training materials;

3. Safety Assurance - processes to ensure the prompt and appropriate incorporation of changes arising from new regulations and safety recommendations; and

4. Safety Promotion - ongoing engagement with both external stakeholders (e.g., the aviation training community) and FAA policy divisions


Historical Documents (for potential reference)

Feb 2012 - FAA Modernization and Reform Act (FMRA) - PL 112.95

June 2016 - FAA finalized 14 CFR 107 (624-page document) governing commercial UAS operations in the U.S. 

July 2016 - FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act (FESSA) - PL 114-190

Aug 2016 - 14 CFR 107 went into effect

3-page summary - quicker read but scarce in detailed knowledge

Aug 2016 - FAA-G-8082-22 - FAA Remote Pilot Study Guide went into effect

Oct 2018 - FAA Reauthorization Act - PL 115-254

July 2020 - FAA ORDER JO 7200.23B - went into effect

Feb 2021 - AC 107-2A - guidance to help teach you how to follow the rule


FAA legal interpretation of the term "congested area"
simmons - (2010) legal interpretation.pd[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [47.2 KB]
My annotated copy of the part 107 preamble which contains many explanations for why the law was written the way it was, together with the FAA's interpretation of "sparsely populated"
RIN_2120-AJ60_Clean_Signed with Nilsson [...]
Adobe Acrobat document [2.2 MB]

The goal of the airman certification process is to ensure the applicant possesses knowledge consistent with the privileges of the Remote Pilot Certificate with sUAS rating, as well as the ability to manage the risks of flight in order to act as a remote PIC.

In fulfilling its responsibilities for the airman certification process, the FAA Flight Standards Service (AFS) plans, develops, and maintains materials related to airman certification testing. These materials include several components.

The FAA Knowledge Test measures mastery of the aeronautical knowledge areas listed in 14 CFR Part 89 and 14 CFR Part 107.

Other materials, such as airman knowledge testing supplements in the FAA-CT-8080 series and FAA online training, provide guidance to applicants on aeronautical knowledge and risk management.

FAA recognizes that safe operations in today's complex National Airspace System (NAS) require a more systematic integration of aeronautical knowledge and risk management. FAA further recognizes the need to more clearly calibrate knowledge and risk management to the level of the Rmeote Pilot Certificate with sUAS rating.

The ACS integrates the elements of knowledge and risk management in 14 CFR Part 89 and 14 CFR Part 107 for a Remote Pilot Certificate with sUAS rating. It thus forms the comprehensive standard for what an applicant knows and considers to successfully complete eash Task tested on the knowledge test.

In keeping with this integrated and systematic approach, the knowledge Task elements of each Task identify what the applicant should know and understand for sUAS operations conducted under 14 CFR Part 89 and 14 CFR Part 107. The applicant demonstrates this understanding by passing the knowledge test.


ACS includes Areas of Operation and Tasks for the Issuance of a Remote Pilot Certificate with sUAS rating in accordance with 14 CFR 107.65.

Each Area of Operation is further broken down into Tasks

Each Task is coded according to a scheme that includes 4 elements 

The elements are then even further broken down into Task Element Knowledge

e.g. UA.I.B.K10:

UA   = Applicable ACS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems)

I      = Area of Operation (Regulations)

B     = Task (Operating Rules)

K10 = Task Element Knowledge 10 (Visual line of sight (VLOS) aircraft operations)


At the conclusion of a knowledge test, an applicant is given their Knowledge Test Report (KTR) which lists the applicant's name, date of the test, the type of test, a unique test identification number, the score, and ACS Codes for questions that were answered incorrectly. The printed ACS Codes guides the applicant to the area(s) that were found to be deficient in the test. The codes are found in April 2021 - FAA-S-ACS-10B - Remote Pilot - sUAS - Airman Certification Standards (ACS).

FAA encourages applicants to use the ACS as a reference while preparing for the certification airman knowledge test.

For those applicants who do not pass the knowledge test for certification, remedial instruction and an enforsement from an instructor is NOT required for retesting.


