How Do I Vet a Drone School?
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We are hey everyone and welcome to another friendly episode of ask a drone at you. My name is Paul. My name is Rob. Thank you guys for joining us today. As always, we understand that there are oh, my gosh thousands of options in terms of podcasts that you can listen to, and so for you to take a few minutes of your day.
To listen to this one means a lot to us. This is episode number 1030, and I’m excited to jump in yeah, really excited to jump in as well as today’s, question kind of takes us back into what we had discussed after the FAA symposium in June.
About should there be like some sort of guidelines or systems for certified certified drone instructors or flight instructors, and we discussed in that show that the FAA does not have a program for certified drone instructors or drone schools.
But we talked about some of the things that may help provide a better educational system. I think that this is actually one of the big problems in the drone industry is that there are a lot of charlatans out there, and in fact I just saw something on Instagram.
I showed you earlier today from a company a guy sitting in his his freaking house like talking about how he’s got a drone in school. It’s like you know that you can’t fool people, so I’m sure he’ll. He’ll, pull a few yeah well huge well too, and that’s.
Unfortunate yeah, but that being said today, we’re talking about how do you actually like vet, a drone school? How do you vet a training program? How do you vet a trainer? How do you know whether they’re? Actually good? Drone, pilots or not, or even how does drone you vet drone pilots right yeah.
We may not talk about all that because I don’t want to give away the farm Rob, but at the same time I do want to talk about some of the things that we consider when bringing on new instructors. Oh, that’s right yeah.
We’re, not gonna give you the entire playbook, but so yeah, but anyway, thanks again for joining us. Please leave us a review and subscribe if you haven’t already done. That really does help other people find us also just from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you. Thank you. Everyone really, though, appreciate it really do appreciate doing this, and before we get into today’s, question a big shout out to our sponsor for the show which is fortress UAV.
I guess the sponsorship seems to be working out for them, as they have read up their contract and very very appreciative to have them on the show, as they are one of the only drone fixing companies that has actually worked out very well for us.
I just got my inspired two back very, very grateful to have that back, and I will say that I’m very grateful for fortress UAV to begin with, because to have that drone back is just so crucial, so so so so so crucial.
So, anyway, very grateful to to have that if you need to get your drone fix, go to fortress UAV, calm and don’t forget to use the promo code. Drone you to save money on your diagnostic fee because, hey when you need your drone fixed.
If you don’t have DJI Care refresh where you’re gonna go fortress UAV yeah and we ‘ Ve tried several over the years and I finally feel like we are in a comfortable place with sending drones to these folks.
So if you need something fixed, give them a shot and by the way questions we want them, we need them from you. I get the feeling that there’s a lot of folks out there. That think I’m. Not gonna send my question in because it’s not going to make it on the air anyways or it’s not worthy of being on the show or it’s, a dumb question or it’S too much of a beginner question.
There are probably all sorts of reasons why you choose not to hop on the computer and send us your question, but we want to hear from you. We want to hear from all of you, no matter the subject matter.
We want to hear from you and we enjoy that that’s. A really important part of this. This podcast, obviously so send it in there are other people that are thinking the same thing that you are hi guys. This is Sebastian McShane from Charlotte North Carolina.
I have a question after watching your episode on drone instructors, I – and it revolves around a group that I have been a member of for the past two years and I’m a little miffed at what they’re currently doing.
They are now offering a flight instructor program where members in this community can, for you know like about 500 bucks, go to training and become certified flight instructors, and they tout it as a business opportunity.
Where, if you take their program, you can charge up to $ 400 a person to be to instruct them in the proper operation of drones, and all the information is safety and whatnot, and it just struck me as odd because reading their material, it almost implies that, If you take their course, if individual takes their drawing instructing training course that that’s, all they need.
I’m sure in the course I talk about getting your 107, but in the promotional material it doesn’t, say anything about getting a 107. It just kind of implies that if you take our drone instructor training course with our certified instructors, which would be me if you know I was to participate in this, you will be a certified drone pilot.
Now I’ve, been a member of this organization for about two years, and I did not renew this year because it’s. I don’t know I mean I like what they had available for me before, but it just seems like they’re, going as a route of becoming like this fly-by-night charlatan type thing where they’re.
