Finding a local drone coach can be difficult and sometimes an online drone training program isn’t enough. I went through a program called Cinechopper University by Chris Newman. He was helpful and taught me enough that I didn’t need to get hands-on drone training. However, sometimes an online course isn’t enough, and you need to reach out to find someone local who can teach you how to fly a drone in person.
What to do before you start looking for a drone coach.
Before you start looking for a drone coach, you need to decide precisely what your goals are. Are you trying to learn how to fly a drone for fun AKA hobbyist? or are you trying to learn how to fly a drone to be a professional pilot owning your own commercial drone company? and if so what type of commercial drone work would you like to do?
After that, you need to decide what type of drone to buy, which can be somewhat tricky. You might even want to wait to decide on what kind of drone you would like to buy until you get your hands on drone coach. They can probably point you in the right direction if you don’t already have a drone or haven’t decided on what you would like to buy.
The next thing that you need to do is figure out exactly how much money you have to learn about drones. This industry can be expensive, and you will have to pay for drone rentals if you do not own your own. If you do want your own drone, you will have to plan to spend hundreds of dollars to buy a good one. Then you need to figure out how much you have to pay a professional pilot to teach you how to fly a drone. These Pilots are used to getting paid $100 an hour for their work at a minimum, be sure to figure out exactly how much you have and how many lessons you would like to get for it.
Once you have all of this ready, you’ll be in a much better place to negotiate with drone Pilots for Hands-On training. You can even offer them a deal, for example, “I have $500, and I would like to get 10 hour long lessons throughout the next few months.” Let them know that you’re willing to work with their schedule to fit in when they don’t have any other work if you can.
Because you aren’t trying to get their prime film times, they will be more likely to negotiate with you and give you a good deal. Remember you’ll have to pay top dollar if you want training right before sunset or in the morning. Midday usually is an excellent time to request training because the sunlight is not optimal for video footage.
Once you have those factors in mind, you can begin to look for a drone coach that can teach you the things that you need to know.
Where to find hands-on drone training
Search for local drone service providers
They’re actually quite a few places where you can find hands-on drone training, the first of which is checking out local drone service providers. Drone View KC, for example, our drone company offers private hands-on drone training; however, it’s not listed on our website.
Go on Google and search for a drone service provider near me. Take a look at some of those websites and see if they provide video footage and their portfolio that shows the level of skill you would like to achieve.
Then find their contact forms and send them a quick little message asking them if they would be willing to train you in person. You’ll be surprised how often these fellow drone enthusiasts will be to train you Hands-On in person right next to you.
Find Local Clubs and Use Facebook Marketplace
Look for a local drone club. Sometimes you’ll find there are local drone clubs or local model aircraft clubs that have all kinds of events and even offer private training.
Sometimes the best thing to do is post in your local Facebook Marketplace, and you might find that there are lots of talented Pilots just a few miles away from you that would love to have a flying buddy.
Checkout Local Events
Another option is to visit local events for your town. Many small towns hire local drone Pilots to create video and photographic content from their events. You can meet these drone pilots while they’re flying their drones, be careful not to annoy them but ask if you can set up a time to talk about having them coach you. Most drone professionals love to share their craft with someone who is excited and inspired to learn about the business.
Look on Freelance Websites
Many websites like a thumbtack, freelancer.com, and even Airbnb offer drone services or training experiences. These are pilots who are just excited to do any kind of drone work because they love to fly. You can send the messages on websites like this, and offer to pay them a little bit of money, and you will be surprised to find out how many drone Pilots are willing to come out and train you in person.
What to look for in a drone training program
Remember to check out these Pilots work before you agree to pay them for their training. There are a lot of drone pilots who aren’t worth their salt, and you want to make sure that you don’t learn bad habits that you will have to spend vast amounts of hours and money fixing later. You might even decide that it’s a good idea to do a little background research, contact some of their clients and ask if they’ve ever had any problems with this particular pilot crashing or creating hazardous situations.
Remember to make sure that this drone pilot is part 107 certified. That means that the government considers them a commercial pilot and that they are licensed to provide Commercial Services to customers. Any serious drone enthusiasts who are worth their salt will have gotten their part 107, so this is the first thing to check.
Remember to look at their photos and videos on their website, make sure that they’re high-quality and that they’re what you would like to produce. If this person is the one training, you, the quality that you see is likely what you’re going to be able to get.