Applicants who do not meet the requirements in 14 CFR 107.61(d)(2) must pass the knowledge test before applying for a Remote Pilot Certificate with an sUAS rating. 

Free FAA training on the FAA Safety Team website:

- Current Part 61 certificate holders are eligible to take ALC-451

- Part 107 remote pilots who are also certificated and current under Part 61 are eligible to take ALC-515

- Part 107 remote pilot certification holders (regardless of currency) are eligible to take ALC-677


The 2-hour certification knowledge test consists of 60 objective, multiple-choice questions

single correct response for each test question

- each test question is independent of other questions

- correct response to one question does not depend upon, or influence, the correct response to another


Practice tests are available at PSI Services, LLC

The FAA-CT-8080-2H, Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement for Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, Remote Pilot, and Private Pilot contains the supplemental graphics necessary to assist in answering any question on a Remote Pilot Certification (UAG) knowledge test.

You should become very familiar with this supplement prior to taking the test.


The FAA has released 40 sample test questions (these are incorporated throughout this test prep and appear in blue)- see the Application Identification, Information Verification and Authorization Requirements Matrix for general requirements. 

I also added some test questions that were on the FAASTEAM test for Part 61 pilots and these are in green.

(Answer key to all green questions is in one document, and answer key to blue questions is in another, both at the bottom of the page UAG Test Prep - 9)




2016 June 28 - FSIMS updated Volume 16 to incorporate the new Part 107 material

- provides information and policy guidance regarding how civil UAS operators, public, UAS operators, and model aircraft operators are authorized to conduct flight operations in a manner which complies with the applicable 14 CFRs

- primary audience for this volume is Flight Standards Service (AFS) aviation safety inspectors (ASI), their managers and supervisors, and other operational and administrative employees

- UAS users may find this volume helpful for informational and planning purposes

- 14 CFR Part 11 grants of exemption are what were formerly known as Section 333 exemptions

(I have added pertinent parts of Volume 16 to the course material)

Certification Knowledge Test

5 main Areas of Operation in total, some more complex than others

UA.I - Regulations 

UA.II - Airspace Classification and Operating Requirements

UA.III - Weather

UA.IV - Loading and Performance

UA.V - Operations

Your study outline

UA.I - Regulations 

15-25% of items on Certification Knowledge Test 

UA.I.A - Task A. General 

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable in the general regulatory requirements of 14 CFR Part 89 and 14 CFR Part 107. 

UA.I.A.K1 - Applicability of 14 CFR Part 107 to small unmanned aircraft operations

UA.I.A.K2 - Definitions used in 14 CFR Part 107

UA.I.A.K3 - Ramifications of falsification, reproduction, or alteration of a certificate, rating, authorization, record, or report

UA.I.A.K4 - Accident reporting

UA.I.A.K5 - Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance

UA.I.A.K6 - Multiple category sUAS

UA.I.A.K7 - Record retention

UA.I.A.K8 - Previously manufactured sUAS


UA.I.B - Task B. Operating Rules

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable of the operating rules of 14 CFR Part 89 and 14 CFR Part 107, the registration rules of 14 CFR Part 47 and 14 CFR Part 48, and other associated operating requirements.

UA.I.B.K1 - Registration requirements for sUAS

UA.I.B.K2 - Requirement for the sUAS to be in a condition for safe operation

UA.I.B.K3 - Medical condition(s) that would interfere with safe operation of an sUAS

UA.I.B.K4 - Responsibility and authority of the remote PIC

UA.I.B.K4a - Allowing a person other than the remote PIC to manipulate the flight controls

UA.I.B.K5 - Regulatory deviation and reporting requirements for in-flight emergencies

UA.I.B.K6 - Hazardous operations

UA.I.B.K6a - Careless or reckless

UA.I.B.K6b - Dropping an object

UA.I.B.K7 - Operating from a moving aircraft or moving land- or water-borne vehicle

UA.I.B.K8 - Alcohol or drugs and the provisions on prohibition of use

UA.I.B.K9 - Daylight operations

UA.I.B.K10 - Visual line of sight (VLOS) aircraft operations

UA.I.B.K11 - Requirements when a visual observer is used

UA.I.B.K12 - Prohibition of operating multiple sUAS

UA.I.B.K13 - Prohibition of carrying hazardous material

UA.I.B.K14 - Staying safely away from other aircraft and right-of-way rules

UA.I.B.K14a - See and avoid other aircraft and other potential hazard considerations of the remote PIC

