Skip to content Skip to navigation

Drone Safety, Use and Piloting

UC Merced Extension - Student works with drone in agricultural setting.

Drones are in the process of revolutionizing data acquisition in the fields of surveying, precision agriculture, construction, firefighting, and even accident forensics. They are also becoming an invaluable tool for cinematographers and real estate services providing a low-cost and minimally intrusive alternative to helicopters. Increasingly affordable and user-friendly drones have also opened the field to a host of hobbyists and enthusiasts, opening up a burgeoning consumer market, and speeding up the rate of innovation and development. As drones find use in ever more applications, regulations have been developed in order to assure safe operation and integrate drones into the national airspace.


This course is offered based on demand. If you are interested in attending this exciting course in drone technology, please let us know and we will notify you about upcoming offerings.

Course Description:

The course is a preparation for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aeronautical knowledge test, which was put forward as a requirement for commercial drone pilot certification in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), part 107. The UAG test will need to be taken at an FAA-approved site at a later date.

The course will have a duration of 8 hours (including breaks).

Learning Goals:

  • To prepare for the FAA Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam
  • To develop a safety-oriented mindset through risk management and situational awareness.

Course Materials:

  • Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide (PDF)
  • Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107) (PDF)
  • US Department of Transportation Advisory Circular 107-2 (PDF)
  • Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge FAA-H-8083-25B (PDF)
  • Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airman Certification Standards (PDF)

Course Topics:

1: Drone Law

  • Audience Q&A/questionnaire:
    What do you expect from this course, what are your learning goals?
  • Introduction and overview of part 107 regulations.
  • Overview of study materials and study strategy

2: Aeronautical Charts & Airports

  • Traffic Patterns
  • Overview of controlled airspace and the rules pertaining to flying drones therein.
  • Use of aeronautical charts, identifying air spaces, hazards, temporary flight restrictions
  • Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)

3: Airports and Communication

  • Types of airports
  • Phonetic alphabet
  • Traffic Patterns
  • Communication requirements and protocol

4: Risk Management

  • Situational awareness
  • Pre-flight risk assessment
  • Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM)
  • Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM)
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Documentation and record keeping

5: Weather & Aircraft Loading

  • Effects of weather on the performance of aircraft
  • Identifying weather and cloud patterns
  • Density altitude
  • Loading and center of gravity
  • Weather information sources

6: Finishing up

  • Practice Questions
  • Q&A
  • Exit survey