Just after making lots of money in getting their members into these programs that will suppose they make them a lot of money, and I guess I don’t. I guess my question is kind of like a two-part is who decides? Who is an official drone instructor and what credentials are necessary to become a legitimate drone instructor to the FAA and number two? How do people that? What’s? The? What your advice preventing these all these drone business type groups and programs out there, that you pay several hundred dollars a year or several thousand dollars a year to start, and are they worth it? I mean I, I haven’t joined drone you yet.
I’m, considering it because I’d, like what you have to offer, but you know after being in this other group for two years and probably spending about three thousand dollars in those two years to be a member.
I’m, just not sure what to do. I’m kind of confused and it’s a little baffling so any insight you can provide. I’m sure I mean I know you’re gonna say, join your own you and that’s, that’s cool. I understand that and I guess I I’m seriously.
Thinking about it, but help me help everybody. Please Thanks! Thank You Sebastian. I that’s, actually a very thoughtful question, and – and we appreciate that yeah first things first join drone. You I don’t want to let you down, but in all in all seriousness, I think we’ve made the risk pretty low at 47 bucks, and if you’re, a student or a veteran, it’S even less than that so yeah, we’d love to have you check us out and so be a part of the community, which is the most important part.
But there’s a lot there and it’s. A really good question, the one thing I’ll say and then I’ll kind of, let you take off with it and then we can have a conversation about it. But you know when you say who decides? Who’s qualified to be an instructor? You know what the answer is right now it’s.
You it’s, the public, because there’s. Nobody else doing it right now in terms of qualifications, and so as the consumer you ‘ Ve got to be really really smart about who you let be your instructor yeah that yes, but oftentimes Rob the difficult thing is what you don’t know that you don’t, know of course, yeah anyone going into the drone technology, Especially with training, you know they’re gonna go out there and say I don’t even know how to look for the right.
You know drone train, let alone these other. You know drone schools that are saying hey. You can become a drone trainer and make great money, and you don’t need to do this. Well, I mean I think that’s like the first red flag.
Is they’re? Just like make money make money make money like. First of all, you can’t even do things like that on Facebook, you could do it in video, but not in written advertisements, so that’s. Why you see a lot less of that crap on Facebook? With that said, though, how do you, how do you vet a good drone instructor? What makes a good drone instructor? First of all, I think it’s, someone who actually has a significant experience flying drones for money as a small business owner.
Why? All of that? Because a lot of times people say like these clowns over here, I’m, not gon. Na mention their name who say: yeah you need two years of flight experience. What is two years of flight experience? Being you pulled your drone out every month and you did a flight a Friday once a month only to burn up three or four batteries in the year and a now.
You got two years of experience. What is actually two years of experience? Let’s. Talk about flight hours, right cuz, that’s. Actual time on the sticks. You can’t really screw that up. You can download someone’s, DJI log and say I know exactly how much you’ve flown.
I know what safety warnings you’ve, come up with. I know whether you’ve, crashed or not, and whether it was your fault or not. These are the type of things that we look at here at drone. U because here at drone, u we have a very, very strict code of what it takes to be an instructor, for example, being a small business owner and having real-world experience.
Flying drones is the only way, in my opinion, that you should be teaching other people. Why? Because the more and more you fly the more and more problems that you face that you have to learn to overcome.
In addition, those problems can be from a client deliverables to miscommunications with clients. To cite something prepared, having obstacles that you didn’t. Think of figuring out those things in a contract before you go helping, you understand, how do you set up a drone site before you actually go out there and fly it? What are the types of things that you should be looking for? What are the types? Are things that are going to give you a hint or symbolize that maybe this is a problematic area to fly in? Because if you go out and you go to one of these crappy, you know off-the-shelf drone schools or whatever you know you don’t, have someone who’s got years of experience and knowledge.
I you know, I believe you know Albert Einstein, and he said that the only the only wisdom is knowledge gained through experience, and I think that that is so powerful because gaining experience is so important.