UA.I.B.K15 - Operations over human beings - see Area of Operation I, Task E

UA.I.B.K16 - Prior authorization required for operation in certain airspace

UA.I.B.K17 - Operating in the vicinity of airports

UA.I.B.K18 - Operating in prohibited or restricted areas

UA.I.B.K19 - Flight restrictions in the proximity of certain areas designated by notice to airmen (NOTAM)

UA.I.B.K20 - Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operations

UA.I.B.K21 - Operating limitations for sUAS

UA.I.B.K21a - Maximum groundspeed

UA.I.B.K21b - Altitude limitations

UA.I.B.K21c - Minimum visibility

UA.I.B.K21d - Cloud clearance requirements

UA.I.B.K22 - Requirements for a Remote Pilot Certificate with an sUAS rating

UA.I.B.K23 - Automated operations

UA.I.B.K24 - Civil twilight operations

UA.I.B.K25 - Night operations

UA.I.B.K26 - Transportation of property

UA.I.B.K27 - ATC transponder equipment prohibition

UA.I.B.K28 - ADS-B out prohibition


UA.I.C - Task C. Remote Pilot Certification with an sUAS rating 

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable in the requirements associated with remote pilot certification with an sUAS rating. 

UA.I.C.K1 - Offenses involving alcohol or drugs

UA.I.C.K2 - Consequences of refusing to submit to a drug or alcohol test or to furnish test results

UA.I.C.K3 - Eligibility requirements for a Remote Pilot Certificate with an sUAS rating

UA.I.C.K4 - Aeronautical knowledge recency


UA.I.D - Task D. Waivers

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable of the FAA waiver policy and requirements. 

UA.I.D.K1 - Waiver policy and requirements


UA.I.E - Task E. Operations over People 

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable of the operating rules of 14 CFR Part 89 and 14 CFR Part 107, and the associated operating requirements when operating over people. 

UA.I.E.K1 - Remote pilot responsibilities when operating over people

UA.I.E.K2 - Operations over people at night

UA.I.E.K3 - Category of operations, including:

UA.I.E.K3a - Category 1

UA.I.E.K3b - Category 2

UA.I.E.K3c - Category 3

UA.I.E.K3d - Category 4

UA.I.E.K4 - Selecting an operational area

UA.I.E.K5 - Minimum distances from a person

UA.I.E.K6 - Operations over moving vehicles

UA.I.E.K7 - Modifications to an sUAS

UA.I.E.K8 - Closed and restricted access sites

UA.I.E.K9 - Remote pilot operating limitations

UA.I.E.K10 - Required components and Category declaration

UA.I.E.K11 - Optional components

UA.I.E.K12 - Applicant produced, designed, or modified sUAS for operations over people

UA.I.E.K13 - Declaration of Compliance (DoC)

UA.I.E.K14 - Maintenance of an sUAS that is eligible for operations over people

UA.I.E.K15 - Means of Compliance (MoC)

UA.I.E.K16 - Impact kinetic energy

UA.I.E.K17 - Exposed rotating parts


UA.I.F - Task F. Remote Identification (RID)

Objective: To determine the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge associated with operating rules of 14 CFR Part 89 and their associated operating requirements.

UA.I.F.K1 - Standard remote identification

UA.I.F.K2 - Alternative remote identification

UA.I.F.K3 - Operations for aeronautical research

UA.I.F.K4 - ADS-B out

UA.I.F.K5 - Confirmation of identification

UA.I.F.K6 - Minimum message elements broadcast for remote identification

UA.I.F.K7 - Product labeling


UA.II - Airspace Classification and Operating Requirements 

15-25% of items on Certification Knowledge Test 

UA.II.A - Task A. Airspace Classification

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeble in airspace classification. 