Try to set up an opportunity to meet with the Drone pilot before you agree to a training program. You might see if they’ll let you do the first lesson for a discounted rate or free. If the pilot is high stress or not compatible with, you might not want to hire them. It could be more challenging to learn from someone who is annoyed to be out in the field training with you.
Check and see if they’ll even let you fly their drones in exchange for a rental fee. It might be a more affordable option to operate with one of the old drones that they no longer use for commercial operations, then to rent or buy one of your own. This is a great way to get started affordably and see if you actually like the business.
Another thing to see is if they’re willing to train you to pass your part 107. This is a requirement if you would like to actually make your skills marketable because you’re not able to fly commercially without it.
Work alongside as an Intern or Part-Time Employee
Another thing to consider while you’re training is pitching yourself as a potential intern or part-time employee in their business. That’ll provide an excellent opportunity to learn how the drone business works, meet connections and hone your skills. In fact, if you’re serious about this, they might even give you the training for free in exchange for you working for a more affordable hourly rate than they would be able to get by paying a licensed professional with experience.
You can start work for them right away because you don’t have to have a part 107 if one of the pilots there has a part 107 and can watch you on the job site directing you in the proper procedures. This is a great way to gain practical experience while you’re working on getting your part 107 to fly commercially.
Things to make sure you learn during your training
While you’re training, you want to make sure that you learn these few fundamental techniques. Make sure they teach you about local drone laws and National drone laws so that you can make sure you don’t get in hot water legally down the road.
Make sure that you get at least 5 to 10 practice activities that you can take home and use in your spare time to hone your craft.
If you’re working on learning how to produce cinematic drone videography, make sure you determine what settings are right for what lighting conditions. Pick their brain on how to configure your drone’s camera to get the best results and quality.
Ask them about how they handle drone insurance. Drone Insurance can be complicated and confusing, so if you’re paying to have a Hands-On drone Pilot Flying next to you should pick their brains on how to handle this complicated issue.
Learn about their software, what do they use to edit their videos? What about creating 3D maps with their drones? And figure out what their professional video kit is so that you can construct something similar if you like the way the final product looks.
The next thing to try to figure out is their pricing and what services they offer. This one can be a little bit awkward to discuss, as some drone Pilots might begin to feel threatened by you. But if you vetted your training pilot correctly and you have someone who likes to work with you, they shouldn’t be a difficult question to ask. In most areas, there is plenty of drone work to go around, and by figuring out what a competitive price is you won’t undercut the market and thereby hurt your fellow drone Pilots businesses.
Finally, ask if you can job shadow your drone instructor on some of their commercial jobs. You would be surprised how many things you will learn by standing next to this professional instructor while they work on creating excellent deliverables for clients. It’ll help you come up with questions that you otherwise wouldn’t even think to ask about, and shows you how to interact with clients in a professional setting in the Drone industry which is invaluable if you decide to start your own drone business.
What to do after you finish your hands on drone training?
Once you’ve completed your drone training, you should be proficient in the craft of creating beautiful videos and thrilling experiences with drones. At this point, you need to decide if you want to pursue this industry further and make it your career.
If the answer to that question is yes, you probably need to go buy some equipment. Remember not to go crazy at first, you want to make some money before you invest a tremendous amount of money into starting your own business. Because you’ve hired a professional drone coach you have a leg up on the competition, but you need to make sure that you can actually make Headway in this industry before you invest enough money that it’ll severely impact your financial future if you fail. Remember not to risk more than you’d be okay with losing.
What I would recommend is picking up a used Phantom 3 professional. It is a faithful drone that has served me well for many years. The image and video quality you get off of a phantom 3 professional are very similar to that of far more expensive drones, although there is a gap in quality for the untrained eye it is nearly indiscernible with the proper settings and color grading. You will be able to create stunning deliverables for your clients with a phantom 3, and that’ll provide you with the money that you will need to get into more expensive drones down the road.
You will also want to make sure that you pick up an Osmo mobile 2 or similar device that you can use to create video walkthrough is a property. You will also need to get proficient in video editing software, and other drone software such as drone deploy, pics4D, and premiere pro, etc.
I hope this article has been helpful, if you have any questions or if you would just like to make a comment below please feel free you can also email us if you are in the Kansas City area and would like to request hands-on drone training