We put out a blog post in early December titled “All Things Part 107 Exam – Including Renewals” due to the fact that a large number of pilots took their initial Part 107 exam two years ago, in the Fall/Winter of 2016/2017, and would therefore be up for renewal this winter.

At that time, we were not anticipating a government shutdown, particularly not one that would last weeks. While ATC personnel and TSA agents are deemed essential, most of the bureaucratic, behind-the-scenes work at the FAA is on hold – including certification of pilots.

Many Kittyhawkers have their Part 107 already and are studying to take the recurrent exam in January and February, and some are studying for their initial exam – so this is an issue relevant to us and our customers. We wanted to share our learnings with our user community to cut through some of the confusion occurring due to the shutdown.

Note: There was some initial confusion as to whether testing centers were administering any Part 107 knowledge exams. Initially, some testing centers said they would not administer the exam during the shutdown, but it appears now that most testing centers are open and testing. In the San Francisco Bay Area, CATS/PSI is taking reservations to take the exam at multiple locations. You’ll need to contact CATS/PSI to verify that your preferred location is testing.

Part 107 Initial Exam – New certificates are not being issued. This is a problem.

Those who are taking the initial Part 107 exam seem to be out of luck. In short, new Part 107 certificates are essentially not being issued because the IACRA system is not being updated, and exam scores are not being transmitted from the testing center to the FAA. (IACRA is the Integrated Airmen Certification and Rating Application – the web-based certification/rating application that guides the user through the FAA’s airmen application process.) This means that although you have a passing score in the system, you have not been subjected to the security and data verification parts of IACRA – and thus cannot be issued a certificate. This also means that you cannot go online to the FAA and print out your temporary paper certificate as has been the standard practice.

Note: CATS/PSI is informing people signing up for their initial Part 107 that although they will have a passing score cached in their system, it is not 100% guaranteed that they will be able to transmit that information to the FAA – even once the FAA re-opens. It is possible (though unlikely), that you could take and pass the initial exam and be forced to take the exam again because the information did not transmit correctly.

Part 107 Recurrent Exam – Renewals should be good to go.

If you manage to make a reservation at a test center and pass your recurrent exam, you should be good to go – just keep your piece of paper issued by the testing center confirming your passing score and have it on you when operating. You can upload your documentation to the Kittyhawk platform so that you’re guaranteed to have it on your phone if you’re ever asked for it while operating.

This process works the same as Part 61 (manned) private pilots. Your FAA certificate, whether Part 61 or Part 107, has a DATE OF ISSUE, but not a date of expiration. Every two years, in order to exercise the privileges of your certificate, you have to pass some sort of recurrent training. In manned aviation, that is usually your flight review with a CFI – after your pass your flight review, a CFI will sign off in your logbook that you have passed recurrent training. If you are ramp checked, that proof of recurrent testing is what you need to show to prove that you are flying compliantly.

This is the printout you receive at the testing center when you pass. Upload it to the Kittyhawk platform so you will always have it when you fly!

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