But you should not be gaining experience. While you’re teaching other people, you should go, live those hard lessons and understand what’s, that what’s, that what that is like! Because that’s, also going to help your conflict management skills because, as a small business owner, not a drone program manager, you actually understand the deep necessity for systems.
You understand why it’s, so important to be systematic, with your students from the very start of the training, to the very end of the training. To recap: what what is an actual you know, workflow, look like a summarized workflow, not all of everything that we’ve gone over today.
I really take this to heart. Rob because our flight mastery course is something that took me. I think three years to develop, because I really wanted people to be tested in very specific areas of flight where most people crash, and I think that’s, why the flight mastery class is so successful now, if we have a drone instructor, do we Just send them out with an obstacle course and say: like hey, you need to go.
No, in fact, we’re onboarding, a new instructor from New York right now and he is coming to a flight mastery class. Then he is going to come. Help teach at another flight mastery class, then he’ll, be able to give the flight mastery class.
This is an investment financially and it’s, also an investment in time I gosh. This is just like this really grinds my gears Rob, because there are so many things that can go wrong and no offense, but most youtubers out there do not know that they’re, asked from their hand when it comes to really teaching people.
How to fly and yeah that BK Billie King? Yes, I’m talking about you. I could lick literally shut down the whole thing with what’s, the ultimate indicator of battery health in flight, who are you asking? I’m, not asking you it’s, okay, but that is one of the in the quiz that we give to students on the obstacle course, which is what is the ultimate no indicator of a truly safe flight or not.
There is a number you have to go into the settings to even have that number show up on your screen and you can even tell like, when you take off whether you have a good battery or not and whether it’s.
You know ten degrees outside or a hundred and five degrees outside. That number will maintain its true indicator status, independent of environmental factors mm-hmm. These are things that you just don’t figure out a year a two years down the line like these.
Are they’re, deep, deep things that truly help people overcome some of their biggest problems with flight, including themselves and their confidence? Absolutely yeah? I love this because I knew this particular question would get Paul, passionate so a couple things one is most.
I would say the vast majority it’s, going to be a very large percentage, probably ninety plus of the people that are going to spend money to come, be trained at a drone school like drone. U or any of the other drone schools is, is somebody who’s wanting to most likely earn some money doing it, and so that’s? Why? For our for our yeah? But there has to be a deeper purpose than just making money.
Well, I was like why do they really want to train people, because, for example, here at drone? U there’s, the whole greater good right! I’m. Sorry I don’t want. I’m just gonna I’ll, be short. I promise there’s, a greater good.
We truly believe that the right education is going to forecast the ability to maintain our rights to fly so the more people who are responsible they’re. Also, not only are they responsible, they know their limits, they know how much they can take on.
They have asset confidence value; they’ve, already crashed it’s. Okay, they’re, not going to be making flight decisions based on fear. They’re gonna be risk based decisions yeah. So sorry, the point is we expect instructors, and – and so this is one way to answer, the specific question are the instructors that you’re learning from people who have been in the trenches, which is really just another way of restating? What Paul has already said when somebody is learning something new, be it guitar, be it golf, be it drones there’s, a learning curve that’s, not news.
That learning curve includes a myriad of of mistakes right, and you mentioned they don’t know what they don’t know mmm that happens to all of us. When we’re learning, something new, you want somebody who could help eliminate those mistakes because they have already made them.
Otherwise, why pay for it just go, make the mistakes yourself. So from our perspective, that’s. Why it’s, so important to have somebody who is doing on a significant level and – and in this particular paradigm, significant generally means they’ve served a client.
They ‘ Ve earned some money that makes it very real in our world right when somebody has to pay you for something that makes it very real, and that makes the responsibility level that much more important and that much higher.
So we look for people who have done it for money in an area that they want to teach in, and they have to have done that successfully. We have guidelines and thresholds that they have to meet in order to train, because we want people that train from experience.
Otherwise, what are you learning? You’re learning, a bunch of theory, and so hopefully that helps under understand a little bit, at least where we’re coming from as it relates to who should be able to train just because somebody trained or has worked for money.
Doesn’t make them a good trainer, but it is something that’s, important to us that they have at least that in their background, you make a really good point. Just because they’re experienced doesn’t make them a good trainer that’s.