UA.II.A.K1 - General airspace:

UA.II.A.K1a - Class B controlled airspace

UA.II.A.K1b - Class C controlled airspace

UA.II.A.K1c - Class D controlled airspace

UA.II.A.K1d - Class E controlled airspace

UA.II.A.K1e - Class G uncontrolled airspace

UA.II.A.K2 - Special-use airspace, such as prohibited, restricted, warning areas, military operation areas, alert areas, and controlled firing areas

UA.II.A.K3 - Other airspace areas, such as Airport Advisory Services, Military Training Routes (MTRs), Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), Parachute Jump Operations, Terminal Radar Service Areas (TRSAs), National Security Areas (NSAs), and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) routes.

UA.II.A.K4 - Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the NAS


UA.II.B - Task B. Airspace Operational Requirements

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable of airspace operational requirements. 

UA.II.B.K1 - Basic weather minimums

UA.II.B.K2 - ATC authorizations and related operating limitations

UA.II.B.K3 - Operations near airports

UA.II.B.K4 - Potential flight hazards

UA.II.B.K4a - Common aircraft accident causal factors

UA.II.B.K4b - Avoid flight beneath unmanned balloons

UA.II.B.K4c - Emergency airborne inspection of other aircraft

UA.II.B.K4d - Precipitation static 

UA.II.B.K4e - Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation (LASER) operations and reporting illumination of aircraft

UA.II.B.K4f - Avoiding flight in the vicinity of thermal plumes such as smoke stacks and cooling towers

UA.II.B.K4g - Flying in the wire environment

UA.II.B.K5 - The NOTAM system, including how to obtain an established NOTAM through Flight Service

UA.II.B.K6 - Operator equipment for night flying

UA.II.B.K7 - Ground structures and ground structure lighting

UA.II.B.K8 - Hazards on the ground that do not have lighting

UA.II.B.K9 - Manned aircraft lighting

UA.II.B.K10 - sUAS lighting requirements


UA.III - Weather

11-16% of items on Certification Knowledge Test   

UA.III.A - Task A. Sources of Weather

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable in sources of weather information.

UA.III.A.K1 - Internet weather briefing and sources of weather available for flight planning purposes

UA.III.A.K2 - Aviation routine weather reports (METAR)

UA.III.A.K3 - Terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAF)

UA.III.A.K4 - Weather charts

UA.III.A.K5 - Automated surface observing systems (ASOS) and automated weather observing systems (AWOS)  


UA.III.B - Task B. Effects of Weather on Performance

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable of the effects of weather on performance.

UA.III.B.K1 - Weather factors and their effects on performance

UA.III.B.K1a - Density altitude

UA.III.B.K1b - Wind and currents

UA.III.B.K1c - Atmospheric stability, pressure, and temperature

UA.III.B.K1d - Air masses and fronts

UA.III.B.K1e - Thunderstorms and microbursts

UA.III.B.K1f - Tornadoes

UA.III.B.K1g - Icing

UA.III.B.K1h - Hail

UA.III.B.K1i - Fog

UA.III.B.K1j - Ceiling and visibility

UA.III.B.K1k - Lightning


UA.IV - Loading and Performance

7-11% of items on Certification Knowledge Test

UA.IV.A - Task A. Loading and Performance

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable in the loading and performance of an sUAS.

UA.IV.A.K1 - General loading and performance, including:

UA.IV.A.K1a - Effects of loading changes

UA.IV.A.K1b - Balance, stability, and center of gravity

UA.IV.A.K2 - Importance and use of performance data to calculate the effect on the aircraft's performance of an sUAS 

UA.V - Operations

35-45% of items on Certification Knowledge Test

UA.V.A - Task A. Radio Communications Procedures 

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable in radio communication procedures. 

UA.V.A.K1 - Airport operations with and without an operating control tower

UA.V.A.K2 - Description and use of a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) to monitor manned aircraft communications

UA.V.A.K3 - Recommended traffic advisory procedures used by manned aircraft pilots such as self-announcing of position and intentions

UA.V.A.K4 - Aeronautical advisory communication station (UNICOM) and associated communication procedures used by manned aircraft pilots

UA.V.A.K5 - Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS)

UA.V.A.K6 - Aircraft call signs and registration numbers

UA.V.A.K7 - The phonetic alphabet

UA.V.A.K8 - Phraseology: altitudes, directions, speed, and time


UA.V.B - Task B. Airport Operations

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable in airport operations. 

