Instruction Guide: Introduction to UAVs

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NOTE (Sept 2021): The TPP videos used as the Primary Instructional Material used in the first 5 units of this course are currently unavailable.  We understand the TPP is creating an updated version of this series.  In the meantime, please see Differentiated Instructional Material: ALTERNATIVE for resources you can use for these lessons.

The Primary Instructional Resource for this Lesson is TPP UAV Training Program Part 1 Lessons 1

Note 1:  The Goals for the TPP resource is to lead to a Part 107 pilot license for a student who is at least 16 years old - that is NOT the goal of this first Unit in Aerial Robotics 101: Recreational UAVs.  We will use the TPP resources for several Lessons to provide an overview of key concepts for UAV operations.  While we want students to understand a Drone Pilot License is within their reach in high school, that is not the immediate focus of this Unit.  If fact, quite the opposite - Unit 1 is all about operating outside Part 107 (commercial UAV operations) and within recreational UAV operations of the FAA sUAV regulations to keep costs and barriers-to-entry for new schools/teachers as low as possible.

> You may use the TPP resource for direct instruction to a group, or allow students to work through the lessons individually.  The first-time access process requires name, school, grade info - but none of this is verified (so non-identifying info may be used) and there is no email verification.

> Each lessons ends with a quiz that gates advancement to the next lesson - this may be used as a Formative Assessment tool.

> The early videos in the preamble describes how to navigate the course and the goals of the course.


UPDATE (Sept 2021): Remote ID for all sUAV requiring registration goes into effect September 16, 2023.  For drones weighing over 250g (0.55 lb) either a new drone with built-in Remote ID or older with a Remote ID Broadcast Module must be used after this date, unless flying in a FAA-REcognized area (these are rare). Detals are on this FAA webpage: Remote Identification for Drone Pilots (

UPDATE (June 2021): Per the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, the mandatory Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) in now in effectAll recreational flyers must pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and provide proof of test passage (the TRUST completion certificate) to the FAA or law enforcement upon request.  Several choices for test administrators for this free online course/test are available on this site.  Teachers and students need complete this test before flying UAVs outdoors.

The TRUST is divided into two sections.  The first section provides you with the information needed to pass the test. The second section is a series of multiple choice questions. You cannot fail the test. If you answer a question incorrectly you will be provided with information on why the answer you chose was incorrect and will be prompted to try again.

Upon completion of the TRUST you will receive a completion certificate. The certificate never expires, however, if you lose your certificate you will need to re-take the test and obtain a new certificate.

UPDATE (August 2019): The update to LAANC allowing recreational flyers to get near real time authorization to fly in Controlled Airspace (Section 44809) has begun to me implemented.  Details on how to get LAANC authorization for recreational UAVs (e.g. Aloft app) in controlled airspace is now available here:

UPDATE (May 2019): In October 2018, congress passed the FAA Re-authorization Act which repealed the Section 336 exemption under which recreational UAVs had operated.  The new rules were not in effect yet as the FAA needed time to implement these. In mid-May 2019, the FAA announced the beginning of this process:

and the new rules are summarized on this FAA webpage:
The TPP Video pre-dates these changes, so some of the details presented are no longer correct. Please review these, but here are the key take-aways:
Recreational pilots are required to register any UAV weighing over 0.55lb if you fly OUTDOORS:
One NEW item is that your registration number must be on the outside of the aircraft, whereas previously you could put your number inside the battery compartment:
You are also required to carry proof of your registration with you.
Airspace Restrictions
BIG changes here.
The Bad News - teachers who do not have their Part 107 UAV Pilot License were effectively grounded in controlled airspace in May 2019. However, as of August 2019, recreational flyers (teachers) can now use the LAANC system to get near real time approval to fly in controlled airspace.  Use this map to identify controlled airspace in your area:
The numbers inside each box within the controlled airspace show the maximum altitude a UAV may fly in that area. HOWEVER, you must now have AUTHORIZATION to fly in these areas (not just provide notification to the airport as in the past) and the online authorization system (LAANC) is available to both Part 107 licensed pilots and recreational flyers/teachers (under the Section 44809 Exception).  You will need to download the app and create an account with at least one of recreational service providers shown on this page:
Note: the B4UFLY App has now been updated (August 2019) with these changes.  This app is now the product of KittyHawk, one of the new Recreational Flyer LAANC providers (rather than AMA who had supported the app in the past).
The Good News - While authorization is now required in controlled airspace, the NOTIFICATION requirement in uncontrolled airspace has been ELIMINATED.  This means the 5 miles notification rings around every uncontrolled or private airport/heliport is no longer in effect.  You must, however, always follow the Recreational UAV Rules:
but you no longer need to notify airports outside those on the controlled airspace map above.
Aeronautical Knowledge Test
As expected, recreational UAV flyers (including your students) will be required to pass an aeronautical and safety test before they fly a UAV outdoors.  The study guide and online test are under development, so these are not yet required, but likely will be within the next school year.  Stay tuned. - (Now in effect - see June 2021 UPDATE above)

TPP UAV Training Program - Part 1, Lesson 1

> The rapid growth of drones is described

> Civil/Commercial (non-military) uses of drone are outlined

> Drone pilot licensing is described
   >>> See Differentiated Instructional Material Extended for the FAA Rules for Section 336 vs Part 107
   >>> See Differentiated Instructional Material Extended for the FAA Educational use of UAS Memorandum (when teacher Part 107 pilot license is required)

Complete the Lesson 1 Quiz to check understanding.


This Differentiated Instructional Material: Extended has a more detailed TPP lesson on quadcopter uses.


Check Differentiated Instructional Material and Additional Assessments for more resources around the topics covered in this TPP lesson.