A whole nother element of conflict management, communication, Styles skills, patience, yeah. If you have someone who’s, not in it for the right reasons, it’s, not even going to be a remotely fun experience, absolutely even at the the UTC trainings you know with DJI.
I really feel like even that manufactured based training does not cover the most important things when it comes to flying your drone like, for example, how do you stop a flyaway right, very simple, you throw the bird into attitude mode.
We have a drill for this. Well, there’s, a drill for that and at UTC training, except their drones. Don’t have attitude mode. This is really weird. In addition, the drones don’t have the ultimate indicator of what is true health in flight.
Another really important thing like here’s. The thing Rob is that, like it’s so hard to showcase it like. Ultimately, the real determinant of a good drone instructor is the depth of research and how much experience they truly have.
How many problems have they had to overcome and it’s really hard to be able to understand that. So I’m, not sure that there’s, really a good answer to his question, which is you have to know someone’s? Why you have to know someone’s? What and you have to have them prove to you, maybe just have like ask him to go.
Do a demo flight because if they can’t stall, the drone in front of you and recover it safely, then they’re, not a good drone instructor. I rest my case all of that for that no, I obviously it’s deeper than that that’s, that’s, one thing but anyways I don’t know.
I hope we have helped answer the question for you. It’s. We’re in an industry that’s very new and it’s. It’s, still being developed and so answering that question is challenging and I think we all have different ideas, and so you know we have the ideas that we think are the best answer to that question.
But there are others that have other ideas and ultimately you, as the consumer have to decide what is most important to you. We can all give you our philosophy in our message as instructors as drone training institutions and then you’ve got to decide what is most important to you and where you end up going.
Obviously we hope that you ‘ Ll be a part of the drone you community, but that is not to say there are not good instructors elsewhere, because there are that’s very true, and I’m glad that you brought that up, because I think it’s really important that we give credence where Creedence is.
Do it’s, just that it’s, so rare to find a drone instructor? Who has a genuine desire to want to make people better pilots because they understand that it’s for the betterment of the industry as a whole? True, but in addition that they have the experience, the problem-solving, the communication style, I will say want one of the very few negative things about this.
Podcast is some students get really nervous around me when I’m at a particular training because they’re like oh, my gosh, you’re, expecting like perfection. It’s like I’m, not expecting perfection, that’s, that’s, the main difference.
I want you to fly, how you feel comfortable flying, but I’m gonna help. You try to eliminate potential risk habits to make you a better person. I’m, not here, to sit here, be like you’re flying wrong.
That leads me to a question: what is your expectation of a student when they show up to a class? Ah that I appreciate you asking this expectation of a student whenever they’re coming, let’s say to a flight mastery class.
I would expect them to have watched our online don’t crash course, so they have a basic understanding of just the basic maneuvers. But beyond that you know, whenever someone comes to a flight mastery class, they get a very lengthy email of how to prepare for that class and we send them some documents.
Like the D UE setting up your drone, I would just expect them to read that line by line it’s, four pages long say to a flight mastery class first and they need to do an IMU calibration before they come to the training.
It’s, going to help them understand how to be prepared for that training and how to make the most of it, and when it comes to the mapping training, for example, you know we have a whole mapping class online.
So I ask people to watch the mapping class online before they come to the training, because those people just tend to have a success factor of 3x of what everyone else does mmm we’ve only had like of the 200 people that have gone Through the mapping class the in-person mapping class this year, we’ve, probably only had five or six that have actually done that, but those five or six people are the ones that deep dive after the class they keep exploring to keep learning they’re making money with it and they take it further, yeah, absolutely okay, so that’s, sort of a prerequisite.
It is her you know what about when they show up know that all that’s fantastic, but I also think it’s important to say. I think that that is a macro metaphor, because luck is your preparation for opportunity and, in my opinion, if you prepare before you come to class, it’s.
The preparation for opportunity right. If someone’s telling you something and it’s, deep knowledge, if you don’t understand the terminology, you’re gonna get lost in something that could be absolutely vital and important for your workflow.