UA.V.B.K1 - Types of airports such as towered, uncontrolled towered, heliport, and seaplane bases

UA.V.B.K2 - ATC towers, such as ensuring the remote pilot can monitor and interpret ATC communications to improve situational awareness

UA.V.B.K3 - Runway markings and signage

UA.V.B.K4 - Traffic patterns used by manned aircraft pilots

UA.V.B.K5 - Security Identification Display Areas (SIDA)

UA.V.B.K6 - Sources for airport data

UA.V.B.K6a - Aeronautical charts

UA.V.B.K6b - Chart Supplements

UA.V.B.K7 - Avoiding bird and wildlife hazards and reporting collisions between aircraft and wildlife

UA.V.B.K8 - Airport and seaplane base lighting


UA.V.C - Task C. Emergency Procedures 

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable in sUAS emergency procedures. 

UA.V.C.K1 - Emergency planning and communication

UA.V.C.K2 - Characteristics and potential hazards. of lithium batteries

UA.V.C.K2a - Safe transportation such as proper inspection and handling

UA.V.C.K2b - Safe charging

UA.V.C.K2c - Safe usage

UA.V.C.K2d - Risks of fired involving lithium batteries

UA.V.C.K3 - Loss of aircraft control link and fly-aways

UA.V.C.K4 - Loss of Global Positioning System (GPS) signal during flight and potential consequences

UA.V.C.K5 - Frequency spectrums and associated limitations

UA.V.C.K6 - Procedures for operations over people

UA.V.C.K7 - Procedures for operations at night


UA.V.D - Task D. Aeronautical Decision-Making

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable in aeronautical decision-making. 

UA.V.D.K1 - Aeronautical decision-making

UA.V.D.K1a - Effective team communication

UA.V.D.K1b - Task management

UA.V.D.K2 - Crew Resource Management (CRM)

UA.V.D.K3 - Situational awareness

UA.V.D.K4 - Hazardous attitudes

UA.V.D.K5 - Hazard identification and risk assessment


UA.V.E - Task E. Physiology 

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable in the physiological factors affecting remote pilot performance. 

UA.V.E.K1 - Physiological considerations and their effects on safety such as dehydration and heatstroke

UA.V.E.K2 - Drug and alcohol use

UA.V.E.K3 - Prescription and over-the-counter medication

UA.V.E.K4 - Hyperventilation

UA.V.E.K5 - Stress and fatigue

UA.V.E.K6 - Factors affecting vision

UA.V.E.K7 - Fitness for flight

UA.V.E.K8 - Physiological aspects of night operation

UA.V.E.K9 - Night illusions


UA.V.F - Task F. Maintenance and Inspection Procedures

Objective: To determine that the applicant is knowledgeable in sUAS maintenance and inspection procedures. 

UA.V.F.K1 - Basic maintenance

UA.V.F.K2 - Preflight inspection

UA.V.F.K3 - Techniques to mitigate mechanical failures of all elements used in sUAS operations such as the battery and any device(s) used to operate the sUAS

UA.V.F.K4 - Appropriate record keeping

UA.V.F.K5 - Persons that may perform maintenance on a sUAS

UA.V.F.K6 - Preflight inspection for night operations

UA.V.F.K7 - Manufacturer's Declaration of Compliance for Category 2 and 3 operations


Speaking from the standpoint of a seasoned pilot I would like to recommend at this point a free AOPA membership (good for 6 months) so that you can reap the benefits of the Air Safety Institute Interactive modules at several points in this course (these will be denoted by name in message boxes much like this one).

Contact Me

Sarah Nilsson, J.D., Ph.D., MAS


602 561 8665


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The information on this website is for EDUCATIONAL purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice. 

While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not YOUR attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.

In no event shall Sarah Nilsson be liable for any special, indirect, or consequential damages relating to this material, for any use of this website, or for any other hyperlinked website.





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