We have spoken about drone training on countless occasions and will continue to do so. Today, our friends at Skylab Flight Systems share their thoughts on the importance of drone training
I have been an outspoken proponent of hands on training programs for new drone operators. I believe that it is essential to the safe operation of any drone today. I have even volunteered my time to train several people myself, one of which I wrote about here. But I’ve been seeing some very troubling advertisements and forum posts lately. That is the purpose of this post today.
Before I start talking about the advertisements, I want to make sure that you, dear reader, understand the state of drones in the US and where the regulatory body in charge of drones, the FAA, stands with drone training. First, there are ZERO published regulations pertaining to drones by the FAA. They have only published a PROPOSED set of regulations so far. Those proposed regulations have made it through the PUBLIC COMMENT period and those comments are now being reviewed. Then, there will be revisions, of some minor sort, to the proposed regulations. Only THEN can those proposed regulations begin to be put into place. According to a recent press release from the FAA, they are exactly ONE year away from implementing ANY regulations. Until then, they offer the 333 exemption process for those not wanting to wait.
OK. So what does that mean to the average guy who wants to start a drone business? Well, it means that you have fill out a mountain of paperwork, submit that mountain to the FAA, acquire an N number for your drone(s) AND hold at least a sport’s pilot’s license in order to operate a drone business commercially. That is ALL dependent upon you receiving the 333 exemption.
That means that there are ZERO regulations in place right now to be trained for. So, if you happen to find a training program that offers to prepare you for the FAA regulations, I would advise you to inquire about those FAA regulations SPECIFICALLY. Ask for the list of them to be provided to you in writing. If a training company is offering that to you, then they are not telling you the truth from the beginning.
Having said ALL of the above, attending hands on training is absolutely something I would recommend to anyone even wanting to start flying for a hobby. There is so much to flying a drone and it’s NOT as easy as it appears in the videos on YouTube, I promise you that. Even after attending an intensive, if there is such a thing, training program, you STILL have hours upon hours of practice ahead of you before you should consider going out to operate commercially. And even after those hours of practice, you will still run into a situation that you’ve likely never experienced before. There are situations that you just cannot prepare for with practice or training. What you CAN do is become comfortable operating your drone. Become familiar with it’s noises and nuances. You will learn to listen as well as look for signs of trouble. The one thing that you MUST learn is to be calm under pressure or unforeseen circumstances. When you find your drone far out in front of you but just a little bit past where you can recognize the orientation, what do you do? You don’t hit the return to home button or just start hitting switches/buttons. No, you first take your hands off of the sticks and take a deep breath. Relax. Be calm and think about what you have been trained or practiced to do. Then you start moving the sticks to re-orient the drone. That doesn’t happen after a 4 day training seminar. I speak from experience, lots of it.
I’m not going to recommend ANY of the training programs available as I’m not familiar with any of them. What I can tell you to do is research the company providing the training. Look at what they “promise” you will achieve by attending their program. Are those promises realistic? If a company starts off promising you something that isn’t yet available, then they do not have your training as their first interest. As with anything you spend your hard earned money on these days, be informed to save yourself time and possibly money.
Thanks for your time! Always FLY SAFE!