At a construction company, absolutely you know it’s come prepared. So what was your question now you asked about what about after the flights is that he said yes, so in terms of what you expect of a student who is going to come to say flight mastery? What is your expectation of them as a student, and so that’s? Sort of being prepared is one which is really important, so that’s.
Actually, a very good point, very good question. What I actually tell those students to do is because they do get access to the membership online for a limited amount of time to check out the drills and exercise course.
I tell them about maintaining their drone the flight, a fridays, how important that is also tell them about battery maintenance, but really it’s about practice, because this is not like a bicycle. You don’t, just learn it and then pick it up whenever you need to.
In fact, some of our instructors practice the hover drill, which is one of our most powerful drills in the whole program weekly because they say it just really helps them. Hone in on their focus and slowing down their stick motion, so you know we provide them with resources, additional resources when they come to the training that second eue form.
You know which one I’m talking about and in addition, we just added another form that’s, getting printed out the one that Tim is working on yeah, because that is like the rules of takeoff landing maintenance, pre-flight post flight during Flight, all the indicators that you need to know are on that form, because here’s, the thing, if you come to a drone, you training and you don’t, walk away, confident excited and that you’ve retained information.
We haven’t done a good job, so that’s. Why we provide resources. We know that people may copy those resources. In fact, one of our competitors has copied that resource and that’s. Fine, but because we always continually go deeper and deeper and deeper and continue to add and add and add, we’re, actually leaving a lot of our competitors in the dust with the depth that we take things too, and now that we’re adding the new enterprise side to the website.
We’ve got a new program coming out. We’re very excited about. I think that we will overcome some of these other people on organization as well, and I look forward to that day because you know we ‘
Ve paid people to go to these trainings to check them out and give us feedback on what they’re like, and I’m, still very, very excited about the information we give people and I’ve even had people From other trainings come to us and say you know, like our training, systematic, sequential and superior yep, so absolutely take a lot of pride in it so uncomfortable anyways.
I know I’m good. I hope we ‘ Ve answered your question Sebastian. If not, let us know, but it’s a it’s, a deep subject in terms of again the fact that the industry is so new and a lot of it’s still being developed.
But hopefully that gives you some insight, at least from from our perspective, our philosophy and and some things that you can ponder as you contemplate your future in the industry. You know it’s, a hard question to answer yeah it is it’s, a really hard question to answer, because again it comes down to how well do you work with people? How much knowledge do you really have yeah and then how can you help other people I don’t know anyway, alright yeah, no, I mean so one last thing: I love this.
We were talking so much about ourselves. Thank you. I’m, sorry yeah, which makes me uncomfortable, but nonetheless, that’s. What’s? Making me uncomfortable in case you’re, wondering, for example, the mapping class.
We’ve got some incredible people that have been learning and learning and learning, and they’re, still not deployed to do it on their own. They, I feel like they will be soon. You bring up a good point right because flight mastery, they pretty much, go through three flight masteries before they actually train on one themselves, and then they have another instructor who’s already done it multiple times, go out there with them and whatnot.
But when it comes to mapping, we ‘ Ve got three instructors who have literally been to over thirteen or fourteen classes, and we still do not let them teach it individually yeah. So I think that shows the our expectations here at drone.
U and a good point to their credit. They’re. Also saying I got, ta be 100 % ready and I’m almost there. Not quite you know, they’re, still making sure they’re comfortable, but that’s. The level that it needs to be particularly for something like that that there’s so much depth and and and frankly so much opportunity they want to make sure the student understands yeah.
You know that pressure that we were talking about with students that the students feel the pressure when I’m around or whatever that pressure exists with our instructors. So I’ll. Tell you that right now, but the whole key here is that you learn more by doing and you learn or by having fun.
So while we are very technical, very systematic, we expect you to do what you say. You’re going to do, but we also make it a good time. We make it fun because you retain so much more when it’s, an experience that’s.
Why every drone you training is an experience anyway. I’m tired of talking about us. Let’s. Get on to the next show. My name is Paul. My name is Robin that’s. Gon na. Do it for us today, thanks again for watching really do appreciate you, especially on this show where we talk a lot about ourselves and that doesn’t make some of us comfortable, [, Music ], you